Kind of interesting.
[Wiki here](The Monkey King (film))
Jet Li played the Monkey King in Forbidden Kingdom, a movie I very much enjoy. I wonder if this came about because of that film (which also starred Jackie Chan).
Although DAYUM! That trailer looks bad!
That was dire. Jet Li must be very glad he’s not in that pile of shit.
From the Broadway producers that brought you CATS…
It’s for pre-schoolers, right?
And the costume designers that brought you The Cowardly Lion (which is pretty impressive, if you think about it).
I LOVED the dubbed Japanese Monkey show as a kid, and I see a lot of homage to it here. In fact, I am seriously considering pulling the trigger and paying the $80 for the region 2 DVD set currently in my amazon cart. Cult hit in Australia, during my formative years.
It looks like it’s not for Westerners at all.
Is this some sort of beloved folk tale character finally brought to the big screen? I’ve often thought that non-Western folk tales would make good fodder for Western movies and TV shows, but isn’t quite what I had in mind.
Seriously, this is meant for children, isn’t it? Maybe not preschool age, but *The Never Ending Story *age at most, I hope.
Wasn’t there a western version of Journey to the West in the works? I seem to recall talk of Neil Gaiman doing the screen play and del Toro directing, but I’m not sure how much of that was and actual project versus someones wishful thinking.
I wouldn’t say “finally” brought to the big screen. Sun Wukong the Monkey King is one of those “tale as old as time” (well… late 16th century) characters from Journey to the West. Saying this is him “finally” being brought to the screen is like saying the series Merlin finally brought the great folkloric wizard Merlin to TV.
Sun Wukong has been in tons of things, and references to him are abound in things where he doesn’t technically appear. For instance, in the Dragonball series Son Goku is the Japanese name for Sun Wukong, and Son Goku… er… turns into a giant monkey on the full moon (and has the same infinitely extending polearm weapon that Sun Wukong has). Hell, I think Sun Wukong the Monkey King, or at least an expie of him, is in the game League of Legends.
This is just yet another movie adaptation of one of his legends, and doesn’t appear to be a very good one at that.
I really hate the use of wire work in martial arts movies these days. Fight scenes in the chop-socky movies have always been kinda hokey, but you can see the basis of the skills the actors have in order to pull off the moves. With wire work, meh.
If you have an iPhone/iPad, go to the books section of the iTunes store and look for “The Monkey King” by Alan Shepard, which I believe is free. That gives you a good overview of who and what The Monkey King is.
The Monkey King character is certainly popular with children, but given the budget and cast of the film as detailed in the OP, I’m guessing the filmmakers are hoping to appeal to a general audience in addition to kids.
I think it’s important for Westerners to understand that this is a character with a five-century-long tradition of pop-cultural representation with which Chinese audiences will be familiar, so things that seem ridiculous to us might make sense within that tradition.
I’m having trouble thinking of a perfect analogue within Western culture, but I guess the recent Spider-man and Superman movies are somewhat similar. Imagine if someone who had no exposure to American comic book superheroes was presented with the fact that American adults will wait in line in the middle of the night to watch a movie about grown men dressed up in brightly-colored spandex prancing about Manhattan. It would seem kind of weird, right? But it makes sense to us, because the tropes and aesthetics of the superhero genre are well-entrenched within our culture, and these are beloved characters that we grew up with.
This movie would have a similar appeal to Chinese audiences. The source text, Journey to the West is one of the classics of Chinese literature and has been inspiring adaptations in various media for hundreds of years, including several popular television shows over the last few decades.
Now, that said, I don’t know anything about this particular movie, and Chinese audiences may well judge it to be terrible. But even an excellent adaptation of the story is going to feature a Monkey King with a similar appearance and mannerisms to those seen in the trailer.
That’s no excuse for bad SFX, bad costumes, and bad acting.
Like I said, try Forbidden Kingdom. Jet Li does a good job as The Monkey King.
Video link to first fight between Monkey King and the Jade Warlord.
One thing I’ve never understood about fight scenes with the Monkey King is why his staff doesn’t absolutely wreck everything it touches. The damned thing is supposed to weigh over 8 tons. I guess it kind of makes sense with the Jade Emporer since he’s sort of a god, but still. (And to be fair, Mjolnir from the Thor movies tends to cause the same problem sometimes).
ETA: And to be perfectly fair, it doesn’t wreck everything in the source material either. I don’t think I’m allowed to nitpick Journey to the West.