The New Adventures of Monkey

posted 11 May 2018, 14:07 by Paul Woodward

Genre: Fantasy

Stars: Chai Hansen / Luciane Buchanan / Josh Thomson / Emilie Cocquerel

Certificate: 12

Year: 2018

Loosely based on the seventies Japanese show ‘Monkey’ and the Chinese myth / folk tale of The Monkey King. This Australian / New Zealand take on the tale is aimed at a younger audience, even though it has a 12 certificate – which is probably down to the amount of fight scenes but it is very tame, so think along the lines of the Power Rangers violence wise.

It’s very bright and colourful with larger than life characters and everyone is told to overact to the max! Kids will thoroughly enjoy this show; the flamboyant characters and action will definitely have them engrossed in the flow of the story. Adults can still appreciate it though, it’s the sort of thing you’d watch with your kids and enjoy yourself at the same time. I enjoyed it but given the audience its aimed at it does lacks the depth I need to be totally wowed by it.

The special effects whilst colourful aren’t the best, but effective and kids won’t notice. The acting is over the top, but that’s exactly what the show wanted – it has comedic moments but its not a comedy per se, more of an action adventure for kids.

I only have vague memories of the original, so can’t compare the two or point out any differences. I think the best way to approach the show is to think of it as an original. It basically centres around monk Tripitaka – who we discover at the beginning is actually a girl who takes up the moniker in order to free Monkey, a god who’d been trapped in a mountain as a punishment. Following the exile of Monkey, the land was overtaken and ruled by demons – the prophecy states the return of Monkey will see the demons defeated and peace returned to the land.

Once Monkey is freed and a couple of warriors join the party – Pigsy and Sandy – They set off to find the seven sacred scrolls that had been hidden all over the world to prevent the demons learning their powers and secrets. Its sets up the season long plot to be a journey – the show doesn’t play out like that though. It’s more about the Demon – Davari trying to get a scroll he’s already found translated.

It’s enjoyable nonsense, with likeable protagonists and dislikeable caricature villains. The show has a nice pace and develops the characters, dealing with some quite thoughtful material along the way. The show steps away from its ‘China’ based setting of the original and the folk tale and is instead set in a Fantastical land which is exaggerated by the colourful effects and sets.

My favourite character is without doubt Sandy, the ethereal, naive and loyal god who has quite a tragic and lonely back story who has spent a long time hiding from the world. Emilie Cocquerel brings a fragility to the warrior who also can kick some ass, but she is a wonderful character to follow. The more comical Pigsy will probably appeal more to kids, but Cocquerel has the more intriguing character and her delivery brings out her personality easily and often times subtly.

Worth a look, just don’t be expecting to be blown away and take note it’s target audience before been overly critical of certain aspects of the show!

7/10

Review by Woody

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