Friday, February 12, 2016

The allure of the Spirit World and of other worlds: Kung fu Panda 3 (2016)

Where do I begin? How do I describe the picturesque beauty of this fantastic movie? Shall I describe the green skies and golden clouds touching tall mountains, and the elaborately, intricately carved Jade Palace set at the  top of those seemingly endless steps, or the blue-leaved trees along the way to Po's ancestral village,   the secret green green Panda village nestled in that valley past the tall frozen waterfall, where in the evening, red lanterns glimmer and in the day, baby pandas roll down green hills, and around with huge butterfly kites ...Maybe I should  swoon over the detailed depiction of the colorful interiors of the homes, the weaves of the rugs, the stacks of porcelain bowls, the pots filled with dumplings.  or shall I sing songs of praise for the golden shiny Spirit Realm where Oogway resides now, a fabulous place which you reach riding a swirling pool of pink petals, and where the chubby panda Po becomes the true Dragon  Warrior - flaming - literally in a translucent fiery dragon form, trailing a golden silk cape behind him, enjoying it all, so proud and happy that we tear up. I had loved the first two movies in this series ,and I was waiting for this one - did not disappoint me at all. I am reminded of that other movie with its cozy little farm  in that lush green valley, where a bright little pig named Babe lived with his farmer friend. Another movie that enchants.

And then there is Kai - the villain. The one who steals the "chi" of all the great Kung fu masters. Like a psychopathic vehicle of the god of Death,  a bully bull on steroids, he saunters along, swinging metal chains in each muscular hands to the beat of his special music. The Dragon Master is the only one who can subdue him, send him back to the Spirit World. And only once he himself learns the art of giving "chi". A lot of, maybe cliche'd wisdom is strewn around the whole narrative - like those annoying posts on twitter and facebook and whatnot - the boring declarations of the very obvious, but here, I didn't mind at all. Stating the obvious becomes an art in here! for they all fit the story line perfectly. For instance, "The more you take, the less you have". "You cannot be anything unless you try doing something you don not know". 'Know who you are" - and "you are not just one thing - you are a mix of many, and so being you, and your best selves, will make it all work." And of course the way it all works out in the end - the selfless act of Po, his sacrifice for his friends, and the courage and support of his friends in turn. Many lessons are given and learned all along as Po finds his true self - as in "I knew it! I haven't eaten to my full potential!"

 But what made me smile happily was when I heard the old teacher in the Spirit World, perched up among the blossoms of his tree, answers  Po's question as to whether he can go back to the mortal world, with a smile - "Who knows! I never tried!" Obviously he doesn't want to! What a wonderful, hopeful option of a life after death! To me the writers are incredibly clever - able to create such endearing, splendid characters as these warriors and their relatives and friends - among whom is one Mei mei the champion ribbon dancer who cannot be accused of being a humble wall flower! And the two dads of the hero, and the ducks and the rabbits and the intrepid pig who produces instant portraits under any conditions, and the rope bridges that connect tall peaks over cool rivers and the greens and the blues, and the golds, and the pinks......The warmth and the cold, the fire and the snow. It all comes together to give us a spectacular, grand experience. The "chi" flows - flowers bloom, magic happens, all's well with the world! I am sure even the hardened grown up would sit there with wonder-filled eyes  and a happy smile.

1 comment:

  1. Over 30 years ago I was told I could have a god of my own understanding. I was raised in church, but had never prayed. Today, I call my God the buzz. If I am buzzing at the right wave length I am OK. Its praying/meditating to stay at the right wave length so I am in harmony with the world.