Monday, 14 March 2016


A good idea is only good for so long. It needs sustenance, replenishment, if intended to yield rewards past its natural expiry date. And so the Kung Fu Panda franchise withers on, accepting an ever-diminishing yield, predicated upon the eternal supply of artistic worth promised by that one good idea. It fuelled the first film, and held the second one up; now, it serves as an excuse for Kung Fu Panda 3, an excuse that looks ever more tired the longer it lingers around. This film rather seems to have its fate accepted from its very first scene, proceeding to skip swiftly through a straightforward plot with an emphasis on comedy, not creativity. The film's animators possess a lovely way with colour, for example, but are prone to overloading it; vibrant flashes of editing invention here and there may momentarily enliven the film, but they're sparingly employed, and largely only stylistic hangovers from the first Kung Fu Panda. We're otherwise on animation autopilot, with interest maintained mainly by the family-friendly fast pace (smartly skimming over the thematic and narrative familiarity) and a moderate comedic hit rate. The ambition behind that good idea has been buried beneath the desperation to merely keep it alive, and there's no sign of the replenishment necessary to provide Kung Fu Panda 3 with the vitality and the singularity it needs; the very same features of which the 2008 original serves as a beacon for the American industry.