Kung Fu Panda 3

 

DreamWorks

 

Rating: PG

 

Reason for the Rating: Martial arts action and some mild rude humor.

 

Plot Summary: When Kai returns from the spirit world, Po must discover who he is in order to win the biggest battle of his life.

 

PopFam Recommends: This is a funny movie that your kids will love, and you just might too.

 

"Everybody was Kung Fu fighting, those kicks were fast as lightening."

 

Who would have thought a movie that brought together Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, Bryan Cranston, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogan and Dustin Hoffman would have been such a big hit, and they would end up making three movies? Kung Fu Panda has certainly become a much loved series.

 

Kung Fu Panda 3 brings the same levity and warmth that we experienced in the first two movies. (See the video below if you missed Kung Fu Panda 2...)

 

Po (Jack Black), is living the dream as the Dragon Warrior...entering as many eating contests as he can, high-fiving the entire community as often as he can, and perfecting the dramatic entrance. Much to the dismay of the Furious Five. When, in a surprise move, Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) announces his retirement as their teacher, and appoints Po as his replacement, no one is more surprised than Po himself. While Po has to suffer the embarrassment of failing as a teacher, his friends and co-warriors have to endure the pain of those training sessions, leaving Po to wonder who he really is.

 

In the spirit realm, Kai (J.K. Simmons), an old and envious friend of Oogway (Randall Duk Kim), has taken to stealing the chi, the most important energy a person contains, from all the Kung Fu masters in the spirit realm. With each chi he steals, Kai becomes stronger and stronger, until he is able to return to the natural world to steal the chi of the Dragon Warrior.

 

In the midst of Po's identity crisis, a new panda comes to town who not only challenges Po's dumpling eating record, but surpasses it. Li (Bryan Cranston) as it turns out, is Po's long lost father who tells Po he can help with Po's crisis. Po follows Li to the hidden panda village where he meets other panda's and learns what it means to really be a panda. All the while Kai is growing stronger as he steals the chi of Master Shifu, Mantis (Seth Rogan), Crane (David Cross), Viper (Lucy Liu), and Monkey (Jackie Chan), leaving Tigress (Angelina Jolie) alone to warn Po and help him defeat Kai.

 

Kung Fu Panda 3 explores the questions each of us asks. "What makes my life important? What sets me apart? Who am I really?" All of us, but especially children, can be influenced by the people around us and by the idea of who we want to be or think we should be. This movie makes a clear point. Embrace who you are. Your foibles and weirdness. Your strengths and weaknesses. Your history. As Po learns what it is to be a Panda, he also remembers the influence and love of his adoptive father, Mr. Ping (James Hong), and relishes the friendships he's made along his journey. These are what make his chi strong and give him purpose.

 

If you've seen a Kung Fu Panda movie, you will not be surprised by all the potty-humor, Po's multiple references to his "tenders," or remarks that he "peed" himself a little. These are expected from Po, and are what kids find hilarious. Parents should be aware that this movie introduces children to the Eastern religious idea of "chi," and takes characters into the "spirit realm," a heavenly kind of place where Master Oogway and others now reside. This will offer a unique opportunity to start a discussion with your kids about issues of faith, world religions, and your own perspectives on belief in God.

 

Meanwhile, Po is likeable, because he's how we see ourselves. Fallible and incompetent despite all the talents God has given us. He makes it okay to laugh at ourselves and keep trying.

 

Let’s Talk About It

Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:

 

• What do you think about the idea of "chi" and the spirit realm as it's shown in Kung FU Panda 3? How does that compare to what our family believes?

 

• When the village was battling Kai, each panda used his own talents in the battle. Rolling, ribbon twirling, and flying through the air were all used in the fight. If you were to help Po in his battle against Kai, what skill would you use?

 

• Sometimes we all feel like Po...like our mistakes are what people see and remember. What do you think is God's perspective on that? How do you know?

 

--JW

 

Note: All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.

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