(NOTE: CONTAINS SPOILERS!)
I was thrilled that my husband took me to see “Disney Nature Monkey Kingdom” last night! It was an incredible documentary about the lives of monkeys living in the ancient ruins of Sri Lanka, adorably narrated by Tina Fey.
You know you’re in for something really special when a movie about monkeys opens up with “Hey, Hey, We’re The Monkees” by The Monkees.
And you learn something new right from the start. I never knew monkeys had cliques and classes just like humans do. The Monkey Kingdom is ruled by alpha male Raja and a trio of high status nasty bitch monkeys called “The Sisterhood.” The Sisterhood could do whatever they want, and their little monkeys could do whatever they want. (Pfft … sounds like some townships I know of in New Jersey, but I’ll keep my mouth shut!)
Immediately, your heart goes out to Maya, who is at the low end of the class. She gets the least food of all the monkeys and is treated poorly by The Sisterhood. It’s kind of like the story of Cinderella and her evil stepsisters. But Maya never becomes jaded. And of all the monkeys, she’s really a looker! You can see her soul through her blue-lidded eyes (which looks like she’s wearing eye shadow!). She was really a good monkey — all she ever wanted was to provide for herself (and later her family). Pretty is as pretty does!
During mating season, Kumar, an outsider, gets his heart set on attracting Maya. He flirts by chattering his teeth, making a lot of noise to get her attention. She likes him, but Alpha male Raj is determined to keep the outsider OUT.
It’s a Romeo and Juliet situation, but the tragic couple do find some time together and Maya becomes pregnant. Since Kumar is an outsider and forbidden into the Kingdom.
Life isn’t easy for a single mom, especially not in Monkey Kingdom. Maya has to raise little Kip on her own, hunting every day to find the best food to make the best milk for him.
The Sisterhood punish Maya for stealing their food and take little Kip away from her. Maya is heartbroken — and so seems little Kip. When The Sisterhood get bored taking care of Kip, they desert him and the little monkey baby is now lost and scared. (See, I told you they were nasty bitches!)
Kip and Maya cry for each other and eventually find each other again.
Meanwhile, Kumar doesn’t give up on wooing his lady. He’s a strong, chivalrous monkey and is able to entice Alpha Raj with some jack fruit. Kumar also makes friends with some of the younger monkeys in the tribe by playing with them. Raj finally accepts Kumar and allows him into the Kingdom to reunite with Maya. But Kumar has to work for it — his job is grooming other monkeys. And for the first time Kumar meets his son, Kip. Kumar, Maya and Kip become a happy family.
All is well until the Kingdom is upset by an outside tribe and the monkeys are forced to temporarily live elsewhere. Maya becomes a heroine when she teaches The Sisterhood how to hunt for food in the “real world.”
“Low class” Maya showed them how it’s done! She makes it a “high class” style party, leading all the monkeys into a village where they hit the jackpot when they break into a hut and all hell breaks loose. The pickings were plentiful: cake, fruits, and other delights. The monkeys learned something they never knew before — a sense of a full tummy!
The story has a happy ending with Kumar and Maya moving up in class and having another baby monkey, a little sister for Kip. And little Kip ended up having the same great personality as his parents, wanting to make friends with all the other monkeys.
It was all so precious, I was crying my eyes out. Kumar and Maya stole my heart — they are my favorite celebrity couple!
In addition to monkeys, this film has other animal cuteness like deer, bears, squirrels and other wildlife.
I highly recommend this unforgettable adventure!
Here’s the official trailer from Disney: