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KUNG FU PANDA 3

SYNOPSIS: Po's (Jack Black) realizes he still has much to learn when he leaves his comfort zone as a martial arts student to take on the responsibilities of a teacher. Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) has no doubts that Po will meet the challenge, even though the Furious Five - Monkey (Jackie Chan), Crane (David Cross), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu) and Tigress (Angelina Jolie) have their doubts. But suddenly everything changes, when the villainous warrior Kai (J.K. Simmons) appears waiting to steal the Kung Fu masters' chi and upsetting the balance of the mortal world.

Review by Louise Keller:
A happy whirlwind of colour, 3D dazzle and Kung Fu madness, this third film in the panda franchise continues to blossom like its unlikely hero, who learns to become the best he can be, through his journey of self worth and belonging. Good and evil are important, too and there's a lovely sense of motion throughout as creative visuals propel the action in a heartwarming tale involving friends, family and achieving your destiny.

One of the great charms of the franchise is the easy blend of its licorice allsorts characters that range from the central cuddly panda to his adoptive goose father and his Furious Five friends that comprise a Tigress, Monkey, Mantis, Viper and Crane. Likewise, the themes range from the sublime to the ridiculous: a 500 year old prophecy, a 'Yoda-like' guru promoting Zen and a vengeful 'mad-as-hell' horned yak with an army of jade warriors intent on collecting power-yielding chi and conquering the mortal world. Plus there is Po, the lovable Dragon Warrior (compellingly voiced by Jack Black), whose insecurities include his capabilities as well as his place in the world.

Watch for the scene when Po's biological father Li (Bryan Cranston) appears ('our bellies could be brothers') and Po's incredulity when taken to the secret Panda village high in the snowy mountains, beyond the long suspension bridge where blue flowers and soft green grass coats the slopes. To his delight, that is where he discovers there are others who not only look like him, but that Pandas roll, rather than walk. It is impossible not to be seduced by Mei Mei (Kate Hudson), the ribbon dancer with bright blue lashes, cheeky cousins Dim and Sum and the rest of the Panda clan. Then there is Po's caring noodle-restaurateur goose adoptive father (James Hong) and I like the way the father son relationship develops into a three-way affair.

The all-star voice cast shines once again (Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogan, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Dustin Hoffman, Randall Duk Kim, James Hong), and J.K. Simmons' booming deep voice resonating as the evil yak Kai, whose frenzy escalates along with Hans Zimmer's wonderful score in the climactic sequences.

There's a feeling of freshness throughout this upbeat action-packed animated film that is big on heart and is sure to please the whole family.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

KUNG FU PANDA 3 (PG)
(US, 2016)

VOICES: Jack Black, Bryan Cranston, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie

PRODUCER: Melissa Cobb

DIRECTOR: Alessandro Carloni, Jennifer Yuh

SCRIPT: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger

CINEMATOGRAPHER: n/a

EDITOR: Clare De Chenu

MUSIC: Hans Zimmer

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Raymond Zibach

RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 24, 2016







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