The Monkey King: Reborn (2021) 

While visiting a temple, Monkey gets offended and retaliates by eating a sacred fruit releasing a malevolent entity. In return, his master is made prisoner and now Monkey must go on an adventure to make things right. 

Directed by Yunfei Wang, this kids’ film is one that has a story that works even for adults. The premise is simple-ish, but the development is where the story gets good and the characters work together is a great way. Where a lot of kids’ movies fail is by having characters that are just as annoying as can be, but that is not the case here. The characters are simple, representing archetypes, but they work and their have lines that are appropriate for the material and the target audience while keeping in mind the adults that may find themselves watching along. The film uses these and adds a bit of cuteness with the character of “Fruity” who is just the darn cutest and will make people want to get it as a cute stuffed animal. The adorableness is something else really and steals the show many times. In terms of the titular character, some of the folklore behind him is explained, but the story will work better for those who have a knowledge of this character going in, especially for the adults. While the kids may not need this to get into the story, the adults will get more out of it knowing who Monkey King (WuKong) is.  

One of the best aspects to this version of the Monkey King story is the animation. Here it’s downright beautiful. The magical, forbidden fruit tree is just something out of dreams and designed in a way that makes it fit not only into the film, but also with the gods and demons theme that runs throughout. The tree is the best example of how small details in this film are put onto the screen in the animation. The animators did fantastic work with this, with the adorable “Fruity” child, with the animation for the action sequences, etc. This is the kind of animation that is easy to watch and easy to really get into, even as adults. 

Working with all of this is the voice cast. The original cast is fantastic and so is the English language cast. Both versions of the voices are great and done with talent and an understanding of the material at hand as well as the target audience. The voice cast is full of energy and gives the characters personality while putting in just the right amount of attitude at times. The voice for “Fruity” may not have all that much to do, but they add a lot to the adorable factor. 

The Monkey King: Reborn is a great kids’ film that can be a lot of fun for adults as well. The action is fun, the characters have distinct personalities and can be easily understood. The film knows how to balance out cuteness with character and action. It’s the kind of animated films that adults without kids will love just as much as those with kids. It brings out the inner child and is a boatload of fun. 

The Monkey King: Reborn streets on December 7th, 2021 from Well Go USA.