Kung FU Panda 4 Is an Unnecessary but Very Attractive Finishing Touch to a Memorable Trilogy

Kung Fu Panda 4 (United States-China/2024). Director : Mike Mitchell. Screenplay : Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger and Darren Lemke. Edition : Christopher Knights. Music : Hans Zimmer and Mike Mazzaro. With the original voices of: Jack Black, Awkwafina, Bryan Cranston, Dustin Hoffman, Viola Davis. Distributor : UIP. Duration : 94 minutes. Rating : suitable for all audiences. Our opinion : good.

Kung Fu Panda 4 begins with the appearance on the screen of the colorful logo of the animated division of DreamWorks studios. In a few seconds we see how the classic image of the shadow of a boy, sitting in profile on the curve of a waning moon and surrounded by clouds, moves digitally throughout the frame while receiving greetings from others along the way. great characters and titles emerging from the same creative powerhouse: Madagascar , How to Train Your Dragon , The Croods , Puss in Boots , Shrek .

The experience of recent decades in this regard tells us that a cycle of three films seems sufficient to present each story, develop it in a more or less original way and give it one more spin before the inevitable wear and tear. Kung Fu Panda perfectly took advantage of the full potential of a world full of traditions and exoticism in terms of adventure, discovery and learning, mixed with the humorous explosion of a central character conceived in the image and likeness of Jack Black (the histrionic actor who played him). lends his voice) and the increasingly stronger rapprochement between Hollywood and the Chinese audiovisual industry. This film is a co-production between both countries.

All of what has been said certifies that Kung Fu Panda 3 , released in 2016, worked as a perfect closing. The panda Po found there all the answers to the questions about his origin, his family ties and his place in the world in the middle of a spectacular visual framework linked to Chinese legends. Was there anything else to say?

The temptation to get the most out of this type of character is a Hollywood classic. And that practice is clearer than ever in the fourth film, which forces the Kung Fu Panda machine without much need. Especially because we already know the story of overcoming, heroism and redemption that is told here.

Having in front of us classic and modern stories of recent appearance that explore new ways of narrating through animation such as Nimona , The Boy and the Heron , My Robot Friend and the best of Pixar’s latest crop ( Luca , Red ) this insistence does not explain much. , almost always wrapped in a sobering package. Now it’s Po’s turn to become a spiritual leader and go out in search of a successor while facing Chameleon, a lizard woman who knows a lot about spells and can turn into anything, with the help of an elusive and cunning fox named Zhen.

The story doesn’t lack verve, the action flows naturally, the characters are immediately engaging from their design and there are, as you would expect, some good sight gags. But this harvest diminishes in comparison with the previous trilogy, especially due to the unnecessary vertigo of several sequences. The visual framework is not as dazzling as in the third installment. But Po and his friends have something that always works in their favor: they are very lovable and have perfect voices (Black, Bryan Cranston, Viola Davis, Ian McShane, Dustin Hoffman) for the few who can enjoy them in the original subtitled version .

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