Having being mesmerised by Disney’s Zootopia last weekend, I entered KungFu Panda 3 (KFP3) with lots of expectations. They further heightened seeing a friday evening hall Singapore suburb hall, 90% full.
However KFP3 falls short of ‘awesomeness’ and isn’t as good as it’s prequels. Lot of repetitive stuff (pandas rolling like cannon balls, excess jokes on inability to learn KungFu and repetitive sentimental drags between our protagonist’s biological and adopted fathers) make this, at best, a one time watch solely for kids. DreamWorks couldn’t make the dream work, this time.
Having said the above, KFP3 has it moments. The beauty of Hollywood fantasy is that they make movies (and franchises) out of extremely unbelievable plots. Lazy, immobile pandas (in real life) are shown as master of KungFu karate; dimsum is shown as their protein fodder and even ammunition to attack the enemy; their master (Shifu) is a tiny midget red panda; and even a ribbon is used as a fighting tool!
In essence KFP3’s biggest message is urging people to be yourself. To be the best at what you are good it. What makes you, you.
Hence instead of trying to teach KungFu to a village full of pandas, our protagonist, Po, who discovers himself as a bad teacher, encourages his colleagues to excel in what you do good in life. It’s a deep thought coupled with underlying message that a good artist needn’t be a good teacher. A good employee needn’t be a good boss. A good player needn’t be a good coach.
KFP3 was probably made keeping 3D as major pull factor. I didn’t watch in 3D but can assure the product will be slightly better in 3D. In 2D, some kids and adults laughed sporadically, but at no point did it give the famous ‘sloth scene’ roar nor tug the heart as much as Judy Hopps and her purple eyeballs did. The end was a big drag, so are some of the initial parts.
Po is good, but falls short of awesomeness.
Box Office: KFP3 has already earned $360 mio, more than doubling its budget of $145 mio. It’s still getting the crowds so likely will challenge Zootopia’s numbers, which has already crossed $500 mio. Will challenge, but won’t be able to cross, is my prediction, despite better hold over China and South Asia markets for the panda factor.