The original Kung Fu Panda was a delightful surprise when it debuted in 2008, overcoming a relatively standard underdog story by blending sharp humor with beautiful visuals and a unique style drawn mostly from its setting in the Far East. Kung Fu Panda 2 followed the same formula to similar success in 2011, even if it produced slightly diminishing returns. Now Kung Fu Panda 3 is entering the fold with a bigger voice cast and new village full of pandas in all shapes and sizes (mostly different proportions of round and fuzzy).
Bryan Cranston joins the cast as Li, Po's (Jack Black) father, and the trailer spends most of its time showing the two large beasts displaying empathy for each other's respective long-lost son and father. They circle around the obvious without drawing the connection all of their surrounding animal friends easily nailed — frankly somewhat of a dumb, tired idea. Kung Fu Panda has always been just endearing enough to make viewers see past this kind of simple humor though, and at the end of the day it's for kids, not comedy critics.
Also new to the scene are J.K. Simmons and Rebel Wilson as Kai, a supernatural, presumably evil bull, and Mei Mei, a young, presumably adorable panda. Dustin Hoffman returns as Master Shifu, and Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, David Cross and Lucy Liu are back as the Furious Five warriors. The film is currently slated to release January 29, 2016.
Check out the trailer for yourself below:
(H/T: USA Today)
Cover image: DreamWorksTV