**Documentary Review** “Disneynature’s Monkey Kingdom”

Disneynatures Monkey Kingdom  WATCH THE TRAILER HERE

From the studio that brought us the natural wonders of “Oceans“, “African Cats“, “Chimpanzee“, and “Bears” comes this most recent effort from Disneynature, co-directed by Mark Linfield and Alastair Fothergill, and filmed entirely in the Polonnaruwa jungle region of Sri Lanka. With narration provided this time around by Tina Fey, the journey takes us into the life of female macaque monkey Maya, who is a part of the lower social caste among this extended family.  The alpha male of the group, Raja, maintains order among this tribe who reside on Castle Rock, a strategically chosen location that overlooks his kingdom.  Also in the higher order are The Sisterhood, a trio of females who enjoy elevated status amongst the family, and are catered to by the lower members, much to the Sister’s enjoyment.  Events change, however, when Maya becomes involved with a new, young male macaque, Kumar, who briefly joins the group, and soon, Maya’s new son Kip enters the picture.  Having to learn quickly how to gain enough nourishment for her beloved baby, Maya’s resourcefulness is put to the test many times over, again having to face the rules that are a part of the social hierarchy, when prime access to the better food is not available to her.  But, additional dangers always lurk in the jungle, and everything from monitor lizards, to leopards, to a rival macaque group threaten to even further upset the lives of both the group and Kip as they fight to survive.

As has been proven time and time again with almost any of the film offerings presented, including but not limited to the aforementioned ones above, Disneynature again delivers a heartfelt, magical, fantastically beautiful, and superbly filmed production with “Monkey Kingdom”.  As the additional footage seen during the end credits illustrates, the lengths endured and the means explored for the photography crew and the directors to bring this story to life is truly inspiring.  The absolutely stunning radiance of the jungle is brought to such vivid reality by the cinematography here, and just enhances one’s experience as the viewer, feeling like you are truly there with these amazing animals as they traverse the joys, dangers, and other challenges they face on a daily basis.  The overall sense of loving, supportive community these macaque’s demonstrate continues to leave you in awe, even despite the sometimes harsh realism of the social structure they have in place.  And, of course, how can you not fall completely in love with the playful cuteness that are the baby macaques as they frolic together in joy, and achingly cry out when separated from their mother for any length of time, as Kip does in one particularly potent sequence.  The apropos narration by Tina Fey adds the right amounts of pathos when required and helps to move the story along, whether comically or seriously. Another total victory for Disneynature and a promise of more amazing adventures in the wild to come.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!

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