KUNG FU PANDA 3 – Review by Susan Granger

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As “Kung Fu Panda 2” ended, Po’s long-lost biological father Li realizes, “My son is alive.” So this third installment of the animated trilogy is about Po (voiced by Jack Black) reuniting with Li (voiced by Bryan Cranston) and discovering his roots in their ancestral panda village, while coping with Kai (voiced by J.K. Simmons), a self-righteous, power-hungry spirit that’s risen from the dead, leading zombie-like warriors. Read on…

Villainous Kai resembles a huge, horned yak bull – and could terrify very young tots, especially in 3D, since he possesses the power to freeze his enemies into stone.

Po’s wise master, the red panda Shifu (voiced by Dustin Hoffman), tells him to become a martial arts master, coaching the Furious Five (voiced by Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen and David Cross), saying, “If you only do what you can do, you will never be more than you are now.”

Predictably, there’s a natural rivalry between Li and Po’s adoptive father, the goose named Mr. Ping (voiced by James Hong). The resolution indicates there’s room for Po’s relationship with both to grow and flourish. And a love interest for Po is introduced by the inclusion of ribbon-dancing Mei Mei (voiced by Kate Hudson).

Scripted by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Burger, supervised by directors Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni, the landscapes and calligraphy are superbly rendered. This is DreamWorks Animation’s first co-production with their partner Oriental, and the first American animated feature to be co-produced by a Chinese studio.

FYI: Although Angelina Jolie’s character of Tigress has fewer lines in this installment, four of her children supplied additional voices.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Kung Fu Panda 3” is a supernaturally sweet 6, revolving around the concept of forgiveness and family, recommended for children over the age of six.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.