Janet W., Here…
Monkeys, Tina Fey, and a series of calamitous frolicking couldn’t be anything, but a delightful time. Disneynature’s Monkey Kingdom follows Maya, a lowborn female monkey, through her journey to challenge the caste system. The highborn, The Sisterhood (Queens), three female monkeys with red splattered faces, is given the best food, lodging, grooming, obedience, and fear. Slightly lower than The Queens is Raja, the highest born alpha male monkey. Far underneath The Queens and Raja and still other levels of lieutenants and random monkeys is sweet Maya. Like any human would, Maya endeavors to make a better life for herself and was fearless in her pursuit of it.
You will fall in love with Maya and her world, endless comparisons between the simian and human civilization. As I watched, I saw teenage clichés and pissing contests. Apparently, no matter the species, cruelty, elitism, and the undying need for freedom exists. Many different animals share the big screen with the monkeys: a sly mongoose, lovable bears, vividly colored peacocks, adorable elephants, and many others. Every peak into the animal kingdom has to have a villain; our tale has two, the monitor lizard and an ugly monkey named Lex. Like Lex Luthor of the Superman story, Lex the monkey is sneaky and loves to take what is not his.
The score was perfectly planned in time with the circumstances of Maya and her comrades. I still giggle at the memory of the entrance of Kumar to the tune of En Vogue’s “Whatta Man.” The score is comprised of other popular songs as well as classical melodies. Also in prime timing is the narration of famed comedian, Tina Fey. When faced with the unknown visage of a dog, the monkeys kid around and Fey says, “Dude, what are you?” (This caused an open mouth laugh for sure) Yet still another point of praise for Monkey Kingdom is the artful use of extreme close-ups, time-lapse photography, and tilted framing that sucks the viewer directly into the jungles of South Asia. The views of the world were exquisite.
Disneynature’s Monkey Kingdom is full of wonder and beauty as much as it is truth and triumph. Much can be learned about the monkeys and their world. This is a lesson fit for the whole family. Filled with endearing baby animals of many kinds, adults to toddlers will definitely enjoy this film. The cinematographers captured the very spirit of each animal in grand honesty. Be sure to stay to the end and see such hilarity of “monkeys meet the crew.” Well done, Disney, well done.
4 out of 5 Stars
Janet L. White