By Sandra Kraisirideja
Disneynature’s latest documentary, Monkey Kingdom, follows a female macaque monkey and her infant son as they struggle to survive in the jungles of South Asia.
Co-directed by Mark Linfield and Alastair Fothergill, Monkey Kingdom brings viewers up close and personal into the lives of a troop of macaque monkeys. Filmed over the course of three years in Sri Lanka, much of the action takes place in the ruins of an ancient civilization in the northeastern part of the island.
The tone of the film is lighthearted and fun thanks in large part to the witty narration by Tina Fey. She is an ideal person to narrate the story, which shows how an enterprising female macaque monkey named Maya overcomes all odds to rise in the ranks of the competitive social hierarchy of the Temple Troop to which she belongs.
When the film opens we learn that Maya is at the bottom of the social ladder with no hope of ever changing her position, but all of that changes after the birth of her son, Kip.
The scenes of Maya caring for Kip will resonate strongly with mothers. There is something about the way animals are so protective of their young that helps remind us what is really important in life. Maya’s number one priority is to make sure she gets enough food to make milk for Kip. As long as he is fed and warm then she is being a good mother. If only it were so easy in the human world!
Monkey Kingdom is the sixth theatrical release for Disneynature, which always times the openings around Earth Day. Ultimately these movies are trying to make a connection with audiences and encourage financial support for the animals who share this planet with us.
Toward that end, for each ticket sold opening week, Disneynature stated in press notes for the movie that it will make a donation to Conservation International, which combines “science, partnership and field demonstration to empower societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature and global biodiversity for the well-being of people.”
Additional promotional tie-ins planned for the movie’s release that will also benefit Conservation International are as follows:
Designer Alex Woo created a film-inspired “Love Monkey” pendant for which a portion of each purchase benefits Conservation International. www.alexwoo.com
Disney Store, home to Maya and Kip plush, will contribute to Conservation International for each film-inspired plush sold between March 13-May 14.
Disney Store will also give a free reusable “Monkey Kingdom” shopping bag with any purchase made on Earth Day (April 22).
Disney Music Group will contribute to Conservation International with the sale of each single downloaded of Jacqui Lee’s “It’s Our World” between April 14-May 12.