The Monkey King, an animated adventure film produced by Steve Bencich and Ron J. Friedman and directed by Anthony Stacchi, is slated for release as a Netflix Original on Friday, August 18th, The Hollywood Reporter reports.
Netflix describes the film as “an action-packed family comedy that follows a monkey and his magical fighting Stick as they team up on an epic quest where they must go head to head against gods, demons, dragons and the greatest enemy of all, Monkey’s own ego!”
Having been an outsider his whole life, the Monkey King (Jimmy O. Yang) along with his trusted companion Stick (Nan Li) take on the challenge of defeating 100 demons in order to gain the attention of other powerful immortals.
The Monkey King begins his quest when he arrives at a village to fight against a fiery demon. Soon after, a young girl from the village named Lin (Jolie Hoang-Rappaport) becomes the Monkey King’s loyal follower and “humble assistant,” following him throughout his journey. As the Monkey King fights against anything that gets in the way of proving his worthiness, he comes to realize through Lin that perhaps his greater purpose is to help others.
The Monkey King is a modern adaptation of the beloved Chinese story of Sun Wukong, the Monkey King from classic novel Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en. Stacchi emphasized to Collider that he and the production team did not “compromise Monkey’s personality to Western ideas of acceptability or any traditional story structure arc whereby he learns from his mistakes and becomes just a nice guy with superpowers by the end.”
According to Stacchi, their main challenge was finding a way to “introduce this ancient Chinese tale to audiences who have never seen it before, make it entertaining and comprehensible, all the while retaining, with as much authenticity as possible, the culturally unique characters, motivations and story arcs.”
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