My 8 year old son Creed has had a monkey obsession since he was a baby. So, when we caught the trailer for DisneyNature’s latest documentary Monkey Kingdom we knew right away we would be sitting through the film.
That’s right. I said sitting through. As in: Bored-outta-my-skull-because-I-don’t-really-care-much-one-way-or-another-about-monkeys. But you do what you gotta do as a parent. So we went and bought the tickets and the icees and the popcorn and the nachos and settled in.
And discovered within about two minutes flat that this is no ordinary documentary.
It is the type of film that catches your intrigue right away. Tina Fey narrates in a lighthearted manner and keeps you interested. The cinematography is stunning at times. Some of the shots the camera men managed to catch are incredible and the fact they spent months upon months with due diligence out in the wilderness of Sri Lanka (and a bit in a village when the monkeys get a little brazen in their naughtiness) is not lost on the viewer.
This movie actually has a story line, sharing the journey of a lowly single mom monkey who is bottom-of-the-barrel in her tribe. (There is a hierarchy, apparently, in Monkey Kingdom.)
The movie follows Maya as she fights to care for and raise her son, battle rival money tribes, defend against predator, even sneak into a childs birthday party when the goodies are left unattended. There is a love story. And blended into that is the powerful love of Maya for her son. Without giving away the ending, I will just say that Mayas determination and sheer love for her son leads her to places in her life she never imagined. A monkey rags-to-riches story if you will.
Disneynature has been giving back to our planet for 11 years now. Producing documentaries and then taking a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales and giving back to causes and organizations that help the areas where those films are filmed. Proceeds from Monkey Kingdom go to Conservation International through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to help with clean drinking water for the residents of Polonnaruwa in Sri Lanka as well as continued protection and conservation of the toque macaque monkeys and other wildlife in that area.
My consensus: Monkey Kingdom is a fabulous family film that will interest all ages and educated while also allowing you to do some good with the money you spend.