Original Music By: Hans Zimmer
Label: Sony Classical
The Kung-fu Panda series has always featured a tinge of deep sadness running through the action-packed, hilarious story lines, and I believe this is the reason for its enduring appeal to audiences both young and old.
In this film, Po, the main character and eponymous kung-fu Panda, meets his biological father and travels to a Panda sanctuary where among other things he encounters his childhood betrothed, Mei-Mei, and ends up trying to save the day by teaching clumsy pandas how to fight in order to overcome an evil spirit named Kai.
The sound track to this 3rd and latest incarnation of this franchise certainly delivers to great effect for the story. It kicks off with "Oogway's Legacy" a most heart-wrenchingly beautiful rendition of the Kung-fu theme which is performed by master pianist, Lang-lang. Words fail me so I urge you to listen and judge for yourself.
The rest of the score suffers somewhat from such an amazing start, because none of the others can quite match up to this one track. However, that's not to say the remaining tracks are below par - if anything they are all well-executed, purpose built pieces of music, composed by that veritable living-legend of film score composers, Hans Zimmer. His work is delectable in the way it weaves traditional Chinese musical instruments and phrases through a classically westernized score. No complaints whatsoever. Tracks such as: "The Panda Village" and "Portrait of Mom" are wondrous and haunting respectively.
Finally, the soundtrack also featured tracks composed by Carl Douglas, (with the classic "Kung-fu Fighting" song), and Patrick Brasca, (with an uplifting, self-affirming song, "Try"). All other tracks were composed by the maestro himself in a rare solo outing. Overall, I thought it was a nice little soundtrack for a much loved franchise which supports the film in the best possible way.