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[CRITICAL] KUNG FU PANDA 3

For nearly a decade, affected by the panda Po, aka The Dragon Warrior, in the house of DreamWorks in which he was able to get a place of choice among the icons of the studio founded by the no less famous Spielberg, Katzenberg and Geffen in 1994 (Shrek and Donkey, Alex and Marty from Madagascar, etc). As often in the production of animated films, the logic of the sequel bonus as long as the box-office is following behind (The Croods 2 and Dragon 3 have already been announced for 2017 and 2018) forcing the writers (Jonathan Aibel and Glen Berger) to explore the characters and the universe until exhaustion. The first two parts of the saga , KUNG FU PANDA has reported more than a billion dollars, so it was “normal” that a third installment sees the light of day, even if, paradoxically, the wait was longer than expected (five years between the last two films !). Beyond these few economic considerations, the success of the saga is primarily based on story choices and visual marked.

The first is related to his humour regressive works by the contrasts of sizes, shapes and weight, a certain hierarchy of the absurd (” it has long been believed that the bird Mr Ping was his biological father). It is true that there is something exhilarating to see a big “patapouf” panda become an expert in kung-fu. Brilliant idea, because after three movies, ” always keep this innocence in front of his own powers more and more improbable that confer without stops the film, thus leaving his old Master Sifu, a bit puzzled by this one-upmanship story. Among the new features pleasant, this third installment seems to be detached from some of the realistic constraints making it even features animal panda (enthusiasts of rolls, hugs, and extremely greedy) techniques of effective combat. Not that the buddhist philosophy or the tenets of the martial arts are turned into ridiculous – the importance of the concept of ” chi ” in this episode proves it once again – but while the meeting between the asthmatic panda and the rigorous physical and mental kung-fu created shifts and comic situations necessarily significant. Somewhere it is the encounter between two cultures, american and chinese, that the saga comes to confront, not in a spirit of rivalry or defeat, but in a momentum gatherer portrayed by the irrepressible and the inimitable ” (the choice of Jack Black to the voice participates in this madness carefree living character).

The second quality peculiar to the three films lies in the writing of the villain : snow leopard Tai Lung the evil Kai, passing by the peacock Shen, everyone was given the opportunity to ” gain in thickness and sensitivity while offering scenes of prestige often spectacular (no one has forgotten the scene of the liberation of Tai Lung in the first pane). In this episode, it’s the opening sequence featuring the battle between Master Oogway and Kai in the spirit Realm that most impresses visually. Because the true singularity of the KUNG FU PANDA lies primarily in its aesthetic pluralism and multicultural. Mixing the pop-art (Roy Lichtenstein and his Rising Sun) with the chinese painting (on The Day of Qingming on the river’s edge), the cutting of the manga (in split-screen) with the animation of painted and 3D animation, the slag of Hans Zimmer with those of Lang Lang, the film proudly displays its impulses protean both graphic and abstract. And if the gags are sometimes less funny than in the previous films, the staging retains its charms of the aesthetic and thus neatly them into jubilant (the fight choreographies are always so amazing). In this respect, it seems important to underline the fact that this saga has a deep respect for chinese thought because, at a time when the likeness of a certain material reality is an aesthetic model in the animation industry, she takes the bet on the opposite and offer a visual world that is defeated to any requirement that is realistic and physical.

“After two episodes based on the learning of techniques, KUNG FU PANDA 3 deepens the initiatory path of his hero through a spiritual approach.”

After two episodes based on the learning of techniques, KUNG FU PANDA 3 deepens the initiatory path of his hero through a spiritual approach. Under the guise of an existential questioning (” who am I ? “), Po continues his training of self on the idea of a body sensation that is concrete, that is to say its sensitivity to the original panda. If the ” chi “, the axiom would be : “do not win after having struck, but strike after having won “, evoking physical sensations and impressions mysterious related to the rule of fighting of the spirit, there is nothing like a concept to a tangible or rational, which may seem a little fuzzy to western audiences. “Ultimately, however, mastering this “aspect” of the fundamental martial art when his body will be picked up this new environment (what it means to be a panda) and when his state of mind in which it is positioned on the inside will also be harmonious (accepting yourself goes through an acceptance of his origins, of his two dads and his susceptibility to panda). The film shows brilliantly that the art of fighting is not only a technical art, or moral, but that there is an art to the pragmatic (” must use these qualities). By freeing his mind of all conscious thought, such as the victory over the enemy Kai, ” acquire this spontaneity which has always been its strength, allowing him to win many challenges (see the idea of self-sacrifice is a good example). As well illustrated by the film, the chinese thought offers a vision of the world ” organicist “, in other words, things happen because they happen as they happen settled by way of a protocol, cosmic (Oogway, aka the Universe, knew from the start that ” would be a master at kung fu, even more). No transcendence creative here, the Ying and the Yang, the symbol of ultra-referenced and extremely present in the movie, also colour of the skin of a panda, interpenetrate and alternate cyclically without any spending, nor rivalry far away from a logic of western thought.

With KUNG FU PANDA 3, Dreamworks shows its ability to experiment on the universe of the franchise, while exploring other artistic possibilities, be they aesthetic or cultural (it is also the first animated film to be co-produced with a studio chinese, China Film Co. Ldt). Wishing to stand out from the model emphatic to Disney/Pixar, Dreamworks provides a different aesthetic model, combining the regressive and the spectacular, which, in recent years, their has been rather successful : the two Dragon and Megamind are the most eloquent proof.

Antoine Gaudé

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