Last week, DreamWorks Animation planned to release the first teaser of Kung Fu Panda 3. And Kung Fu Panda fans waited in anticipation. But then, the Chinese trailer was leaked. Though we couldn’t understand Mandarin, we were in awe with how epic it was. Some fans chose to avoid the trailer to wait for the English version. Everyone still waited in anticipation for the American version. And then it came out with notable contrast in how the movie was presented. It hasn’t divided the fanbase, but this has been met with discussion.
At first, I wasn’t going to write an analysis for any teaser. I felt I had said what I wanted with my essay about Kung Fu Panda being a game changer for DreamWorks Animation. But these trailers are so different that they make this one movie look like two different movies. So I decided to analyze both trailers to see what each brings to an audience. Let’s start with the trailer from China.
Let’s begin by getting this out of the way: What does Shifu say in the trailer? So far, it’s been translated as either “The snow will fall” or “A disaster is coming.” In other words, winter is coming? He also says the world will plunge into darkness. I checked with a mandarin translator about the text. The first text says this is the first film from Oriental DreamWorks. The next one says “The way of the warrior.” That’s all I could get. Sorry folks.
When a trailer begins with the boom of a bass drum over the studio logos, you expect to see some serious shit. And this teaser doesn’t disappoint. With an epic score in the background, we get one epic image after another.
First, the teaser introduces us to the film’s villain Kai, a minotaur-like supernatural beast with the ability to absorb his opponents abilities. Think Sylar with horns.When you see him emerge through the mist, swinging a pair of chained blades, you know not to mess with this guy. In close up he bears a bit of a resemblance of Drago from How to Train Your Dragon 2. He still looks intimidating though.
It should be noted that when Kai walks in the mist, you can see statue-like figures with glowing eyes who look like Mantis and Crane. Does he turn his opponents into stone? Or can he bring statues to life? Judging by a scene of Master Shifu and the Furious Five fighting green statues, the later might be true. Kai’s voice actor JK Simmons has suggested that Kai is out for vengeance, most notably with residents of the Jade Palace.
Does anyone else notice that green seems to surround this guy? From his weapons to those fighting statues, he seems to absorb the world in green. When I noticed this, I came to appreciate how the first two movies use color to further tell the stories. Whenever a villain appears on screen, they surround their environment in a particular color. In the first movie, Tai Lung (Ian McShane) surrounds his world in dark colours, especially blue. In the second movie, Lord Shen (Gary Oldman) consumes his world in red. And now in the third movie, the color of choice is green. In contrast, the Po and the Furious five is always surrounded by golden yellow. Notice that whenever Po enters a fight, the door’s usually light with yellow. This makes me further admire the filmmaker’s ability to further tell the story with light and color.
The teaser also seems to suggest Po’s journey will focus on the spiritual side of Kung Fu. In one scene, we see Po on a boat with a mysterious figure. The whole world is a golden yellow, with flower petals floating in the air. And then the figure and Po begin to float. This is clearly the spiritual world and that figure is obviously Master Oogway. It’s already been confirmed that Randall Duk-Kim will be reprising his role of the late wise tortoise. And he is sure to bring some more quotable words of wisdom. We also see the petals float around Po to form the yin yang symbol.
We are also introduced to Mei Mei, the ribbon dancing Panda arranged to marry Po. The clips don’t reveal much about her character. We do get a strange scene of Mei Mei holding onto a couple of fireworks that send her flying into the skies. I suspect she decided to start using pyrotechnics in her work but still has a few bugs to work out. If so, there’s a good chance Po will apply this in the climax.
And now we get to the final scene. It most likely takes place after Kai has defeated Shifu. To add insult to injury, Kai uses a statue of Oogway as a wrecking ball and destroys the Jade Palace. The way it is animated and edited makes it one of the most perfect endings to a teaser trailer. Every image in this scene hits you like an emotional hammer. The image of Kai tying his chains to the statue and swinging it with ease. The close up of the statue’s ironically smiling face. And it all leads to Shifu watching in horror as the statue smashes through his home, consuming it with green light.
This scene works on so many levels. First of all, it establishes Kai as a powerful and dangerous villain. This raises the stakes to a higher level. Second of all, there is the cruel irony of the peaceful Oogway being used as a tool of destruction. Which makes it all the more devastating for Shifu and the audience when the Jade Palace is destroyed.
So far this trailer has me pumped up for this movie. Now what about the American trailer? I will have to discuss that later.
 Does this fanbase have a name yet? If not, I think it should. Here are some suggestions:
-The Furious Fans
-the Dragon Warriors
I’m pretty sure someone else can come up with a better name than I did.
 Translation courtesy of this reddit link.
 The music may be from KFP composers Hans Zimmer and John Powell. I can’t say for sure.