I took one of my favorite monkeys to see Disneynature’s “Monkey Kingdom” last week. ?Seth (age 8) and I had a wonderful mother-son outing.
He was excited to learn about the?macaque monkey troop that was front and center of this film.
I was excited to spend some one-on-one time with this cool little dude.
My first impression of the film was a very good one: ?Tina Fey narrated the story. ?Doesn’t everyone love Tina Fey? (raises hand)!
The soundtrack only added to my positive first impression: you can’t go wrong when “Hey, Hey, We’re the Monkeys” fills the theater!
But what really grabbed me was?the sheer beauty of this film. ?I imagine it took a small army of photographers and cameras to capture the stunning action and environment.
The jungle is striking and it’s clear to see why this troop made Castle Rock?and the?Monkey Kingdom their home.
You can also understand why others would want to take it over for their own. ?(psst…that’s a little foreshadowing for you.)
After a brief introduction to the troop, we meet Maya,the heroine of the story.
This lady was born at the bottom of the?macaque hierarchy and it’s clear that those in charge expect her to remain there.
She’s spunky and resourceful because she has no choice: she’s a new mom and must do whatever it takes to keep her son, Kip, alive and well.
I couldn’t help but think of the things I would do for my own children.
Maya, tail and all, was relatable to all moms who just want the best for their babies.
Maya’s?issues?multiply when she?loses the support of her partner, Kumar, who is?chased out of the Kingdom. ?She’s left to scrounge and care for Kip on her own. ?Single mothers everywhere understand: the struggle is real.
We witness her cunning and bravery as she seeks nourishment and safety for her boy.
In one case she ventures to a local home and raids a birthday party seeking food. ?Monkeys really like birthday cake.
Seth found this hilarious.
Another time she heads into the lily pond to find food. ?Here we see a rare instance of monkeys swimming.
Yes, monkeys can swim. ?Who knew?
And Kip? ?Well, Kip does a lot of hanging around. ?Literally.
As a baby monkey that appears to be his job: clinging to his mom and staying close until he’s old enough to care for himself.
The key scenes of the film revolve around a poaching troop who wants to take Castle Rock as their own. ?At first the villainous troop is successful and Maya?must lead?her troop in retreat.
They venture into the urban jungle seeking alternate food and shelter. ?Here is where Maya’s skills as a survivor serve her troop well. ?They come to rely on her as a leader.
Seth thought this part was the most interesting. ?He especially loved the interaction the monkeys had with a local dog.
Eventually the monkeys recognize that the city is no place?for them.
The troop must recover their home at?Castle Rock in order to thrive.
They head back into the jungle with purpose. ?Maya and Kumar, reunited, lead the charge.
Seth and I enjoyed this movie. ?It was funny, entertaining, educational, and it was beautiful. ?There were some sad moments but overall we were satisfied with the happy ending. ?We both highly recommend it for you and your family.
If you see Maya and “Monkey Kingdom” this week (April 17-23) Disneynature will make a donation in your honor to Conservation International. ?The funds will help protect monkeys and other endangered species. ?You can learn more at?http://nature.disney.com/
Parental Alert:?A reader requested information regarding animal deaths in the film. ?Animals do get hurt via animal on animal violence. ?Younger monkeys are swatted around a bit by higher level monkeys, which may seem cruel to some viewers. ?
Additionally, there are two monkey deaths in this film. ?I felt they were both handled very carefully and sensitively. ?Both of the death scenes happen off screen,?but you are shown glimpses of the bodies. ? I would not have a problem letting my 3-year-old watch this film, but she is not particularly sensitive to death (ex: our dog passed away in December and she took it in stride).?
Images courtesy Walt Disney Studios. Used with permission.
Media tickets to an advanced screening were provided in exchange for an honest review.
Do you love?nature films? ?Will you take your family to see “Monkey Kingdom” this week?
Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)