For my Disneynature reviews I am going to review the current film Monkey Kingdom and then go back and review the previous films, so it will be a little bit out of synch but it makes the most sense to me.
This weekend Disneynature releases Monkey Kingdom about the toque macaques (or monkeys) of Polonnaruwa Sri Lanka. The lead monkey is named Maya and is at the bottom of the monkey class divisions.
Monkey Kingdom follows the clan for entire year and has a lot of monkey eating, grooming, and sleeping. The variety of food the monkeys eat surprised me a little bit and how rigid the social structure seemed to be (if you believe the movie at least which I have no other knowledge about monkeys to say otherwise).
There is a point where they even swim to get food! Who knew that monkeys could swim! We also get glimpses of other animals both predators and friendly folks like elephants and squirrels. They even branch into human world and the big city for a stretch which is a lot of fun.
Tina Fey is the narrator and she does an okay job. I’m not normally her biggest fan but it works for the cute monkeys. Normally we expect someone with gravitas for such narration but I liked her motherly warmth for Maya’s story.
Here is the trailer to give you a better idea.
Monkey Kingdom is an engaging story that is simple enough for kids to understand and shouldn’t bore their parents. Plus it is a cute way to explain complex social orders and the way we treat those of other classes through the examples of the monkeys. It also may give kids an appreciation for the effort it really takes to do the basics of provide food and shelter. Plus, the monkeys are just so darn cute (and they do give us a ‘hey, hey, we’re the monkeys’ musical number).
Director Mark Linfield and cinematographers Martyn Colbeck and Gavin Thurston give us a lush beautiful look into the monkey habitat and the film could be appreciated on silence just for the gorgeous earth visuals.
As with all the Disneynature films Disney will donate a portion of proceeds to charitable causes. For Monkey Kingdom they will go to Conservation International.
Overall Grade- B (wasn’t anything super exciting to worthy an A but a solid effort).