Friday, December 10, 2021

The Monkey King: Reborn Review: Beautifully Animated Anime-Style Chinese Action

Release date: December 7, 2021
Running time: 96 minutes
Directed By: Wang Yun Fei 

After short-tempered trickster Monkey King is insulted while visiting a temple with his master Tang Monk, he destroys a magical tree and accidentally releases the ancient King of Demons, who kidnaps Tang Monk as revenge for his long imprisonment. Now, Monkey King and his fellow disciples must rescue their master within three days, before the Demon King regains his full power and unleashes his armies to destroy the earth.

The Monkey King: Reborn is a beautiful film.  It is tough to stress just how nice this movie looks, with some really spectacular particle effects and environmental animation.  The fights are spectacular and some of the animation on the major characters, especially towards the end of the film, are absolutely beautiful.  And the fight scenes are rightly, for a movie about heavenly powers and world ending events, very intense.  It is like a more traditional anime made into three dimensional form, with the same speed, power, nad intensity that you would come to expect.  And the story itself is full of interesting characters and Chinese lore that will peak your interest.  

But Monkey King, like a few other Chinese animated films, tends to have a more crude humor style.  I don't think it's bad necessarily, just something that might be funnier in that culture versus an American audience.  I still enjoyed the movie, but didn't find the humor nearly as funny as I was hoping.  And the story was tough to follow at some points, again probably because of my unfamiliarity with Chinese lore.  I got enough of it and the fights were the main draw, but some of the nuances of the lore just went over my head.  I don't think either of these ruins the movie and what you are left with is a beautifully animated, exciting film.  This is similar to Nehza, where the opening sequence did not feel serious enough and was less engaging, but the later fights and sequences were stellar. 

The Monkey King: Reborn has some jaw dropping animation and fight scenes that continues the trend of beautifully animated, anime-style Chinese movies. 

Rent it.

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The Monkey King: Reborn is available on Blu-Ray, DVD, and digitally on December 7, 2021. 

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