I'm a freelance writer living on the Sunshine Coast.
Published April 5th 2016
The Dragon Warrior In Action
Stories and fables have the ability to embody universal truths through archetypes. You only have to read the now classic "Women who run with wolves" by Clasrissa Pinkola Estes to fully understand the significance of storytelling on the human psyche. Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) is an excellent example of how a story, through animation, reveals spiritual universal truths to kids and adults alike.
In many ways, the story of the Kung Fu Panda trilogy resembles the movie The Matrix. The reluctant hero is first shown to us to be ordinary. He is singled out to be special by other special people. Then he journeys on a quest to find himself ("know thyself"). Later he develops his skills through tons of training and eventually becomes better than his master. In the end he learns how to defeat his most formidable enemy through courage, sacrifice, and developing inner power ("chi") and finally becoming a master himself.
A unique feature of the film Kung Fu Panda 3 is the inclusion of scenes of past masters in the spirit realm. This is a rare occurrence in a kid's film because it is ancient cultures who have strong ties to the spirit world through their ancestors and shamans etc. In addition, the spirit world is also the location of Po's ultimate battle with his supernatural enemy Kai. Po quickly learns that the laws of physics do not apply in the spirit realm. But lucky for Po, he is a fast learner and his creative imagination and powerful "chi" become the weapons he needs to destroy Kai.
The destruction of Kai mirrors the destruction of Mr Smith in The Matrix. Both Kai and Mr Smith are greedy for power but are not able to contain the force of the hero's chi (energy). We are left with Master Shifu's words echoing from earlier in the film when he tells Kai: if you keep taking, you will be left with nothing. Kung Fu Panda 3 has many such pearls of wisdom to share with its audience, together with many laughs, and a tear-jerker scene too. This movie cleverly ties the whole trilogy together and is highly recommended for the whole family.
Plenty of laughs as depicted by the poster at the cinema. (pic courtesy of author)