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Note: A non-denominational version of this review appears on Brother Decker’s site Your Family Expert.
WHAT’S KUNG FU PANDA 3 ABOUT?
Po (Jack Black) reunites with his birth father, connects with a secret community of pandas, and battles an immortal nemesis.
IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE: A)
I’ve always been impressed by the care and craftsmanship that goes into these Kung Fu Panda movies. The concept suggests easy humor and lazy storytelling, and Dreamworks Animation could have gone that route, but instead they’ve consistently delivered beautifully-animated, smartly-written, warmly-acted, and ambitiously-directed works with well-rounded characters. Even the musical scores, so often forgettable in animated films, are memorable. Kung Fu Panda 3 isn’t better or worse than the previous films; it simply maintains the quality standard set by them, adding a pair of terrific performances by franchise newbies Bryan Cranston and J.K. Simmons, and providing a nice bit of closure should they choose to end the series here. My kids and I had a ball.
Kung Fu Panda 3 is rated PG. There is no language, sexuality, innuendo, or substance abuse. As is to be expected, there is a fair amount of hand-to-hand combat, but the lines between good and evil are clearly drawn.
MESSAGES FOR FAMILIES TO DISCUSS
Humility allows us to be teachable (see D&C 112:10); even if you feel competent with your knowledge, be open to learning more, even from those who are less experienced. Blended families, when properly navigated, provide an opportunity for children to have even more parental support and love. We can overcome our challenges with the support of our family and friends. Don’t compare yourself to others; instead, focus on being the best version of yourself. We have loved ones in the spirit world who want to help us, and we should be engaged in helping them (see D&C 128:18).