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Monkey Kingdom Educates and Entertains

Disney Nature Monkey KingdomCelebrate Earth Day by watching Monkey Kingdom, the newest movie from Disneynature where every ticket sold during opening week benefits monkeys and their habitat.

Tina Fey narrates Monkey Kingdom and tells a story adults and children can relate to that includes both humorous and touching moments where monkeys feel almost human.

Monkeys walking up wall in Sri Lanka

Set among the ancient ruins of South Asia jungles, where lush trees and Buddha statues remain from the royalty that used to rule Sri Lanka is home to over a thousand monkeys who reign at Castle Rock.

The entire movie revolves around Maya, a young monkey whose distinctive blond bob and her attitude makes her very recognizable. Her lowly rank on the fig tree makes it easy to relate to her situation since she is just like one of us.

Monkeys hanging in a tree

Rank is important to the toque macaques and only the alpha male is at the top of the fig tree. Raja is the alpha male who is in charge of the entire group. Three female monkeys with bright red faces make up the Sisterhood who also join Raja at the top of the fig tree, along with their babies. Any food they want is theirs and they are the only ones allowed to discipline any of the babies, whether or not they are their own or belong to the lowly members of the group.

Kip snuggled in his mother's arms

When Kumar arrives as a newcomer, Maya instantly recognizes his potential to make her life better. Raja is jealous and drives him away but leaves Maya’s life permanently altered. Maya is resourceful finding food, but it is when she becomes a single mother and must feed her newborn son, Kip, all on her own that she really becomes resourceful. Thankfully she is smart.

A group of monkeys invade Castle Rock and their struggle ends up overtaking Raja as the alpha male, pushing their group further into the forest. As they struggle for food, they end up in a nearby town where the elite monkeys have no idea how to survive and must rely upon the lower ranking monkeys to help. Adults and kids will laugh watching the monkeys steal eggs from a chicken coop and cause mischief in the kitchen as they steal a birthday cake. At least they had the decency to say “Happy birthday, Kid.” before fleeing in an unsuccessful attempt to be unnoticed.

Monkey Kingdom

The directors did an amazing job giving the monkeys human traits, making them feel like we are peering into our own family members. Grandpa is even included, providing humorous moments of activity or inactivity.

Film makers spent over three years and nearly 1,000 days filming in the forest alongside the monkeys, managing to get up close and personal with their facial expressions and vocals too that give us a very intimate feeling.

The most amazing images shown during the movie are when the termites emerge. They only emerge for one day a year and watching all the monkeys catch the termites in flight was an awesome sight. Even scorpions get in on the action by grabbing termites and piling them on their back for a later meal. The sweetest scene involved baby Kip learning to catch his own termites.

Monkeys huddled together during the monsoon rains

Other animals featured in the movie are a mischievous mongoose, simple-minded langur monkeys, predatory leopards, elephants and monitor lizards.

Movies are designed to either entertain or educate. Monkey Kingdom accomplishes both in humorous ways that teach you more about monkey behavior than known before by watching them in their natural habitat on both land and water.

Parental Advisory: (Spoiler Alert)

Monkey Kingdom is rated G and is a movie for the entire family. The activity of the monkeys will hold event the smallest child’s attention. There are periods of suspense where a lizard attacks a monkey in the water and kills it. Two groups of monkeys fighting each other to be the alpha male of Castle Rock is intense with here is also a monkey killed when the two groups fight each other. Maya and Kumar have a baby but is tastefully done and does not bring up any questions by younger children. There are many scenes of mothers nursing their babies.

Perhaps the most moving moments of the film are before it even opens with Disneynature showing what they have done with money raised during opening week of their previous films. So many animals and much of their habitat benefited directly from your willingness to support nature by going to the box office opening week. This year continues their movement to make a positive impact on the future of monkeys and their habitat. Your help is vital.


Through donations tied to opening-week attendance for all five films, Disneynature, through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, has planted three million trees in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, established 40,000 acres of marine protected area in The Bahamas, protected 65,000 acres of savanna in Kenya, protected nearly 130,000 acres of wild chimpanzee habitat, cared for chimpanzees, educated 60,000 school children about chimpanzee conservation and funded research and restoration grants in U.S. National Parks, supporting conservation projects across U.S. National Parks and protecting endangered species.

See Monkey Kingdom opening week (April 17 – 23) and Disneynature will make a donation in your honor to protect monkeys and other endangered species in their natural habitats. Programs across Indonesia, Camboia, and Sri Lanka will be supported.
Conservation International will:

  1. Protect monkeys and other endangered species
  2. Save and restore forest habitats
  3. Partner with and support local communities

Further activities in Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Indonesia will include researching, rescuing and rehabilitating monkeys, patrolling protected areas which serve as important habitats for monkeys and other species, planting trees and supporting community education and forest-friendly jobs.


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[quote]Life is an adventure for Maya, the clever and resourceful blonde-bobbed monkey in “Monkey Kingdom,” Disneynature’s new feature film set among ancient ruins in the storied jungles of South Asia. Maya’s world is forever changed when she welcomes her son, Kip, into her complicated extended family. Like all families, Maya’s has more than its share of colorful personalities—and she’s determined to give her son a leg up in the world. When their longtime home at Castle Rock is taken over by powerful neighboring monkeys, Maya’s whole family retreats, and she uses her street smarts and ingenuity to uncover untapped resources amidst strange new creatures and unsettling surroundings. Ultimately, they will all have to work together to reclaim Castle Rock, where Maya can hopefully realize her dreams for her son’s future.[/quote]

Monkey Kingdom is rated G.

    • Release Date: April 17, 2015
    • Running Time:
    • Rating: G
    • Narrator: Tina Fey
    • Director: Mark Linfield
    • Assistant Co-Director: Alastair Fothergill
    • Producers: Mark Linfield, Alastair Fothergill
    • Composer Harry Gregson-Williams
    • Director of Photography: Martyn Colbeck, Gavin Thurston
    • Disneynature Producer: Kristina Reed
    • Disneynature Ambassadors: Jane Goodall, Dr. M. Sanjayan

Images courtesy Walt Disney Studios. Used with permission.

Media tickets to an advanced screening were provided to facilitate the Monkey Kingdom movie review.

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Wendy Wright

Head Geek at Plugged In Family often found at Comicon, Disneyland, or online increasing her gamer score on Xbox. As a member of the 501st Legion, Wendy spreads her love of Star Wars across the Galaxy in her handmade Jawa costume volunteering for charities with her husband and two sons.

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