THERE are two types of animation in children’s cinema. There are the 'toons that seek to push boundaries, plunder emotional depths and achieve cross-generational appeal. That’s your Pixar variety. Think Up, Inside Out or WALL-E.

Then there are the easy-on-the-eye, sugar rush offerings. Ninety minute colour dumps, designed to play as long as it takes a child to finish a bucket of popcorn. Films like Minions, Madagascar and The Super Mario Bros. Movie, more likely to appear in a Happy Meal than on rankings of the best films of the year.

There’s never been any question of which category the Kung Fu Panda films fall into.

Eight Easters have come and gone since Kung Fu Panda 3 skadooshed screens across the globe. Even so, you’d be hard pressed to call the return of Po long-awaited. Bear in mind, for a moment, that the children who flocked to his first outing, back in 2008, are now mums and dads in their own right. Time flies.

If much has changed in the real world since film three, little has changed on screen. Kung Fu Panda 4 is familiar fun. As ever, our gluttonous hero must overcome lethargy in a bid to defeat a new force of evil threatening world domination.

Eight years away has done little to diminish the enthusiasm of Jack Black, who sounds to enjoy every minute of his return to Po. Dustin Hoffman, James Hong and Bryan Cranston, too, are back, as Po’s Kung Fu master, and fathers, adoptive and biological.

It is, however, a streamlined ensemble that cuts the Furious Five - formerly voiced by the likes of Angelina Jolie and Jackie Chan - to silent cameos. They’re cheaper that way.

In their stead enters the ubiquitous Awkwafia, who voices a fox of dubious intent but boundless entertainment. It is she who accompanies Po on his mission to seek the new Dragon Master but perhaps his successor is closer than he thinks?

As for Po, his destiny lies in the Valley of Peace and as a Spiritual Leader. That’s not to say this is his journey’s end, of course. At least two more sequels are on the cards at DreamWorks, assuming the audience remains.

With success already achieved in America and China, at least one more is now beyond question. It’s not fine art but it’s good fun.