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Sequoit Media

The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

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REVIEW: Kung Fu Panda 4; a cheap sequel, or a true installment?

The newest installment of Kung Fu Panda has left fans polarized.
Universal Pictures

To be blunt, this movie is definitely the worst of the series. However, living up to the legendary trio of the first three “Kung Fu Panda” installments is no easy task. Unfortunately, this movie could have been better, as certain features, such as runtime, underdeveloped characters, and the absence of the Furious Five, hold it back.  

This movie contains two great positives: the message and the cinematography. The movie’s overall message is that change comes from within, not with extrinsic or material concepts. It is a message I did not expect from a kids move, as typically something more adult or teen-centered would have a message about change. As different as it was, watching the main character Po try to enforce change to make his and others’ lives better was a welcome idea. 

The animation of this movie is more evolved than what preceded it, as animation is a constantly updating medium. The style of it felt very similar to ‘Puss in Boots: the Last Wish,’ a movie considered by many to be a groundbreaking style of how 3D animated movies look. Everything is also much brighter: more drastic colors, more movement styles of each character, and the use of lighter scenes and darker scenes being prominent again in the series. There were many action shots chosen that genuinely baffled me while watching, and it was very fitting for a kung fu movie. Also, it is absolutely worth mentioning that Hans Zimmer cooked again, alongside Steve Marazzo while composing the film’s score. The music of Kung Fu Panda is something that is heavily under-appreciated by the common fans, and is instrumental to the cinematography of Kung Fu Panda. 

To lean into critiques, the film is too short. While the other Kung Fu Panda films have similar runtimes, they struggled to squeeze in a lot in the thirty-four-minute runtime for the fourth movie. While the inclusion of the new Dragon Warrior was welcome, it needed another movie of buildup. Po, in movie watch time, has barely been the Dragon Warrior.  Another movie, perhaps making this a two-movie story, would have been much better.

The short runtime also made for two underdeveloped characters, Zhen and Chameleon. With Zhen becoming the new Dragon Warrior, it would have been great to see more from her in terms of character depth, but what was crammed into the short time sufficed. Chameleon failed to carry that same energy the villains before she had. Kai, Shen, and Tai Lung were tough opponents for Po to beat, but the idea of them all returning to take him down was very good. However, this led to Chameleon simply being a vessel, not her own character. Tai Lung represented the idea of pride going too far, Shen a mirror of what Po could have been, and Kai represented narcissism and control. Chameleon resembles broken dreams turned into anger, but this is barely touched upon besides a few lines of dialogue from her. More runtime would have allowed for Chameleon to be more than a harbinger of old enemies. 

Ultimately, while it did keep that same Kung Fu Panda fun and excitement, too much had to be completed in an hour and a half. As a whole, “Kung Fu Panda 4” receives a 6 out of 10.

Kosta Sakas

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About the Contributor
Kosta Sakas, Tom Tom Staff
Kosta Sakas is a senior and this is his second year on staff. He is Drum Major of the Marching Sequoits, a part of Orpheus Greek Dance Troupe and can frequently be found eating breakfast bars while listening to Childish Gambino.
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