We recently were invited to a sneak peak of the new Kung Fu Panda 3(KFP3) movie. This is the third movie in the popular series and it brings back many of our favorite cast members: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Seth Rogan, Jackie Chan, and Lucy Liu. Newcomers Kate Hudson, Brian Cranston, and JT Simmons rounded out the all star cast. In KFP3 we found Po living as the Dragon Warrior after having brought peace to the land. Po was now a hero to the people and was also seen as their protector. Po’s Master, Shi Fu, asked him to take over as the leader and teacher of the team while Shi Fu went off to learn about Chi. Po learned who his real father was, and that there was a whole village of pandas that he never even knew existed. While Po was enjoying life as a hero, learning about his other family, and feeling challenged by his new role as a teacher, we learned of an old threat coming back for revenge.
My daughter and I are both fans of the KFP series and this one followed the same formula as the others which made it feel very familiar. While we both enjoyed it very much, I felt like there was something missing in KFP3. It seemed to get to the conclusion really quickly and you knew what they were going to do in order to finish off the new evil character, even though he was presented as undefeatable. The ideas presented on blended families, adopted children and what it means to be part of a family were very well done and did not feel contrived. While the new villain was mean and powerful, I’d hesitate to call him scary. There were a number of very young children at the screening, but I didn’t hear any of them cry even once. They were enthralled by the visuals and story. Speaking of visuals, we were able to see KFP3 in 3D and this was one of the rare movies where I think 3D was well done and actually worth the extra expense. The opening sequence was amazing to see in 3D with some very good use of the medium.
I would recommend this movie for children of all ages. There is absolutely no sex or bad language and the violence is cartoony in nature. The movie is funny and has a few touching moments. I enjoyed the story in KFP3 and the characters all feel like old friends now. This is a movie where you can take your kids and not worry about the content. KFP3 evenbincludes a few adult jokes, just enough for everyone to enjoy a day at the movie as a family.