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‘Monkey Kingdom’ Trailer: Jungle Animals Are “Team” Players in a Lorde Sing-a-long

Disney Monkey Kingdom 1

DisneyNature

Who else is excited about Bears, the latest Disneynature documentary, which arrives in theaters next Friday? After taking last year off, the Mouse House is back for another Earth Day release, and sure it’ll feature a lot of anthropomorphizing narration but at least that narration is being spoken by John C. Reilly. And with it also comes the first trailer for next year’s feature (yay, they’re back on an annual track), which is titled Monkey Kingdom. Disney has already gone ahead and debuted the spot a week early, though, and while it doesn’t have any celebrity voiceover (I don’t think this one’s has been revealed yet), it is entirely soundtracked with the singing voice of Lorde.

Of course it is. After all, she has a song called “Royals,” perfect for a movie with the word “kingdom” in the title, though the tune in this trailer is “Team,” which also fits because of the lyric “living in ruins of a palace within my dreams.” And the movie is about macaque monkeys who are living in ruins of a former Buddhist palace (well, temple), not in their dreams but in, I believe, Sri Lanka. At one point in the video they kind of sing along, as do a deer and a lizard, while a tiger looks on at them like they’re a bunch of lame pop music lovers. Or does he just want to eat them? 

Monkey Kingdom is being made by Disneynature regulars Alastair Fothergill (Earth; African Cats; Chimpanzee; Bears) and Mark Linfield (Earth; Chimpanzee) and seems even more ripe for narrativizing the animals with human-like personalities and drama than anything they’ve done previously. It might be slightly too similar to Chimpanzee, but of course all primates are easily suited for anthropomorphism and now they’re showing us monkeys (not apes) that have a partly man-made residence. Who wants to bet those temple remains are treated like actual houses? Or will it be more acknowledged as ruins? With no humans around, it looks rather post-apocalyptic, as though this were another new installment in the Planet of the Apes movies.

Take a look:


Here’s specifically how plotted the nature documentary will be, some of it likely true to a degree, from the official synopsis:

Monkey Kingdom spotlights the gripping reality of a newborn monkey and its mother, struggling to survive within the competitive social hierarchy of the Temple Troop, a dynamic group of monkeys who live in ancient ruins found deep in the storied jungles of South Asia, alongside a rich cast of forest characters. Life is grand, food is plentiful and safety is assured if you’re lucky enough to be born on the higher rungs of the Troop’s social ladder. But this young mother and her infant find themselves in a constant state of hunger, dodging threats from higher-ranking monkeys determined to keep them on their assigned rung. It’ll take a lot of ingenuity, hard work—and a little luck—if this little family hopes to change their place in the world.

Monkey Kingdom hits theaters on April 17, 2015.

Rather than a reject, Christopher Campbell is a film school dropout. But he has since gotten a master’s degree in cinema studies and has been blogging about movies since 2005. Earlier, he reviewed films for a zine (a what?) that you could buy at Tower Records (a what?). He is married with two children.

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