The Monkey King

The Monkey King (2014)

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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 203 users
Reviews: 1 users

Sun Wukong, (The Monkey King) is a monkey born from a heavenly stone who acquires supernatural powers. After rebelling against heaven and being imprisoned under a mountain for 500 years, he later accompanies the monk Xuanzang on a journey to India. Thus, according to legend, Buddhism is brought to ancient China. This much beloved story, is as much a part of Asian culture as The Iliad and The Odyssey or The Wizard read moreof Oz are to the West. This first installment in a trilogy of live action 3-D movies is actually a prequel to The Journey To The West, the much told story of the Monkey King's adventures on the road to India. The Monkey King: Havoc In The Heavenly Palace will be released in the U.S. as The Monkey King. The first movie is the origins story - beginning with the birth of Sun Wukong and ending with his imprisonment for his crimes under the Five-Peaked Mountain. Along the way he acquires incredible powers... Written by Robert Harris / Global Star Productions

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  • Also Known as:

    Da Nao Tian Gong ; Monkey King: Wreaking Havoc in Heavenly Palace

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18 people found this review helpful
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Aug 30, 2014
  • Overall 6.0
  • Story 6.0
  • Acting/Cast 8.0
  • Music 3.0
  • Rewatch Value 4.0
With all the opinions jumping right and left about this film, I had a hard time setting my expectations. When I finally came around this, I decided to just jump into it without prior judgment. At the end of the day, I came to like this Monkey King version.

Adapted from the mega huge Chinese novel “Journey to the West”, this film actually followed the original novel very closely. The novel is read more in fact one of the fewest Chinese novels I read many years back when I was watching few other adaptations of it. This version is absolutely the closest and the most accurate one.

The film was full of several eye-catching characters, events and costumes. I know, I know; the CGI is what bothered many people about this film. Well, as long as you’re not here to watch “The Lord of the Ring” then it should be alright. It’s true that the special effects were overdone with many misses here and there but having watched several Wuxia films with immense use of CGI in my cinema watching, this doesn’t bother me at all. Actually, I considered it a cool experience with that enormous amount of CGI and wires inserted everywhere. For a normal viewer who’s not familiar with the Chinese/Hong Kong way of using CGI in their productions, it may cause a problem but as long as you’re willing to keep your mind open and accept unfamiliar styles then everything will be satisfactory after a while.

The plot wasn’t very smooth just like it wasn’t heavy either. This is a fantasy so there weren’t any traditional plot elements to follow; it was catching and involving at many phases just like other parts didn’t feel right, rushed or very slow. I am still thankful that they followed Wu Cheng En's classic very closely or I would’ve went very harsh on this Monkey King adaptation.

The acting department was full of huge names in HKC cinema. I have a little confession to make; I was actually reluctant about Donnie’s portrayal of the monkey king. When they first announced the film; I was confident that Jet Li will get to play the Monkey king again since he did a wonderful job with it before but he didn’t get the role. Donnie was casted instead and I was a bit worried. I love Donnie and I consider him one of the better HKC stars but I felt like Sun Wukong’s character doesn’t suit his acting style. Needless to say, I was proved wrong through this film. He did an amazing job with the character to make it feel very believable.
On his side were the marvelous Chow Yun Fat and the cool Aaaron Kwok in main roles. They were pretty much convincing and entertaining to watch. The remaining cast did a cool job including Peter Ho, Kelly Chen and few others. Some characters felt all over the place but it wasn’t unforgivable.

There’s isn’t much scenery to talk about since CGI were the film’s heart and soul. I don’t necessarily consider it a bad thing even though I am the type of person who heavily concentrates on cinematography while watching films. The musical note was pretty much forgettable, I don’t recall anything after finishing the film so yeah, and there you have it.

Watch if:
-You like HKC Wuxia productions.
-You like the classic novels of the Journey to the West because this is the closest adaptation.
-You like Donnie because he does a cool job with the Monkey King’s character here.

Do not watch if:
-You’re expecting a CGI level like in Hollywood film.
-You’re looking for something serious.
-You’re looking for something impressive.

The Monkey King took four long years of production to be finally brought to life this year. That alone deserves giving this film a go. Just try to open your horizons and think of this as an entertaining journey, because that’s the only way to appreciate this film.
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Comments (5)

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  • Reply
    shambles Jan 2, 2016

    Um I guess im kinda disappointed with this movie....But then again looking at the cast I did have my expectations set really high!!

  • Reply
    Mo-chan Mar 8, 2015 - edited

    Hmm imo this movie was well made with effects but it was so baaaad I mean like wtf And the monkey was so annoying I almost dropped midway

  • Reply
    missienelly Nov 9, 2014

    My hub read the novel, the movie is a crap (as he summarized it). I don't get a single thing so there you go... a 3 stars from the both of us.

  • Reply
    Plural Apr 6, 2014

    For those that watched this already:
    Did the narrator sound like Louis Koo?

  • Reply
    shiroi-ookami Apr 3, 2014

    I love JTTW. I've read the novel and watched most of its adaptions. But this is utterly crap (makes The Forbidden Kingdom looking like a oscar material in comparison), even though they spent lots of money and time and got some A-list actors such as Chow Yun Fat, Donnie Yen and Aaron Kwok for this movie. The love story btw wukong and the fox spirit is the worst, so awkward. I don't mind deviations from the source, but at least have a decent, believable storyline and good script! And the characters... I can't recognize most of them, they lost a lot of their original charm. And you would expect at least good visual effects, when they even hired some hollywood special effects people, but most of the time it looks cheap and cartoonish. At least I can commend Donnie Yen for his effort (Liu Xiao Ling Tong is still the best Monkey King and it's obvous that DY was studying LXLT's perfomance).

  • Reply
    ddlollee Jan 26, 2014

    is it out yet?

  • Reply
    Qiaozhi Jul 25, 2012 - edited

    Does anybody have a link to watch this movie? It looks very promising, judging by the cover.

    • Reply
      Valygar Mar 21, 2013

      "The original poster released had a release date of February 2012, but it was postponed.[7] Filmko and Global Star Productions has its eyes on a RMB500 million (US$88 million) box office target in China.[13] Later it was announced that it would be released on 7 July 2012,[14] on 4 July 2013,[15] and on 20 November 2013" from Wiki.. So looks that it wasn't released yet :(

    • Reply
      usagidramachan Mar 26, 2017

      It's on Netflix.


  • Country:

    Hong Kong
  • Type:

  • Release Date:

    Jan 30, 2014
  • Duration:

    2 hr. 0 min.


  • Score:

    7.0 (scored by 203 users)
  • Ranked:

  • Popularity:


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