Disneynature has released its sixth Earth Day feature film this time based on one of my favorite species, monkey’s! MONKEY KINGDOM follows a pack of Macaques struggling with social structures. We have Raja the king trying to keep his kingdom away from outside distractions, including humans, and Maya who struggles being a lower class monkey. Like most of the Disneynature films, this tries to tell us a story, and in some cases it does, some it misses the mark, but it is overall visually stunning.
This film shows the uniques social structure of monkey’s. Unlike something I never seen before. We follow Maya who is a bottom feeder in a sense, never being able to get to the higher branches, waiting for food to drop or the upper class monkey’s go off for another interesting item. Everything changes for the kingdom when a monkey named Kumal has his eyes for lower class Maya. And when a neighboring tribe takes over the rock, Maya, Raja, Kumal and the rest of the tribe have to learn to live in the urban jungle.
Some of the most fascinating footage was seeing the monkey’s actually swim to get their food. This was truly spectacular as they glided through the water. The documentary also shows the macaques interacting with the other animals in the jungle. Some with success and unfortunately like nature, the death of some of their friends.
The film is narrated by Tina Fey and she does a great job. She goes back and forth between straight dialog to her improvising some interaction, especially with the “grandpa” monkey and the baby Kip. I would love to see her do another Disneynature film, I think she is the perfect fit for these documentaries.
Overall, I thought this one of the more forced story lines but it definitely does a great job in giving us examples to younger children what social class is. The footage is beautiful and the story is cute, and I love that these film try to educate without being boring. I highly suggest that any animal lover or nature lover go see Disneynature’s MONKEY KINGDOM, and go the first week so you can help give back to the jungle where these beautiful Macaques come from.