As a homeschooling family, we view a lot of documentaries. NDK enjoys them, but sometimes, they can be a little too slow for her. Who am I kidding? Even I have nodded off in a few scenes. When we finally saw our first Disneynature film, Chimpanzee, we were hooked! We loved the story behind the animals and the personal relationship you felt with these creatures after you watched the film. Disneynature films provide us with the unique opportunity to learn about nature in a way that only Disney can tell the story! When we were invited to a special screening of Monkey Kingdom, we were beyond thrilled and could not wait. This movie is based on a strong female monkey, and who better to narrate a strong female led story than Tina Fey.
The Setting – Sri Lanka
Monkey Kingdom follows a troop of macaque monkeys in Sri Lanka. The setting, the ruins of an ancient city in Southeast Asia, is absolutely breathtaking. The up-close, intimate scenes of these monkeys’ home life are just beautiful.
Meeting the Troop
If you have not experienced a Disneynature film, every creature has a name. They are identified, personalities noted, and they all have a part in the story to tell. It’s a true “reality” movie. We are quickly introduced to the stars of Monkey Kingdom, and meet our heroine, Maya, a “low-born” macaque monkey.
Being a “low-born,” Maya must work hard and rise above the obstacles that face her. Without spoilers, this is one hard working momma! Other stars in this film, Kip, the “sisterhood,” Raja, Kumar and Grandpa, all have their own roles, which are very relatable to the human world as well. You will see as you watch how closely their lives parallel ours.
Spoiler: These are monkeys, and they do live in a jungle. They have predators and rivals. While there are two death scenes in this film, they are very discreet. You are not shown the actual “scene,” but there are glimpses of the aftermath. This is real life for the monkeys. While these situations are sad, they are reminders that the movie is not scripted.
Every good movie has a take-away, right? This film is no exception. Besides the educational aspect “Monkey Kingdom” offers, this film is a humbling reminder that we are all so very much alike. A hard working mom is a hard working mom. It doesn’t matter if she is single or partnered. She can live in a jungle or in a beautiful home. We all have struggles and must remain strong and focused to overcome them. We all get our “Cinderella” moment eventually!
NDK really enjoyed this movie, too. You can read her review, but be aware that there are a few spoilers. What I found most interesting (as she sat down to recall her favorite parts of the movie and why or why not she liked it) was that she did not mention anything of the two death scenes, or the struggle that faced Maya and Kip. She only focused on the positive aspects of this film. Being 7 years old does have its advantages!
Be sure to stay through the end credits. While there is nothing special at the end, you are given a glimpse into how this movie was filmed! I hope that there is more of this when the Blu-Ray/DVD is released. Sometimes, the behind-the-scenes can be just as good as the movie!
NDK Review: I like Monkey Kingdom. When the monkeys went into the village and stole food, it was different. Every other Disneynature movie I have seen did not have people in it, just animals. I really liked the girl narrator, too. She made me laugh. The monkeys were funny. When Kumar came into the movie, the girl monkeys went crazy. The bad monkeys that started the fight on Castle Rock were funny looking. The monkeys were a lot like people. The monkey babies have big heads, but they are so cute. I want to learn more about macaque monkeys. I think everyone should see this movie. Especially if you like monkeys!
Want to learn more?
Want to learn more about macaque monkeys? Disneynature has released these wonderful Family Activity Packet that you can download and use! There is a lot of great information about the toque macaque monkey and the setting used in this film! Be sure to check it out:
Want to help?
For every ticket sold opening week (April 17-23, 2015), Disneynature will make a donation to Conservation International to help protect monkeys and other endangered species in their natural habitats.
For more information about The Walt Disney Company’s commitment to conserve nature, visithttp://thewaltdisneycompany.com/citizenship/environmental-stewardship.
Disclosure: NDK & I were invited to a special screening of Monkey Kingdom in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are our own.