After treating its release date like a ping-pong ball, Dreamworks Animation has finally bestowed upon the world the glory that is Kung Fu Panda 3! And with any new animated movie comes a new chance to throw the audience into the third dimension, as Po's latest adventure promises a 3D bonanza for kids and adults alike. But does the 3D treatment help or hinder the Dragon Warrior's latest quest? If you're dying to find out, then prepare yourself to learn – as it's time for To 3D or Not To 3D!
While we won't be reviewing the actual content of the film in this column, you can find that review for your reading pleasure here. But for those of you who want to get the biggest bang for your buck this weekend, look no further! So grab some dumplings, and practice your Wuxi Finger Hold, as we chop through the technical stuff to deliver our 3D verdict of Kung Fu Panda 3!
Theoretically, kids movies and 3D are like ice cream and whipped cream: perfect together. However, you can't just slap a 3D conversion on any kids film and expect it to work. With Kung Fu Panda 3, the strongest asset to the film's 3D presentation is the gorgeous action scenes. With all of the physical, and at some points metaphysical, set pieces on display, the film is a rich playground for 3D viewing.
Planning & Effort Score
Animated films such as Kung Fu Panda 3 are always conversions from a digital master, which makes it a natural fit for 3D conversion. Not only are the visuals basically tailored for such a presentation, but the studios pretty much add "in 3D' to the end of every sentence when pitching a kid's film. Kung Fu Panda 3 was definitely going to be a 3D release since day one, but considering what it does with the opportunity, it wasn't a slap dash effort at cashing in.
Before the Window Score
Unfortunately Kung Fu Panda 3 doesn't jump out of the screen as it should. However, it does still have a good amount of items coming at the screen – it's just that they usually fall short of coming "out" of the screen. One particular stand out is the evil Kai's twin blades, which cross the border and fly straight into the audience. The film may not have passed the flinch test, but it definitely gave us some thrilling moments of eye popping joy.
Beyond the Window Score
Going beyond the window is where Kung Fu Panda 3 excels, as its depth is greater than its projection of objects before the window. Characters interacting with landscapes and objects give off some impressive spacial reasoning, and again there are certain sequences where the film takes full advantage of this effect. The scenes involving the spirit realm are particularly demonstrative of the field of depth, as the free floating objects and land masses mark the truly infinite nature of the location.
The most impressive aspect of Kung Fu Panda 3's 3D version is the fact that the brightness can never be questioned while wearing your glasses. In fact, if you're looking out for the brightness of the picture, you might be pleasantly surprised to see that you've forgotten to check out the image without your glasses on. But when you do get around to comparing your showing with and without your glasses, there's a good chance you'll like what you see. Keep in mind though, your brightness level may vary, depending on how well calibrated your showing of Kung Fu Panda 3 turns out to be.
Glasses Off Score
A healthy amount of blur is present during the 3D presentation of Kung Fu Panda 3, with the action mostly blurring out in more of the backgrounds and landscapes of the film. There's some blur in the presentation of the characters, but they act more like a visual anchor to the image when it comes to the effects of the actions they're undertaking. Nevertheless, there's always something being manipulated with the blur of the 3D tweaks in Kung Fu Panda 3, it just depends on where you're looking.
Audience Health Score
Kung Fu Panda 3 has not only the most beautiful, and the brightest 3D, it also has the clearest presentation of a 3D film that I've seen in a long while. Not only is the image stable during huge action set-pieces, like Kai's assault on the Jade Palace, but it's also extremely easy on the eyes. Even the best 3D films of recent years required a little bit of time for your eyes to adjust to the fact that you're watching a 3D presentation, but Kung Fu Panda 3 is ready from the first frame, and carries right on through the closing credits.
3D SCORES RECAP
P & E
Before The Window
Beyond The Window
Glasses Off Test
Final Verdict: Kung Fu Panda 3 is the most impressive 3D for an animated film that I've seen in a good long while. While it may not pop out as much as one would hope, the film makes up for it with spectacularly bright picture quality, and really good depth perception. Should you have children or friends that like to drag you to 3D screenings, you're not going to find your eyes straining to see the beauty that is Kung Fu Panda 3.
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CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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