IT’S DEFINITELY A family movie affair in Kung Fu Panda 3, as the lead actors’ voices alongside those of their kids and grandkids.
In recent interviews, Jack Black, Angelina Jolie Pitt, and Dustin Hoffman shared that their children recorded voices can be heard in the latest installment of the blockbuster franchise.
Jolie Pitt’s children — Pax, 12; Zahara, 10; Shiloh, nine; and Knox, seven — recorded animal voices for the movie, and she said that they weren’t really expecting to be in the movie, “They were kind of shy. They don’t really want to be actors, but I didn’t want them to miss the opportunity. They came in, and they had a lot of fun with it,” said Jolie Pitt.
Lead star Jack Black’s son Sammy, nine, did voice-over too, “My boy actually has a voice in it. He plays one of the bunnies. I wish there was only one bunny so I could say: ‘My boy plays THE bunny,’ but he’s like one of the bunnies. There’s like a thousand bunnies.” Black said his kids are “stoked” about the movie, but said: “they have to be a little contrary. It’s part of being a kid. It’s like, your dad is not the cool one. No matter how cool your dad is, they have to rebel against me.”
And Dustin Hoffman’s grandson Gus is also heard in the movie.
Franchise newcomer Kate Hudson said: “My kids have always loved the Kung Fu Pandas, so this is really exciting for me, because, you know, I’m cool mom right now.”
Po’s (voiced by Black) adventure began in Kung Fu Panda, where he fulfilled his destiny and became the Dragon Warrior. Audiences around the globe were taken with Kung Fu Panda — to the tune of over $633 million worldwide. The animated film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature, and took home 10 Annie Awards.
In Kung Fu Panda 2, Po had to uncover the secrets of his mysterious origins in order to unlock the strength he needed to succeed. The film topped the blockbuster numbers of the first picture, earned an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature, and won two Annie Awards, including Best Director, for Jennifer Yuh Nelson.
Now, in Kung Fu Panda 3 — which has ruled the US box office for weeks — Po’s adventure brings him full circle as he continues his evolution as a hero. Po realizes, he still has a lot to learn when he leaves his comfort zone as a martial arts student to take on the responsibilities of a teacher. At the same time, he must bring together his biological family and his kung fu family — and become a master of the past and the future.
Director Alessandro Carloni, another veteran of the trilogy, says: “In this film, Po must help others reach that same kind of epiphany and to embrace their unique qualities to become truly empowered.”
The first of the new challenges for Po is to make a daunting professional transition: his beloved teacher Shifu says the next step in his evolution is becoming a teacher. According to Black, who once again voiced the iconic role, that scene points to the fact that “Po is no Shifu, let’s be honest. He’s freaking out and doesn’t think he’s up to these new responsibilities, which are weighing him down even more than the countless dumplings he consumes.”
MTRCB Rating: G