It looks like Kung Fu Panda 3 is on its way to becoming the latest hit in the Dreamworks roster, thanks in particular to its strong opening of $16.3 million on opening night in China. According to Forbes, that’s one of the biggest one day movie grosses in history, lodged squarely between Spectre at $15 million and Jurassic World at $17.7 million. However, a strong opener does not necessarily mean that the flick is loved by audiences, so how does Kung Fu Panda 3 fare as a story?
There’s all the fuzzy fun of Po and his newly-discovered panda clan, featuring the voices of Jack Black, Bryan Cranston, and Kate Hudson, and of course, the film continues the strong foundation laid on the previous two films. Po has to relearn how to work with a team when in the previous movies he had to learn how to stand on his own as a martial artist. According to Entertainment Weekly, the film also explores the predictions made about Po in the original Kung Fu Panda, which means Kung Fu Panda 3 will definitely serve as a bit of a reward for those fans who have stayed loyal to the storyline since it was first introduced in 2008.
The much venerated Furious Five is also back, and it’s clear that all the warriors are enjoying their positions as the protectors of the Valley of Peace. The tranquility is soon shattered when it is realized that Kai (J.K. Simmons, who is delightfully on point) is gunning for every martial arts master in the region. That leaves Po having to learn how to train his bighearted panda brethren and learn to work together with them in order to save the region.
Kung Fu Panda 3 is likely on its way to enjoy the biggest opening of 2016, largely thanks to the witty storyline and the exceptional voice cast. It’s also noteworthy that the film is more about the potential we all have within us, as Po learns to explore what he can really do if he fully realizes what he can do when he decides to, according to the Vancouver Sun.
“If you only do what you CAN do, you will never be more than what you are now,” Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman in all his dry humor) tells Po.
Po has to grab onto the realization that he is a far more capable Dragon Warrior than he may have previously realized and ultimately sets about working with his newfound panda family to help save his home, and all he has known from the threat that Kai poses the other martial artists and the rest of the Valley of Peace.
As always, DreamWorks shows they are able to continue to pump out highly entertaining stories for both adult and child age audiences. Kung Fu Panda 3 gives audiences a compelling and entertaining story that everyone can grab onto. The Wall Street Journal says that the storyline is somewhat run of the mill, but posts other reviews which suggest that in spite of the routine nature of the storyline, the story is actually still entertaining.
“Like a well-made dumpling, it’s not too heavy but not too light, has the right amount of spice, and leaves one with some appetite for the next time,” Jocelyn Noveck of Associated Press writes, suggesting that the staple of DreamWorks’ animated lineup may well be looking at another sequel to Kung Fu Panda.
Regardless of whether or not Kung Fu Panda 3 becomes one of the best loved flicks in the current world of animation, it is certainly a lot better than some of the other animated movies that have recently come out, such as Norm of the North, which hit box offices with a fizzle.
[Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images]