Saturday, January 30, 2016

Kung Fu Panda 3 shares insights on fatherhood and self-worth

Movie Title:       Kung Fu Panda 3

Grade:  A-

Rating:  PG, 1 hour 40 minutes        

In a Nutshell:  I loved the first one and don't even remember what happened in the second one, but this new addition in the Kung Fu Panda franchise should get a thumbs up from fans of all ages.  It builds on the fun tradition of the Panda movies and adds new, delightful characters that top off the trilogy.

I got to meet James Hong recently at an event I attended.  In Kung Fu Panda , he plays Mr. Ping, Po’s adopted goose father, who has some profound insights into fatherhood in this installment of the animated trilogy.  There are also some very sweet messages about self-worth and unconditional love.  It's a fun family film everyone will enjoy.

Here's a picture of  James Hong and I together:

Uplifting theme: 
  •  “If you never do more than you can do, you will never be more than you are now.” – Shifu (Dustin Hoffman)
  • “Your real strength comes from being your best you.” – Po (Jack Black)
  • “When will you realize the more you take, the less you have?” – Oogway (Randall Duk Kim)
  • “Before the battle of the fist, comes the battle of the mind.” – Shifu
  • “No matter what kind of animal you are, change starts with you.” - Shifu

Things I liked:
  • Beautiful colors and scenery.
  • Cute transitions between scenes.
  • Absolutely adorable Dreamworks logo presentation at the beginning of the movie.
  • There was a lot of discussion about inner peace and chi.  Chi is described as power and the energy that flows through all living things.  Shifu explains that mastery of chi is mastery of self.  That's something we all need to work on.  Well, at least I do!
  • Watch the rolling credits at the end and you’ll notice that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s children are some of the voice actors!  Voice talents of some of the other new characters include the amazing Bryan Cranston, J.K. Simmons and Kate Hudson.
  • There is an elegance about this movie that successfully captures the search for inner peace, nature, and understanding that many Asian cultures are known for.
  • The Hans Zimmer score was really nice.

Things I didn’t like:
  •  Some of the chaotic mayhem gets a little tiresome.
  • It’s never quite explained how Po’s father lived, yet his mother did not.
  • It was nice to have a lot of new characters introduced, some of them absolutely adorable, although that gave less time for the original cast to shine.  Even Jack Black's panda got overshadowed at times.
  • The song at the end kind of the movie cracked me up.  It’s the 1974 Carl Douglas hit song Kung Fu Fighting but with the words changed to: “Everyone is Kung Fu Fighting.  Our chi is what we’re finding…”
  • The transition from mortality to beyond and back is a bit...fuzzy.
  • Without all of the adorable pandas to go crazy over, this third film would have probably ended in a thud.  Watch the sale of stuffed panda bears skyrocket!
  • I would have loved to see more of Kate Hudson's new panda character Mei Mei.  Her confidence was hilarious.

Funny lines:
  •  “I’ve always thought I wasn’t eating up to my full potential.” – Po
  • “You’ll never be able to save the world on an empty stomach.” – Ping
  • “We’re pandas.  We don’t do stairs.” – Li
“I’ve waited my whole life to hear those words.” – Po
  • “Just a little more confusing, Master, and you’ll be the next Oogway.” – Shifu
  • “I think I just peed a little.” - Po
Interesting lines about fatherhood:
  • “Your son got mad at you.  Welcome to parenthood.” – Mr. Ping (James Hong)
  • “Having you in his life doesn’t mean less for me.  It means more for him.” – Mr. Ping to Li

Tips for parents:   

  • This is a safe family film for all ages.  The villain, Kai, is somewhat comical at times and even the bad “jade zombies” aren’t scary.
  • No profanity. 
  • Expect your kids to start asking about taking Kung Fu lessons.
  • This is a great opportunity to teach your children about Ying/Yang, balance in life, and the need for opposition in all things for growth.
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