This is the third film in the franchise and the first of them I have watched. I wasn't sure what to expect walking into the theater except some humorous moments. I was not disappointed. The overall story is a coming of age tale. A panda (voiced by Jack Black) must become more in order to defeat the rising villainy that is stealing the "Chi" of kung fu masters and growing in power and ability. Now sprinkle in some clever dialogue, witty banter and philosophical teachings of buddhism and you have the intelligent animated comedy "Kung Fu Panda 3".
The voice talent that was present in this animated film was cast well. If this was a live action film it would easily be anticipated by all movie-goers. Jack Black, Bryan Cranston, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, J.K. Simmons, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Kate Hudson and James Hong are all fantastic. It's truly remarkable that all these actors were able to come together for one film, animated or otherwise.
The writing for this film was spectacular considering it's a film for families with kids. The concepts of enlightenment and spiritualism were presented in a manner that was understandable for anyone who watches this movie. It's not a film that forces the ideas of buddhism on the viewer but the dialogue expresses the ideas of personal growth through means of discovering oneself. There's even a brief exchange between two characters about the importance of being able to answer the question, "Who am I?" that occurs early in the film. It's humorous and insightful. There were several moments that were laugh out loud funny too.
"Kung Fu Panda 3" is in theaters now! Overall, this film was well rounded in being thought provoking and entertaining. I'm also considering watching the first two films based on how much I enjoyed this third installment and how much fun it was to see in theaters. The characters were all entertaining, the story was written well and the laughs were many. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the movie considering I knew almost nothing about the franchise. It's definitely worth the big screen viewing because the animation was spectacular. I enjoyed the look of the spiritual realm that the movie begins with a great deal. I hate 3-D but this animated film might actually be more visually appealing in 3-D, which says something.
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