Film scores

Soundtrack review; Kung Fu Panda 3 (Hans Zimmer – 2016)

Album Artwork

“Kung Fu Panda 3” is an upcoming 3D American-Chinese computer-animated action comedy martial arts film and the latest instalment in one of the most successful animation franchises ever. The film features the voices of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, James Hong, Bryan Cranston, Kate Hudson, and J. K. Simmons. Continuing his “legendary adventures of awesomeness”, Po must face two hugely epic, but different threats: one supernatural and the other a little closer to his home. After co composing the first two scores with John Powell, Hans Zimmer goes solo on this one. I’m very excited because a solo score by Hans Zimmer has become a rare thing these days.

I loved the first two scores more than other animation albums. I remember why from the first seconds of “Kung Fu Panda 3” when “Oogway’s legacy” explodes like a flower opening up in front of us with a melody so tender and beautiful and I want to hug it and cradle it in my arms. Lang Lang and his piano add to the magic of this cue. But don’t let this sweet start fool you… It’s time for a different kind of explosion once Hans Zimmer starts running free. It’s not very often that the music gets so adventurous and fun that it actually substitutes the experience of watching the movie. The music creates images for me and makes me feel all the emotions of the story. Hans Zimmer’s score lives and breathes and doesn’t let go for one second; it’s fun and infectious and I don’t know whether to laugh or duck. The oriental inserts are gentle and heartwarming. They come like welcomed rain drops on a hot summer’s day.

The musical journey of “Kung Fu Panda 3” won’t appeal just to the fans of the franchise or of Hans Zimmer; this score is a joy and a celebration of film music. This score shows life and shows what a composer can do when he goes all in into a story. I can feel care and attention in every cue; I feel a bit of Hans’ soul in every piece of music. The notes were nothing before he came and just gave them life. I’ve used this word a lot because it’s the one that best describes this beautiful score. Every second of this composition has meaning and, more important, evert second makes me feel something. I go through the whole range of emotions the characters go through because of the music and this is what film music should be about.

Do not miss this wonderful love letter to film music fans.

 

Cue rating: 94 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 40 / 59

Album excellence: 67%

Highlights:

Oogway’s Legacy

Hungry For Lunch

A New Father

The Hall Of Heroes

The Legend Of Kai

The Panda Village

How To Be A Panda

Portrait Of Mom

Po Belongs

Two Fathers

The Battle Of Legends

The Spirit Realm

The Dragon Warrior

Father And Son

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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