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'Kung Fu Panda 3' Blu-ray Review: Ain't no party like a panda party

July 21, 2016Ben MK

In Aziz Ansari's Netflix series, Master of None, one of the characters casually dismisses movies aimed at children as "colorful garbage." Thankfully, while there are some kids movies that deserve that unenviable title, Dreamworks Animation's Kung Fu Panda isn't one of them — even though it sure is colorful.

Yes, Kung Fu Panda is now officially a trilogy, and even though this third film probably won't spell the end of the popular franchise, it still serves as a nice little wrap-up for the journey of Po (Jack Black), the panda who began his quest to become a kung fu warrior in the original 2008 movie. This time, Po faces what may very well be his most formidable challenge yet — a spirit warrior named Kai (J.K. Simmons), a being who has returned from a 500-year exile in the Spirit Realm, and who's intent on capturing the chi of every last kung fu master in the Valley.

Aided by his Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), his fellow Dragon Warriors — Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu) and Crane (David Cross) — and his long-lost biological father, Li Shan (Bryan Cranston), Po sets out to stop Kai. But to do so, he'll have to leave his home in the Valley and travel to a place he never imagined existed: the secret panda village. For in order to defeat Kai, Po will have to accomplish in a matter of days what it has taken others far more enlightened than him years to achieve: become a master of chi.

If you've seen the first two movies, then what follows doesn't stray far from formula, meaning that there are some engaging fight sequences, a few life lessons, and a whole lotta panda-related puns along the way. Long story short, Kung Fu Panda 3 is basically the Return of the Jedi of the series, which is to say that while the film is slightly less ambitious that its predecessors, it still manages to deliver just what fans of the franchise have come to expect, only with a whole bunch of cute creatures (pandas this time, not Ewoks) thrown in for good measure.

Not surprisingly, digital animation continues to be the ideal showcase for the true potential of high-definition — not to mention, ultra high-definition — and Kung Fu Panda 3 proudly carries on that trend. Without a doubt, the image quality here is sharp as a pin, lush and vibrant, giving viewers an excellent look at all the tiny details the film's animators have put into creating Po and his world, from the individually countable hairs on Po himself, to the landscapes, whether they be lush forests, sandy deserts or frozen summits. This reference-quality picture is paired with an equally impressive DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix, one that communicates the film's dialogue and its energetic, Eastern-influenced score with the utmost clarity, filling out the rest of the audio channels with the sounds of battle cries, flying fists, magical spells and cartoonish chaos.

Fox's two-disc Blu-ray combo pack includes a DVD copy of the film, an iTunes/UltraViolet digital copy, plus the following, extremely kid-centric Blu-ray extras:

  • Everybody Loves a Panda Party (2:34) - A video for Po's riff on "Everybody Loves Kung Fu Fighting."
  • Everybody Loves a Panda Party - Karaoke With Po (2:34) - The same song, this time, karaoke-style.
  • Po's Posters of Awesomeness (3:30) - Po shows off the various Dragon Warriors posters that adorn the walls of Mr. Ping's noodle shop.
  • Panda Paws (2:23) - An animated short starring Mei Mei (Kate Hudson), the ribbon-dancing panda.
  • Make a Panda Party Paper Pal (3:38) - Po shows viewers how to make panda origami, using the special insert included inside the Blu-ray case.
  • Play Like a Panda (4:44) - Directors Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Allessandro Carloni talk about the research they did on pandas, as well as how they named the three baby pandas in the movie after the ones born at the Chimelong Zoo in Guangzhou, China.
  • The Origin of "Skadoosh" (2:21) - Po reveals the origins of his signature phrase, as inspired by the kung fu masters of legend.
  • Faux Paws (Deleted Scenes) (7:50) - Three scenes, each with an introduction by directors Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Allessandro Carloni.
  • Gallery of Epic Artfulness - 29 still images from the film.
  • Theatrical Trailer (2:26)
  • The World of Dreamworks Animation (19:40) - A selection of music videos, promotional clips and trailers from Shrek, Madagascar, How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda, The Croods, Turbo and Home.

Kung Fu Panda 3 is available from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment as of June 28th, 2016. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, Spanish, French and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, Spanish, French and Portuguese subtitles. The total runtime is 1 Hr. 35 Mins.

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