Disneynature’s Monkey Kingdom
As part of the LA Avengers Event trip I was invited to attend last week, I was lucky enough to see Disneynature’s Monkey Kingdom. I wanted to share my thoughts on the movie with you and I want to encourage you to take your entire family to see the movie during opening week (read on to learn why!).
Disneynature was created in April 2008, just 7 years ago. Its mission is to bring the world’s top nature filmmakers together to share a variety of stories on the big screen that will engage, inspire and educate audiences across the world. Monkey Kingdom is Disneynature’s sixth film, following “Earth,” “Oceans,” “African Cats,” “Chimpanzee,” and “Bears”. These first five films are five of the top six highest overall grossing feature-length nature films to date, with “Chimpanzee” garnering a record-breaking opening weekend for the genre.
Disneynature is committed to conservation and this is a key pillar of their label. Through donations that are tied to opening week attendance (see why I wanted YOU to watch Monkey Kingdom THIS week!) Disneynature has made numerous, large contributions, through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, that have benefited many conservation efforts in the USA and throughout the world.
About Monkey Kingdom
Monkey Kingdom was filmed over the course of three years on the South Asian island of Sri Lanka and tells the story of Maya, a macaque monkey, and her extended family. This group of macaque monkeys live in the ruins of a grand city that ruled Sri Lanka a thousand years ago and now Maya’s extended family of macaque monkeys call it home. This location is called Castle Rock.
The story is based on the family/social dynamic of this group of monkeys and how they survive day to day. The main characters are Maya, Kumar, Raja, The Sisterhood, Kip – the son of Maya and Kumar, and let’s not forget Grandpa.
Monkey Kingdom does an effective job of explaining how, in this group of macaque monkeys there is a very strong societal structure and everyone knows where they belong and what they can and cannot do, what they can and cannot eat, where they can and cannot sleep, and the list goes on. I immediately related this structure and the well determined roles of each member of the group to human life, and how individuals have their roles within society. Some are deemed higher and therefore believed more important and entitled to more.
In Monkey Kingdom Raja is the leader of this group of macaque monkeys and runs a very tight ship. He is has the complete allegiance of these monkeys and they all revere him in his role as leader.
The story starts out with Maya, before Kumar joins their group and makes her a mother. As the film progresses we are shown the different seasons as they pass through Sri Lanka and how they impact the macaque monkeys, especially how monsoon season impacts their lives. It also introduces us to a cast of other characters that share Castle Rock and it’s surroundings with Maya and her family, like the mongoose and the sloth bears. However, it also introduces us to the monitor lizards and leopards who are a very real threat to the macaque monkeys.
When a rival group, lead by Lex – who’s face bares testament to the hard battles he has fought, and his troop of macaque monkeys, impose on, and ultimately win over Castle Rock, Maya and her family are forced to find other ‘housing’ and are driven into the local village. While here they get food from the market and work on building up their energy to be able to win back Castle Rock. When they mount their counter attack on Lex and his group they are now lead by Kumar who has stepped in to take over as Raja let his group down by losing Castle Rock.
Mark Linfield, the director of Monkey Kingdom, explains that filming a movie like this takes a lot of time and patience. Many members of the crew spent over 300 days on location. Director of photography, Martyn Colbeck, describes that there were times of extreme frustration dealing with lighting problems and other issues that come with filming monkeys in their natural habitat.
Monkey Kingdom is narrated by Tina Fey. From the opening scene you are instantly drawn in, she does a fantastic job of making you feel as if she is truly the voice of these monkeys. She will bring you to tears as she tells the story of Maya, the monkey on the bottom of this macaque monkey society, and she’ll bring you right back to cheer on this group as they come back to win Castle Rock, and Maya, along with Kumar, are boosted up the society ladder.
The snippet of information for Monkey Kingdom states that Maya is a new mom who is determined to give her son a leg up in the world, and I can tell you that she does that, and more for her son Kip and his future. Monkey Kingdom will make you laugh and it’ll make you cry and in the end you’ll be cheering on this group of monkeys as they win back their home and return ‘normal’ to their lives.
Now I am confident you are as excited about taking your family to see Monkey Kingdom as I am to take mine and REMEMBER – If YOU see MONKEY KINGDOM during opening week (April 17-23) Disneynature will make a donation in your honor to Conservation International to help protect monkeys and other endangered species in their natural habitats.
Conservation International will:
1) Protect monkeys and other endangered species
2) Save and restore forest habitats
3) Partner with and support local communities
I encourage you to click HERE to learn all about the wonderful work that Conservation International is doing to keep the worlds endangered species and their natural habitats safe so that our children can enjoy them too, and not only learn about them in books.
PLUS – there is another way to contribute to this worthy cause – Disney Store will donate $1 to Conservation International for every Disneynature Maya and Kip plush purchased between 3/13 and 5/14/2015, they will make a minimum donation of $2000. I am sure your kids will love these plush toys as much as Gradie does, click HERE to buy yours now.
Of course I know you will be browsing everything Monkey Kingdom online and while you’re doing so make sure you like/follow their social media outlets listed below.
- Facebook: Facebook.com/Disneynature
- Twitter: twitter.com/Disneynature
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/disneynature
- Tumblr: http://disneynature.tumblr.com