They say as a movie series jumps from one to the next one, the feature gets ‘weaker’ especially when it’s already number 3, like in the case of Kung Fu Panda 3. Perhaps because many have already figured out what would happen next.. So, let’s then review how did the ‘third’ installation of Po’s adventures went about.
The story basically starts with Kai taking Oogway’s chi and escaping from the spiritual realm and into the mortal realm. Meanwhile, Shifu challenged Po to teach the Furious Five, and harness his own ‘chi’ by discovering who he really is.
Now, while in his goose dad’s restaurant, Po found out not just a dumpling-eating challenger, but a panda himself who’s looking for his lost son. And you’re right, it’s Po’s father, Li Shan.
The bonding moments though was cut short and their peace was replaced with tension when Kai’s chi-powered Jade warriors located them all and attacked. Shifu found out that Kai used to be Oogway’s close friend who just became greedy. Kai was eventually banished by Oogway into the spiritual realm only to escape after 500 years, yet could only be stopped by a true master of ‘chi’.
Li Shan heard this and told them that being a panda he knows how to harness the power of ‘chi’, however, Po has to return to the secret village of pandas to first understand what being a panda is before being taught about the ‘chi’. (Chi is an Oriental concept in which energy flows through every living thing; and to master it, you have to master yourself and only then could you be able to stand up against magical powers)
So, off to the secret panda village. Meanwhile, the Jade warriors attacked anew and took Shifu and the Furious Five save for Tigress who escaped and informed Po of what happened. With this, Po had to teach the pandas ‘to be themselves’ in battling Kai — since his father admitted that they didn’t really know how to harness the ‘chi’ and only said it so Po would be safe and they could be together again.
Result? Po and his fellow pandas were not able to beat Kai in the mortal world, but Po had to take Kai to the spiritual world to stand a chance. And as Po was about to be defeated, the pandas as well as Tigress and Ping (Po’s goose dad) tried to harness their own ‘chi’ by being who they were for Po. And so the victory — with Po ending up as the true successor to Oogway!
So, did Kung Fu Panda 3 have a pedestrian plot? While the meeting of father and son is inevitable, that can’t be graded as unimaginative. We all came from someone, somehow. And so it’s good to know your roots, it’s gratitude. Without them, you will not be.
Thus, it’s something to teach and reaffirm with our children. And obviously, it’s valueing what matters — family. So be that example.
Another thing to learn is ‘mastering oneself’. Guess this is pretty similar to the principles of monks which is why they have overcome the material world — and that’s actually good!
Nonetheless, if there’s something not so nice in the film, it’s Kai and his army. While everything was a work of art, Kai seems to be ‘missing’ something. Okay, the idea of a ‘buffalo’ being a villain is cool, but the artwork? For one, his horns are not just too long but it’s close to each other — it lessens his fearsome look then. The rest of the body, well.. Anyway, jade is a cool concept too, but the army just lacks ‘volume’.
In all, moviegoers won’t really notice the details of the animation so much as they would just be entertained by Po’s class act. Just don’t forget to bring some dumplings! Hah!