Written by Alejandra Hernandez, Treasurer
Disney brings forth the latest true-life adventure, Monkey Kingdom, a film presenting a fun education on the life of the monkeys living and thriving in the ancient ruins of Sri Lanka, South Asia. Though animals fight for survival in the jungle, their lifestyle is surprisingly similar to the nature of human beings. Narrated by the witty Tina Fey, great enthusiasm, and appreciative humor is dedicated to the amazing Monkey Kingdom voyage from beginning to end.
It is not all about monkeying around in this jungle. They live under a social class system where the alpha has priority over anything including food, shelter, and respect and the way they live is determined by their rank in their society. At the top is the alpha Raja, a stern monkey who aggressively claims his spot and raises his forehead, in other words, “back off.” The sisters, a group of female monkeys with red colored faces, cater to Raja and the children, and receive special treatment. The head of the social class system enjoys eating first atop the trees while those at the bottom feed off of the leftovers.
Although a nature film, Disney remains close to its storytelling methods and follows Maya’s story, an intelligent female monkey who was born at the bottom of the class system and provides for her younger family members. She faces ignorance from the higher ranked classes but then encounters a love interest with a newcomer, Kumar, during mating season. Though Maya has never been a care to Raja, he is defensive and forces Kumar into exile leaving Maya to fend for herself and her newborn son, Kip, from mate Kumar. The story follows her struggle of triumphantly reaching the top of the kingdom.
The nature of these monkeys is intriguing as it reflects our human society. Their social class system, personalities, and the importance of grooming are among the many aspects that connect the two. Each monkey presents a distinct personality such as Maya, the heroine who did the impossible to feed her son and even Raja, the territorial and vain alpha. The consistency of grooming, as important as it is to humans, depicts the monkeys keen taste for care and presentation. Their movements and gestures mimic human communication such as when they sleep, several hold each other to keep warm and safe.
The beautiful capture, Monkey Kingdom hits theaters April 17, 2015 and for every ticket sold on opening weekend (April 17-23, 2015), Disney will donate to Conservative International, an organization that serves to help monkeys and other endangered species in their natural habitat.