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The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

“Kung Fu Panda 4” is a fitting addition to a beloved franchise

Although “Kung Fu Panda 4” was released 16 years after the original, it lives up to the epic action and moving story of “Kung Fu Panda.”

As the evil Chameleon attacks the Valley of Peace, Po is faced with his final big battle. At the same time, he must make a decision that will shape the valley’s future: who will be the new Dragon Warrior?

Dreamworks Animation released their newest movie, “Kung Fu Panda 4,” on March 8, 2024. The animated movie is the fourth film in the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise, directed by Mike Mitchell and Stephanie Ma Stine. As a big fan of the previous three movies, I had high expectations. Nevertheless, the film’s incredible animation and flow, as well as the powerful dilemma that Po has to face, made “Kung Fu Panda 4” worth the wait.

In “Kung Fu Panda 4,” Po (Jack Black) and the Valley of Peace are threatened by a powerful, new villain: the Chameleon (Viola Davis), a shape shifting character who gathers a large army and prepares to take over the world. The Dragon Warrior (Po) has to face this challenge, while also learning that he has to pass on his role to a new Dragon Warrior. This is a new challenge for the popular hero who finds himself in a journey of self growth and danger.

The visuals of the film were impressive throughout. The animation included amazing landscapes, such as a beautiful bird’s eye view of the Valley of Peace and the shot of the Chameleon’s castle, with many intricate architectural details. The multiple battles during the film were connected to epic animations. I was especially captured by one of the final scenes in which Po fights the Chameleon, with the powerful effects and the light contrast making the scene very dramatic and suspenseful.

Besides great animation, the soundtrack and effects added to the flow of the film. The soundtrack was produced by Hans Zimmer, who also composed the soundtrack of “Interstellar” and other legendary films, as well as Steve Mazzaro. Many of the musical compositions were essential to creating the suspense of the film. I especially liked the dramatic music that perfectly fit the big scene of the original villain Tai Lung (Ian McShane) returning. A fantastic quality and variety of sound effects that flowed perfectly with the action.

However, the transition from the intro to the first action scene could have been better. When Po meets the new character of Zhen (Awkwafina) for the first time, we see him chasing her within the palace without any context of what happened before or how we ended up in that scene. I was a bit confused about what was going on and I think that a slower transition could have been helpful.

I particularly enjoyed how the movie brought back old characters from previous films. Villains such as Tai Lung who appeared in some scenes and even had a few lines as well as Kai and Lord Chen. This convergence of all of Po’s past enemies was an epic addition to the plot and brought a sense of wonderful nostalgia.

The movie includes a powerful message about the importance of accepting change and character development. When Po learns that he has to choose a successor to the Dragon Warrior position, he is very skeptical and does not want to think about it. Throughout the movie, however, Po learns about himself and his destiny. This self growth allows him to be open minded and move on at the end, while accepting that nothing lasts forever.

Overall, I enjoyed watching this movie with its fun, suspenseful plot line and interesting character arc for Po. This is the fourth movie of the series, but it is as engaging as the originals. Any fan of the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise is sure to enjoy it.

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