Hans Zimmer is one of my favorite film composers, adept at scoring everything from blockbusters & critically acclaimed dramas to animated movies & video games. Like the best composers, his scores seldom call much attention to themselves, yet sound great when heard outside the context of the film. But unlike, say, John Williams or Jerry Goldsmith, Zimmer's music has no instantly identifiable qualities from film to film. His score for Rainman sounds nothing like the one for The Dark Knight. To me, that eclecticism is what makes him interesting.
Once again, he lends his talents to Kung Fu Panda 3, this time without the assistance of John Powell (who collaborated with Zimmer on the first two films). With the exception of a few forgettable songs (including yet-another version of "Kung Fu Fighting," this time by The Vamps), this CD consists primarily of Zimmer's orchestral score. A few pieces also feature renowned Chinese musicians, such as pianist Lang Lang (which are the best ones on the album). I haven't yet seen the film (it will be released at the end of January), but the track listing appears to be chronological, and you can almost get a gist of the story just from the music alone.
Overall, it's an entertaining listen. Kung Fu Panda 3 doesn't reach the heights of Zimmer's best work (The Lion King, the Dark Knight trilogy and his criminally underrated score for Crimson Tide), but works pretty well even when heard on its own. Since it sounds very much like Zimmer's score from the previous two films, fans of the franchise will likely enjoy it.
PURR...AN ENJOYABLE FILM SCORE, THOUGH THE SONGS ARE FORGETTABLE.