Once again, DreamWorks has brought everyone’s favorite animated panda to his biggest adventure yet as he tries to save the world from another powerful Kung Fu warrior.
Many years ago, Master Oogway (Randall Duk Kim) banished his best friend, Kai (J.K. Simmons), to the spirit realm after they had stumbled upon a village of pandas who had the extraordinary gift to manipulate chi and could tap into the power of the universe that flows through everything. While Oogway was content to learn the skills they could teach, Kai thought it was better to take what he wanted and ultimately caused the rift between the two. After 500 years of banishment, Kai has taken all of the chi from the masters who have passed into the spirit realm, and after taking Oogway’s, he is powerful enough to return to the mortal realm where he plans to take away all of the world’s chi and destroy Oogway’s legacy. That includes destroying the Dragon Warrior, Po (Jack Black).
But as we’ve learned in the previous films, defeating our bumbling hero is nearly an impossible task. Not only does he have the backing of Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) and the Furious Five: Mantis (Seth Rogen), Crane (David Cross), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Viper (Lucy Liu) and Tigress (Angelina Jolie), but he has learned his own style of Kung Fu as well.
Even after all of his training and experience, Po is not a match for his latest opponent. Kai easily takes out his friends and uses their chi to grow even stronger. Kung Fu is not enough to defeat him. In order for Po to win, he must seek out the hidden valley of the pandas who can train him to become a master of chi. And fortunately for him, Li Shan (Bryan Cranston), the only other panda anyone has ever seen, arrives just in time looking for his missing son and willing to take Po back to the village. And if you know how wild and crazy Po is, it’s even more exciting to meet an entire village full of pandas more eccentric than our hero.
The Blu-ray video is presented in Widescreen 2.35:1 ratio with a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1audio track. Visually the film is crisp and clear with vibrant colors and contrasting darks. The audio and surround sound is used effectively and immerses you into the action.
The DVD and Blu-ray contains multiple Special Features:
“Everybody Loves a Panda Party” is a music video with Po and the rest of the cast as they sing to the music of the Carl Douglas' song “Kung Fu Fighting”. There is also a Karaoke version if you wish to sing along with the new lyrics.
“Po’s Posters of Awesomeness” follows Po as he shows all of the various posters his father has put up in the noodle shop and he explains what each one means.
“Panda Paws” is an original new short featuring Mei Mei’s (Kate Hudson) story of her first ribbon audition and how it was disrupted by Bao (Steele Gagnon).
“Make a Panda Party Paper Pal” is an instructional video demonstrating how to use the enclosed paper to fold and create your own paper Po doll with a link to download more paper pals online so you can create your own panda village.
“Play Like a Panda” is a brief live-action short interspersed with animated footage and featuring directors Alessandro Carloni and Jennifer Yuh describing how they used real pandas for the inspiration of how the film pandas would live and what kind of fighting characteristics they would develop.
“The Origin of Skadoosh” are clips from the first film in the series overdubbed with Po’s voice as he describes what went into his coming up with this particular vocal expression he combined with his famous Kung Fu move.
“Faux Paws (Deleted Scenes)” is a collection of unused animation scenes that were left on the cutting room floor. This is particularly interesting as not only were the scenes good, but the directors took time to explain why they were cut and how they would have affected the film had they been left in.
“Gallery of Epic Awesomeness” is a gallery of still animation cells from the film.
The Kung Fu Panda series has been well received since the first release and has even spun off a Disney television series that is the same outstanding quality both visually and story-wise as the films. This latest installment is just as good as everything that has proceeded it and is a no-brainer to buy. It’s fun, silly, has exciting storylines, good action, and most importantly a heart.