So everybody was pretty tired of the Kung Fu Panda series two thirds of the way through the first movie, but it’s a kid’s movie, so that doesn’t matter. It still got its own TV series, three shorts and counting, a sequel and, somehow, its own World of Warcraft expansion, and now it’s getting a second sequel because that’s just what kid’s movies do.
So the announcement says this one is about fatherhood, and — oh, no. No, no no. Po Ping (Jack Black) is going to become a father? We’re not going to have a Kung Fu Panda sex scene, are we? The franchise is seven years old at this point, do they think it’s time to talk about the birds and the pandas? No. That’s impossible. Pandas are going extinct because they won’t breed, are we really going to have a movie in which the one voiced by Jack Black gets laid?
The trailer quickly quells this fear when it reveals that Ping will not be a father — he will instead have one for the first time. The trailer’s dull narration gives way to a 40 second scene in which he meets his father, the two acknowledge that they lost each other, and neither makes the connection. It’s a ballsy, effective move for a lot of reasons — children’s movies are typically edited to death because Hollywood thinks they can’t pay attention, so for a trailer aimed at this same audience to stop and devote half its run time to a slow-burning scene like this is a gutsy play. It’s made even more jarring by the fact that the first half is edited in the look-how-many-shots-we-can-stuff-into-every-second manner one would expect. The scene itself shows the perfect amount of restraint in terms of not letting the pause get monotonous and not overplaying the punch line.
It’s definitely not a movie I’m looking forward to, but the skill displayed in this trailer… wait… what’s that? In the credits list, at 1:45? Does that say… Bryan Cranston?
Kung Fu Panda 3 will release Jan. 29.