Kung Fu Panda 3

Sometimes, going into a movie with absolutely no foreknowledge can be an extremely rewarding movie going experience, especially if it’s a movie like Kung Fu Panda 3. Having not seen the first two parts, I went in with absolutely no idea what I was about to experience. I came out with a huge smile on my face, having been entertained well enough.

Po, the round dumpling eating panda, is forced to teach Kung Fu to the famous five: tigress, monkey, crane, viper and mantis. Master Shifu wants to retire and so hands the rein over to Po. After failing to teach them anything, Po is hugely demoralized and has a heart to heart talk with Master Shifu, who asks him a pertinent question about what Po thinks he is.

“What are you?” Master Shifu asks Po.

“I am the Dragon Warrior,” Po answers.

“What do you do as a dragon warrior?”

Po stumbles. Not sure how to answer.

“Teach me then to be you,” Po tells Master Shifu.

“No. I will teach you to be YOU!” Master Shifu enlightens Po.

This becomes a recurring theme in the movie as Po sets out to discover who he is and what his life purpose is. He learns to be the chi master, as well as discovering his panda roots. Po is being raised by his adoptive father, Mr. Ling, a noodle eating goose. Soon enough, Li Shan enters, Po’s biological dad, much to Po’s delight. Li Shan takes Po back to the secret village, where he is reconnected with his clan.

Meanwhile, Master Oogway (the good guy) and Kai (the bad guy) have had a battle, in which Kai wins, but gets a warning from Master Oogway that Po will return shortly. So thus begins the training of Po as a master chi and as a panda.

No guesses as to how the movie ends.

Kung Fu Panda 3 is a visually sumptuous movie with enough charm and wit to keep both the children and adults happy. The action sequences are so well staged, they are actually fun to watch. The comedy sequences are actually funny. There are also several backstories, adding depth to the plot. The 3D is actually worth it. Finally, I can’t get over the cute little pandas— they provide the film’s sweetest moments.

I couldn’t help notice some of the subliminal messages being sent out through the movie. I may be completely off track, but it had started to become quite obvious.

One, Po has two dads, an adoptive one and a biological one. Many times, he calls out to both his dads, and it felt like as if the makers of the movie wanted to push the idea of having two dads as being normal (as opposed to having a dad and a mom). I’ve not seen this in any animated movie before: two dads raising one son. (It could be argued that a gay agenda is being pursued here by Hollywood, but not entirely sure about that.)

Two, Po’s mother died when he was young, and so was raised by one dad. It’s uncanny how in many animated movies there are so many single parents (Andy in Toy Story has no father, Jasmine in Aladdin, Ariel in The Little Mermaid and Belle in Beauty and the Beast have no mothers, Bambi has no father, Nemo is raised by single parent and so on). Why are so many animated characters raised by a single parent? Why don’t we see both parents raising their children? (One could argue this reflects the breakdown of the family structure in the West).

Kung Fu Panda 3 is a funny, entertaining, action packed movie with a lot of memorable characters and a decent storyline to keep both the children and adults entertained. Warning: this movie will seriously make you fall in love with pandas!

3 out of 5

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