Kung Fu Panda 3

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There is nothing sadder than seeing a movie with potential squander it. This third installment of the series, created by nearly the same crew as the second, is a perfectly good children’s cartoon, but it missed its opportunity to actually be quite impressive. The art of the world and the style employed is pretty wonderful. It plays on everything from modern anime to ancient art.

The script, however, is a weak piece of drivel that no amount of voice talent was going to save. Not even the great additions of JK Simmons (Zootopia) and Bryan Cranston (Trumbo) added tangible substance. There is barely a drop of real emotion in the story and the ending is completely unearned. Yes, I expect more these days from my animated features. Flawed as they can be, most major animation releases these days have more meat to them than fluff… or at least enough substance to satisfy a brain aged beyond 5 years old.

And the animation itself, beautifully executed as it is, may best be described as aseptic. The images are utterly clean. There is no atmosphere or richness to the air around the main objects. It is a subtle thing, but it made the film seem more a TV cartoon than a full-length movie.

It isn’t that the film isn’t entertaining, the story is simply devoid of calories, despite the trappings of the plot. See this latest installment for the art or if you need to entertain some young children. Or, I suppose, as a 90 minute distraction. Just don’t turn it on hoping for a satisfying meal.

Kung Fu Panda 3

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