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Saturday, 16 April 2016

Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)

Kung Fu Panda 3 is funny and entertaining, but does it match up to its predecessors? It is true that the original is always the best, but sometimes the sequels can excel too. In this case however, that doesn't happen. 

While Po, the Panda is hilarious as ever, the oriental village scenes are fantastic, the panda village characters are extremely funny, Po and his Dragon Warrior friends are not enough this time to make Part 3 as hit as its previous parts. The plot lacks the intensity of its earlier counterparts and the villain Kai is too brutish and lacking in finesse to be a memorable villain.

The Plot

Po's long-lost father comes to the Jade Palace in search of his son. Meanwhile the village gets attacked by a terrorising bull-monster named Kai who snatches the Chi from every Kung Fu master to gain more power for return to the mortal world. He can only be defeated by someone who has mastered Chi.
Kai - the Chi snatcher

Papa Panda promises to teach Chi mastery to Po and persuades him to go back to their Panda village, a beautiful place hidden away from the rest of the world that houses all the remaining members of the species. Yes, that's right, Po is not the last living panda, there's a whole village of them. Meanwhile, Po's adoptive father fears losing his son and hides himself in Po's lunch basket so that he can coax Po to return.
Fathers and son

Back in the Jade Palace, Master Shifu discovers an old manuscript that reveals Kai to be the brother-in-arms to his departed master Oogway. Many ages ago, the two were in a battle that injured Oogway. They took shelter in a Panda village where the Pandas used their Chi to heal Oogway. However, Kai became greedy for power and snatched their Chi. Angered at his betrayal, Oogway fought him and banished him to the spirit realm. Now after 500 years, Kai had managed to snatch Oogway's Chi too and was back to the mortal world to kill his future enemy- the master of Chi.

The revealed history shocks Shifu who sends Tigress to bring Po back from Panda village, but Kai has already struck by then, snatching Chi from Shifu and the other Dragon Warriors. More deadly than before, Kai marches towards Panda village with his jade zombie army.
Jade warriors - Kai's army of  zombie Kung Fu masters

Meanwhile, Tigress gets to Po who realizes that the only way to defeat Kai is to achieve the impossible, become a Kung Fu trainer and train his panda villagers to excel at what they are best at. As Master Shifu had once told him - "If you only do what you can do, you'll never be better than what you are". How Po and his allies finally defeat Kai forms the rest of the story.
Po must become the Kung Fu teacher
Po the Kung Fu master

The Good

The Panda village is absolutely gorgeous and the village has fat cute pandas of all sizes, doing what they do best - being a panda. This means oversleeping to their heart's content, gobbling up bowls of dumplings, not knowing absolutely any table-side manners, hugging and rolling whenever they please - basically a merry band of lazy partying bears.
Drop-dead gorgeous panda village
Colourful characters 
Frolicking Pandas
Po and his Dragon Warrior friends are hilarious as usual, even Tigress manages to be funny with her sarcasm. The way Po finally manages to transport Kai back into the Spirit Realm is quite clever, especially for a hero as goofy as Po.

The Not So Great

The plot doesn't really get a lot of time to thicken. Things happen in too much of a hurry. A lot of time is wasted in making Po's panda villagers look funny. Well, they are quite funny and cute, no doubt!! But some more time should have been given to the whole Chi thing - a village full of pandas who have no knowledge about Chi suddenly summoning their Chi collectively, without a single minute's practice, warrants at least a little explanation. Yes, Po's real father was lying - the pandas had lost their powers of Chi long back and he lied just to lure Po back to their village. Roll your eyes and think - now who saw that twist coming?
Pandas summoning their Chi to help Po in the spirit realm
Po in the spirit realm
The main disappointment of Kung Fu Panda 3 is Kai, the bullock warlord who shows lot of brutish monstrosity and absolutely no wit or cunning needed to be a good villain. If you remember, Peacock in Part 2 was an interesting character - suave, shrewd and diabolical, with better punchline deliveries than the main characters themselves. Now that's what I call a perfect villain!!

The movie also attempted to copy the "I just don't recall you, O deadly enemy" theme from Penguins of Madagascar. The name Kai simply fails to ring a bell in everyone's mind, which could have been funny if Kai's dialogue delivery was a little more polished. Maybe Kai is the meant to be the boorish and outright evil villain without a reason, but somehow he just doesn't make an impact, except sounding like a yelling school bully. Definitely not the best of the Kung Fu Panda series.

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