TV Series Review: The New Legends of Monkey (2018)
The New Legends of Monkey is a family-friendly fantasy and adventure series out of Australia and New Zealand. It can be found on Netflix. The series is a reboot/continuation of a Japanese cult classic series Monkey, which was especially popular in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK during the ’70s and ’80s. I have not seen the original series, so I can’t comment on how well this aftercomer follows the feel and tone of its predecessor.
But this new series is fun, with just the right amount of cheese, lots of well-choreographed action and a classic quest tale that is universally appealing. While watching, I was reminded of those series from the ’90s like Young Hercules or Xena: Princess Warrior or Hercules: The Legendary Journeys or even Relic Hunter. Yeah, it has that feel – good, clean fun with an ensemble cast that never takes itself too seriously.
Essentially, The New Legends of Monkey is the tale of a young, human monk (Luciane Buchanan) on a mission to rid this ancient and fantastical world of the evil demons now possessing it. She is aided in this quest by three gods, Monkey (Chai Hansen), Pigsy (Josh Thomson) and Sandy (Emilie Cocquerel).
Let the Quest Begin
The gods are dead, captured or in hiding. Demons now rule the world. But a scholar of the ancient texts has plans to challenge the demon rule by releasing the imprisoned Monkey King and assembling the Heavenly scrolls. Scrolls which Monkey stole over 500 years earlier, stashing them around the globe, and earning the wrath of immortals in the process.
It was his own kind who imprisoned him five centuries ago. Think of Monkey as a Maui-type (from Disney’s Moana), an arrogant immortal full of bravado and hijinks, not always thoroughly thought through…
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But the plans go awry, and the scholar and his followers are killed by demons. All, except his adoptive daughter, whom he entreats with his dying breath to accomplish the mission. She must release the Monkey King, collect the scrolls and banish the demons. In order to do this though, she must dress as a monk named Tripitaka – a male. She shaves her head, binds her breasts and heads out into the world.
Let the quest begin.
I don’t want to give it all away, but suffice it to say, she picks up some helpers along the way, including the Monkey King, whose inflated ego is having trouble dealing with the fact that his powers seem to have been diminished during imprisonment. He cannot do as he once could.
Much has changed in 500 years, not the least of which that demons now rule. And their rise to power coincides with his theft of the scrolls all those years ago. So, now he’s got to make it right, but that’s a bit difficult when he’s unable to admit to any wrongdoing or fallibility.
Good, Clean Fun
The New Legends of Monkey is truly good, clean fun. It’s action-packed and well-paced. The characters are very likable, and the chemistry between the ensemble of leads is tangible. It gels and gels well. While nothing new as such, the story is compelling. It’s using well-known tropes and archetypes to good ends here.
There is much humor in The New Legends of Monkey for child and adult alike. Yes, you’ll find yourself laughing out loud more than a few times, especially when it comes to Monkey and Pigsy. And yeah, it’s corny and cheesy at times, but that’s all a part of its charm.
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So, if you’re looking for a good watch for the whole family, give The New Legends of Monkey a go. Its ten episodes will fly by, and you’ll find yourself hoping that another season or two or three are in the works…
Content Note: Rated TV-PG. There are some tense situations and choreographed violence. No language, no gore, no skin.
Where to Watch: Netflix.
Photo Credit: Netflix.