Featuring The Voices Of: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Bryan Cranston, JK Simmons, Seth Rogen, Jackie Chan, Dustin Hoffman, Lucy Liu, David Cross, James Hong, Kate Hudson
Directed By: Alessandro Carloni and Jennifer Yuh
The Kung Fu Panda series has always been good, not great for me. I don’t think its ground breaking work, but it remains entertaining, even three films deep. This is a mixed bag. It feels, at times, like a straight-to-video sequel, in terms of the plot, and length, but it also features a really deep story about family, and what it takes to be a father. So, for that, it redeems itself a bit.
The voicework by JK Simmons and Bryan Cranston was good, but the film marginalizes a lot of franchise regulars, like Monkey (Chan), Viper (Liu), and Tigress (Jolie). A longer film might have balanced out the new characters with the old characters more. Even 5-10 more minutes would have given more opportunity, and the film would still have only been 1:45, still a good runtime for a family feature.
You can’t compromise story just to get a family friendly runtime for kids, you have to actually make a movie that’s worth something. I had a pretty decent time, and the film was enjoyable, but I felt about the same watching the Disney Tinkerbell films. If you’re trying to keep people invested for a fourth Kung Fu Panda, this wasn’t the way to do that. This is a way to send the franchise to video. It may seem harsh, because I did enjoy the film, and I think you and your kids will too, but it’s the worst of the three films.
FINAL GRADE: B-