'Monkey King': Netflix's Hilarious New Take on Ancient Epic


| LAST UPDATE 07/20/2023

By Riley Hammond
Monkey King Netflix trailer
The Monkey King (2023) Netflix via IMDb

Netflix is cranking up the animation game, elbowing its way into the Pixar and Dreamworks party. The latest gem from their animated treasure trove? The Monkey King! A cheeky romp through ancient China with a monkey who's got more ego than a peacock with a mirror. This hilarious tail... sorry, tale... is part of Netflix's Summer Kids & Family lineup, and the trailer has just dropped today. So grab your popcorn and get ready to meet the most power-hungry, self-obsessed primate in history!

The Monkey King is Netflix's own fantastical animated feature, a vibrant reimagining of a legendary 16th-century Chinese epic, Journey to the West. This beast of a project was directed by Anthony Stacchi, who previously conjured up magic with Guillermo del Toro on the Oscar-winning Pinnochio (2022). The script is the brainchild of Steve Bencich and Ron J. Friedman, and the animation wizards from Pearl Studio (a Dreamworks Animation offshoot based in Shanghai) brought it to life. The producers are Peilin Chou and Kendra Haaland, with Stephen Chow as executive producer. Chow was stoked to bring this classic story to Netflix, exclaiming: “The Monkey King is a character that has stood the test of time. I’m over the moon to be working with Tony, Peilin, and the Netflix crew to bring this cheeky chappy to a global audience!”

animated comedy Monkey King
The Monkey King (2023) Netflix via IMDb
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The trailer gives us our first glimpse of the Monkey King, the self-proclaimed kingpin of the primate world. Despite his boyhood clan giving him the boot for being too 'original', he shrugs it off and sets his sights on joining the Immortal Ones, the high rollers of the monkey world. But there's a catch: to earn their respect, he must defeat a staggering 100 demons. Undeterred, our heroic monkey sets off to save local towns from demonic threats. On his demon-bashing spree, he meets a young girl named Lin, who dreams of making a difference. She persuades the Monkey King to teach her his ways, and in a twist of fate, she ends up teaching him a thing or two about compassion. This new perspective proves handy when the Dragon King threatens the land and its innocent inhabitants. Can our Monkey King overcome his ego and save the day?

The film features a star-studded cast, including Jimmy O. Yang as the Monkey King, Nan Li as his trusty Stick sidekick, Jolie Hoang-Rappaport as the young villager Lin, Bowen Yang as the fearsome Dragon King, and a whole menagerie of others. The Monkey King swings onto Netflix on August 18 - be sure not to miss it!

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