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Monday, October 12 2015 21:26

Review: DisneyNature MONKEY KINGDOM (Blu-ray)

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Disneynature's documentary films have become somewhat of an annual tradition over the past few years, a new one arriving each Spring, just in-time for Earth Day. Following the successes of AFRICAN CATS, CHIMPANZEE and BEARS (review here) comes this year's entry, MONKEY KINGDOM. Beautifully-shot (as expected) under the direction of Disneynature series vets Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield, 30 ROCK's Tina Fey provides the narration for this time around.

MONKEY KINGDOMA parenting story at its core, MONKEY KINGDOM follows Maya and her young son, Kip, as they navigate the social circles of others in their extended monkey clan, eventually finding themselves in danger and chased from their homes by the alpha monkeys of another tribe. Watching the film with small children, it's important to note that unlike BEARS, there are some strong moments of true fright, peril, and yes... even death, that are present in MONKEY KINGDOM's depiction of real life. Indeed, animals do attack (remember when the "when [blank] attacks!" was all the rage?), and in this case it's an essential part of the life cycle, and the filmmakers included it.

That said, there's a lot of whimsy here as well, and the familial aspects of MONKEY KINGDOM are the real heart of the movie - or any Disneynature film. Narrative aside, there's always a fascination (especially with kids) in watching how animals interact within their natural world - in this case, the jungles and ruins of Sri Lanka, a majestic backdrop for these Toque Macaque monkeys to live, explore, and to find adventure. 

For this Fall's home release, Disneynature has packed the Blu-ray Combo Pack with bonus features that focus on the conservation efforts of Disneynature, and on a return to "the set" of the film through the eyes of "Ambassadors" such as the legendary Jane Goodall.

Bottom Line: MONKEY KINGDOM is another fine entry into Disneynature's growing library, and a fine primer for 2016's BORN IN CHINA.

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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