Monday, February 29, 2016

Three times the fun and the dumplings: My Kung Fu Panda 3 Movie Review

DumpliMazingly Kung Fu-Riffic! Where do I start with my Kung Fu Panda review? (1) The fact that the overall 3D experience was such a thrilling ride, with the Dragon Warrior, Po, and a whole new dumpling-bowl of adorable characters... (2) that the movie was so well-written so I was thinking "the Kung Fu Panda series couldn't be more inspiring than the last two ones," but guess what, I was blown away like a kung fu kick in my brain by the twists in the plot leading to yet another colourful destiny of our huggable black-and-white hero and his posse (3) the pre-show: seeing Kung Fu Panda Po himself show off his signature Kung Fu moves live before the premier screening thanks to Warner Brothers Philippines (thanks Sir Francis Soliven & Ms. Mae Vecina), or (4) the fact that the movie truly speaks to us all... indeed, my friends and family who were also invited to the screening could truly relate to the story; we felt as though it was written for us. Let me just share my top 10 favorites dumplthings about it! I will try not to spoil it for you... 
1. More servings of Pandumplings. Imagine, our beloved Po, times ten! More kung fu, more fun, more cuteness and loads of dumplings! Even if they all look the same, each of the new Panda characters will surely stand out with their special traits and talents... Po truly knows how to share the cuteness and the awesomeness!
2. Confidently beautiful with a Heart - and so much Art! Yes, it is a winner in the universal scene, witty lines that appeal to kids and the kids at heart! I will never forget what Shifu remarked: "If you only do what you CAN do, you will never be more than you are now." Indeed, this strikes straight to my heart, for reasons I will share someday... Indeed, the story boils down to us finding who we are, and ultimately accepting ourselves, acknowledging our places in this world. I myself am guilty for trying to be who I am not, and running away from who I truly am. I know Destiny can only catch up to me if I allow myself to; and like the path of the Dragon Warrior, it is not a fun, easy, breezy road! And may I just add that the Shangri-la like lair of the Pandas was simply breathtaking! Beautiful and artful in all scenes, indeed! And to make the art more special, the movie resonates truth as with most of the Pandas' qualities - such as their carefree stance and rolling - literally rolling down hillsides- are all true traits of these wonderful creatures! 
3. Panda Ponder This. No need to ponder about why it was such a terrific big screen experience; Dreamworks studios kicked the digital experience up a notch. I never truly enjoyed watching in 3D until Kung Fu Panda 3! Every single feature in the film was notable - from the color tones (perfect, especially on the otherworld, all that golden chi!) from the well-drawn new characters brought to life to Pandariffic ease. Everything about this movie was simply perfect!
How cute are these furry dumplings? Beyond cute!!!
4. Tigress and the Crew. And by this I mean the A list stars who gave life to the characters. Photo not mine, credits to the owner/s. I mean this photo doesn't need much explaining... Wow, just wow... and I thought that our screening was the most awesome advance screening of all... Kung figure (Go figure)...
5. Life in Black & White means all the colors combined. I loved how Po and his furry buddies (family, actually) in Black & White . Here's my movie buddy and BFF for life with his Dragon Warrior Panda-popcorn bucket and Li Shan atop his kung fu drink! There were just so many awesome things about this screening! It was so much Pan(da)! I mean it was so much fun!!!
6. Chi-riffic Bad-ass Villain. This Jade-blade wielding Yak named 'KAI' brings me the chills for he was all-seeing, all powerful. His name in Oriental regions is synonymous to strong and unbreakable. Even if everyone hates the bad guy, there is so much to learn from Kai: his journey, his tenacity in learning from his surroundings that led to his ruthless return. A few things that I already knew, and which Kai taught us kids, is that greed will lead you nowhere. Indeed, how many of the mightiest and most entitled figures in history fall blind in their pride and finally perish in selfishness. And I guess that his choice of a weapon, Jade  blades (green which is the color of envy) also resonates to our nature of always believing that the grass is greener on the other side, and how envy deters us from realizing our potential, from understanding what we are here for... something that the chosen one, the pure-hearted, selfless Dragon Warrior Po never allowed himself to succumb to. Kai is such the bad guy, but you gotta hand it to him; he was bad-ass too!
7. Who's your PanDaddy now? As what we've all seen in the awesome trailers, Po is reunited with his biological father. But that doesn't mean that his loving, adoptive father and noodle warrior Mr. Ping will have any less screen time! Indeed, for a time, Po was torn between who is truly is father, but more so, who he truly is. It is simply beautiful how it reflects the often sad reality of broken homes and families due to whatever reason, but with Love and Acceptance - as in the case of Po - without a mother, only two fathers - life may not be perfect, but it will always be beautiful. Po has the best of both worlds: his biological father, Li Shan, and his logical father, Ping - both who love him in their own, even queer, imperfect ways.  
8. Make way for the master: Oogway! Come on, Po, admit it; you won't ever be the dragon warrior if not for the wisdom, courage and selflessness of Oogway! Up to this date (and already in a different plane), Oogway plays a very significant role in the film. And can I just gush how much I love my pet Tortoise? Just seeing my very own Baby Oogway chew his clover-shaped weeds, grass and on special days, his rose petals and watermelons is just so therapeutic! That's why I am not surprised with how the movie producers still make sure that Oogway gets his way. Tortoises are just so zen, so amazing, and just like Oogway, they live for eternity, and I don't mean just in the next life... Here's my Baby Oogway, Sammy the Tortoise munching on greens and rose petals...
9. The inspiring quotes.. I can still recall the first movie's super popular line: Yesterday is History... Tomorrow is a Mystery. Today is a gift. That is why it's called, The Present." This movie was brimming with so many gems of wisdom as usual: from Master Oogway to Mister Ping... there's something to learn from the mesmerizing scenes!
10. The importance of a Grand Entrance. Indeed, they say that most of what matters in life is how you fare in the end. But may I just stress the value of coming in strong, righteously, correctly in the start. Like what Shifu told Po about the value of a dramatic entrance, sometimes, battles are won on the first round - and doesn't that make life all the easier? Doesn't that allow us more battles to fight and win? And more than just entering the Kung Fu training temple, the dramatic entrance of Po to the other realm, as he saved his family and friends from Kai in an unexpected and heart-rending manner said so much about what he is made of: pure, selfless, loving energy. And that is why he is the master of Chi, to add to his accolades, the other most famous being "the Dragon Warrior." And to those who are unable to make the grandest of entrances, then it is time to make sure that we make up for it; and at least make sure that we have an honourable exit.
I think I already wrote a (dumpling) mouthful already; time for you to make your dramatic entrances in the the nearest cinema (ideally 3D for the perfect experience) for you to actually feel what I share from my heart. Great job Po, it was one memorable experience with you and you equally awesome buddies! 
Excuse the Panda-eye-bags and Panda fat soreness... just focus on Po please. LOL.