It’s interesting that Kung Fu Panda wound up finding itself as a franchise that managed to worm its way onto Saturday morning television. A film about finding oneself, and martial arts, it represented one of Jack Black’s few genuine hits at the box office as well as critically. It may not have hit the level of Shrek in quality but it managed to find itself in that Ice Age level of animation: good enough to be profitable but not good enough to be cultural shifting.
And much like Ice Age, Kung Fu Panda the franchise is showing no signs of slowing down as the third film in the franchise came (and went) from theaters quickly. The franchise cleaned up overseas, though, and with Hollywood’s shift to a more foreign box office focus than a domestic one it seems like Kung Fu Panda 4 will arrive sooner than later.
It’s not a good film, though, and it’s marginally an entertaining one.
Simple premise: Po (Black) finds a secret village of Pandas and his family. Trouble is in the air, though, and Po must train his clumsy, bumbling Panda kind in the art of Kung Fu to repeal an ancient evil. Shenanigans ensue, of course, and we get the requisite happy ending that allows the possibility of the three more films that Dreamworks has stated they want to make.
By this point in the franchise we all know what to expect from a film like Kung Fu Panda 3 and the film delivers just that but nothing more. This isn’t a franchise that wants to do anything resembling brilliant anymore; it wants to be just good enough to justify another sequel (and line of toys) and nothing more, which is the sum of almost all animated sequels. This is a film that is just good enough to keep you entertained but not good enough to warrant anything but a rental.
There’s a handful of extras, including a pair of new shorts, included. Nothing gives you any sort of insight into the film.
20th Century Fox presents Kung Fu Panda 3. Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson & Alessandro Carloni. Written by Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger. Starring (voice only) Jack Black, Bryan Cranston, James Hong, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, J. K. Simmons, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Kate Hudson, Randall Duk Kim, Jackie Chan. Run Time: 95 minutes Rated PG. Released on DVD: 6.28.2016
Tags: angelina jolie, Bryan Cranston, David Cross, dustin hoffman, J.K. Simmons, Jack Black, Jackie Chan, James Hong, Kate Hudson, Kung Fu Panda 3, Lucy Liu, Randall Duk Kim, Seth Rogen