Kung Fu Panda 3 Parent Review

This third instalment manages to retain the fun and adventure that made the series popular.

Overall B+

Po (voice of Jack Black) has been on a totally awesome journey to become a Kung Fu warrior. When he meets a panda from his past, he embarks on a path of discovery that might just help him understand the road he should follow in the future.

Violence B-
Sexual Content A-
Profanity A-
Substance Use A

Kung Fu Panda 3 is rated PG for martial arts action and some mild rude humor.

Movie Review

After Kung Fu Panda released in 2008 to great popular applaud, the studio followed up the hit animation with a warm and fuzzy sequel in 2011. Now the lovable, black and white hero (voiced by Jack Black) returns for a third adventure.

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If you are a fan of the franchise, you will recall in the second movie we were all shocked to learn that Mr. Ping (voice of James Hong), the noodle cooking goose, was not Po’s biological father. Yes, Po is adopted—so it’s fitting that in this film we meet Po’s birth dad, Li Shan (voice of Bryan Cranston). We also discover a secret panda village full of plump, pleasant and somewhat out-of-shape bears, just like Po.

But the happy reunion is short lived when Po is called upon to help fight an ancient, evil spirit called Kai (voice of J.K. Simmons). Looking like an overgrown mountain goat, Kai has come to steal the powers of legions of Kung Fu masters—including Po’s fighting cohorts, the Furious Five (voiced by Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu and Davis Cross). It turns out the only hope to save China is to train these portly pandas to become martial arts fighters. It’s a stretch, but with Po setting the example, the bears become a force to be reckoned with.

Kung Fu Panda 3 manages to retain the good spirit of fun and adventure that has made this series popular with family audiences. While this instalment delves further into Chinese spirituality, with characters needing to enhance their “chi” (life-force or energy flow) to be able to defeat the foe, it still offers plenty of positive themes that will appeal regardless of philosophical persuasions. These including Po’s ongoing adoption story, as well as the messages about recognizing and developing the individual gifts and talents each of us has been given. And kids will likely easily understand the teamwork concept of these pandas coming together to protect their world.

Thankfully, content concerns are few. You can expect the usual animated “Kung Foolery” with characters battling one another with martial arts moves that borderline on slapstick mayhem. Other than a comedic situation where Po attracts the attention of a flirtatious female (voice of Kate Hudson), and a reference to Po’s “tender” body parts, Kung Fu Panda 3 serves up great fun for families.

Directed by Jennifer Yuh. Starring Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, David Cross. Running time: 95 minutes. Theatrical release January 29, 2016. Updated

Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Kung Fu Panda 3 here.

Kung Fu Panda 3 Parents Guide

Master Shifu (voice of Dustin Hoffman) tells Po: “If you only do what you can do, then you will never be more than you are now.” Do you think this statement is profound? Do you agree that it is impossible to learn and grow unless we take risks and try new things?

Why was Master Oogway (voiced by Randall Duk Kimable) able to see more in Po than he could see in himself? Do you think that it is also true that most of us do not see our full potential? Who would you trust to help you discover who you really are and what you might be able to become? What kind of power might you get from knowing who you really are?

This movie refers to a few concepts that may be a bit abstract for young viewers. For example, several of the characters are shown in the “spirit realm”. This depiction may prompt parents and children to talk about their family’s beliefs about life after death. Also, the villain of the story is trying to steal the “Chi” of Kung Fu masters. According to ReligionFacts.com, “Ch’i (also spelled Chi or Qi) is a fundamental concept in Chinese philosophy and culture. Found in Chinese traditional religion but especially Taoism, Ch’i literally means “air” or “breath,” but as a concept it refers to the energy flow or life force that is said to pervade all things.” After watching the movie, you may want discuss your feelings and/or understanding of this concept.