Like so many things that Disney does, they have a great formula to start with, then they continue to perfect and tweak it in the necessary areas. This is definitely the case for their Disneynature series of nature documentaries, and Monkey Kingdom, the eighth release in the fantastic series, does just that. It takes celebrity narration (Tina Fey), beautiful scenery (Sri Lanka), amazingly cute animals and their nicknames and combines it was some teaching and a little Disney Magic to create a great family documentary. Monkey Kingdom has Disneynature alumns as co-directors Mark Linfield and Alastair Fothergill who also directed Earth and Chimpanzee for the franchise.
Monkey Kingdom follows the lives of a family of toque macaque monkeys, and specifically a female named Maya who happens to be in a low standing in the social structure. She’s an adult female, has no children or partner and spends her time on the ground scrounging for scraps of food and occasionally acting as a sort of babysitter for those in a higher social standing. She’s kept away from the giant fig tree by the alpha-monkey Raja, but her position in the troop changes when a new male named Kumar comes into the picture. I’ll not get into the details, but it’s interesting watching the changes in Maya, and the rest of the troop, as we move through the story.
The best thing about everything in the Disneynature series is that they do such a great job of introducing an entire family to nature. They keep things live and entertaining for everyone starting with the opening tune of “Hey, Hey We’re The Monkees” from the 60’s television show “The Monkees.” Kids will love the tune and it really sets the stage for them to enjoy the silliness of the monkeys all while learning some interesting things they’d likely not be exposed to in other ways. We particularly enjoyed the way that they deal with how the loss of space is putting monkeys and humans into more interactions.
Of course, what Blu-ray would be complete without Bonus Features? Monkey Kingdom delivers in this are as well as there are some nice additions such as a detailed look at how they managed to capture the amazing footage in the film. It’s hard to imagine that they worked on it for over 3 years! There is also a great music video called “It’s Our World” that everyone seemed to gravitate to.
Here is the complete list of Bonus Features:
- A Special Thank You from Disneynature
- Tales From The Kingdom
- On The Set of Monkey Kingdom with Jane Goodall and Wolfgang Dittus
- Disneynature Monkey Kingdom: The Conservation Story
- It’s Our World Music Video Performed by Jacquie Lee
If you love documentaries that your entire family will enjoy, Monkey Kingdom is a Blu-ray you should definitely put on your want list.
Director/Producer: Mark Linfield (Disneynature Chimpanzee & Earth)
Co-Director/Producer: Alastair Fothergill (Disneynature Chimpanzee & Bears)
Narrator: Tina Fey (Muppets Most Wanted, TV’s “Saturday Night Live” & “30 Rock”)
Release Date: September 15, 2015 (Direct Pre-Book: 7/21; Distributor Pre-Book: 8/ 4)
Release Formats: Digital HD/SD, Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA) & Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy)
Conservation Program: For every Digital and Blu-ray Combo Pack sold during first-week sales, Disneynature will make a donation to Conservation International in your honor to help protect endangered species in their natural habitat, supporting conservation project across Indonesia, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka.
Bonus: A Special Thank You from Disneynature
Tales From The Kingdom
On The Set of Monkey Kingdom with Jane Goodall and Wolfgang Dittus
Disneynature Monkey Kingdom: The Conservation Story
It’s Our World Music Video Performed by Jacquie Lee
Genre: True Life Adventure
Rating: Feature Film: G (US); G (Canada)
Bonus Features Not Rated
Aspect Ratio: Blu-ray Feature Film = 1.85:1 • 1080p High Definition
DVD Feature Film = 1.85:1 • Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions
Audio: Blu-ray Feature Film = English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital
DVD Feature Film = English 5.1 Dolby Digital and DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks
Languages: English SDH, Spanish & French & (Applies To Film Content Only)
Disclosure: We received a complimentary copy of this movie. All opinions are our own.