'Kung Fu Panda' returns to China

Shanghai: The third instalment of the hit Hollywood animated blockbuster 'Kung Fu Panda' premiered here, bringing Po, the black-and-white martial arts panda, back home.

Kung Fu Panda
Kung Fu Panda. Pic/Santa Banta

The premiere was held on Monday, reports Xinhua.

In contrast to the franchise's first two films, the new release is a collaboration between American animation giant DreamWorks Animation (DWA), its sister studio Oriental DreamWorks (ODW) and China Film Co Ltd.

Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DWA, told media here on Tuesday that the film features rich details about Chinese culture.

The role of the Shanghai-based ODW is significant, said Li Ruigang, chair of ODW. "It made pandas more authentic. We hope it will come across as a Chinese-style animation made to the Hollywood production standard."

Ruigang added that the Shanghai studio was engaged in every phase of the three-year production.

Focusing on themes of self-improvement and family values, "Kung Fu Panda 3" narrates the life of Po after he reunites with his biological father, Li Shan, and is taken to a secret paradise of pandas.

The new film features a panda village based on Qingcheng Mountain in southwest China's Sichuan Province, home to the giant pandas, according to director Jennifer Yuh Nelson.

Nelson said everything was inspired by the original Chinese features, including traditional paper cut-outs on the windows, moss on the roofs and paintings on the beams.

She said the production team visited a panda breeding base in Sichuan, to observe the animal, which helped them to improve upon the previous digital modelling of the pandas' fur and motions.

ODW went to great lengths to dub the film into Chinese, reanimating the characters' mouths and facial expressions when they speak Chinese with pandas altering some of the jokes to better suit the Chinese audience.

Jack Black, who voices Po, said he watched the film three times and was excited for his children to see it, too.

The new film will hit screens in China and the US on January 29. The producers have high hopes for its release in China as it will be in cinemas for the Spring Festival, the week-long Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, in February.

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