My wife and I saw Kung Fu Panda 3 last night. I was visually blown away. I've never seen a more artistically stunning effort before. That is quite a statement considering the graphical beauty of the previous two moves in the series.
While most of the film rendered realistically, in appropriate places the artwork is also stylized, even posterized, employing watercolor and cut paper effects in ways that move the work forward powerfully. And the characterizations -- powerful. Kai is in all ways the villain and the lighting, color, angle, score, and focus amplify that effect.
Most films save money and fade backgrounds to black over the final credits. In this movie the immensely long vertically screen that scrolls in background of the final credits inspires awe. The imagination and raw processing power required to produce it must have been massive -- and expensive. Why did they spend all that money and time to create that? To win awards? Perhaps. I think rather the artists could not settle for less. Their goal was to go for the monumental. In my view, they succeeded, memorably. And that throwaway section of the film kept me in my seat.
The result made me think deeply about the production value and goals I have for my artwork. Can I settle for less than this? Can I create monumental works in all I produce, no matter how inexpensive or small? Can I use their example to make greater, more-memorable images and stories that have impact for good? Can I settle for less?
The Kung Fu Panda 3 team raised my bar considerably. I thank them for it.