A Little Monkey Business: Chinese New Year

So the New Year started on February 8th, but I was in the middle of Romance is in the Air: Part IV, my countdown to Valentine’s Day so I had to postpone it until today, the last day of the New Year celebration. This year is a special year because it is my zodiac animal, the year of the Monkey.

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Monkeys are intelligent, wise, clever, inquisitive, flexible, quick-witted, innovative, and honest. They are also known to have a temper; along with being cunning, mischievous, and suspicious.

Monkeys can do well in any job they try due to all their positive traits. They work best with Oxen, Rabbits, and Dragons. Their enemies are Tigers or Pigs.

Some famous people born in the year of the monkey are: Leonardo da Vinci, Charles Dickens, Tom Hanks, Michael Douglas, Bette Davis, Annie Oakley, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Betsy Ross.

So to celebrate the year of the Monkey I am going to do my nine favorite monkey moments from film and TV. And I decided to do only Monkeys; no gorillas, orangoutangs, chimpanzees, or baboons. This year is all about the Monkey.

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9) The Jungle Book (1994)

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The Jungle Book is pretty much what Disney used as their basis for the Tarzan film (both being Disney films). The Jungle Book 1994 version is not the cartoon version, this one is a live action film and the animals don’t talk (hopefully they keep that the same in the new version coming out this year). The film starts out with Mowgli’s father being a guide for some Englishmen who are patrolling India. One night Shere Khan attacks the camp as someone has broken the jungle rules, that is killed for sport instead of food. Mowgli is lost in the confusion and thought to be dead, later raised by animals. He is eventually found by his old compatriots, who attempt to be bring him back into society. He still has feelings for Kitty, a girl he played with as a child, but she is engaged to the hunter/poacher William Boone who wants to use Mowgli as a guide to Monkey City and the rumored King Louie treasure. Adventure ensues

Best Monkey Scene:Monkey Spectators

Instead of lions or dueling ex-soldiers or slaves; this gladiator match pitches treasure hunters searching for the lost Monkey City and the billions of gold, against Kaa the python. For who’s pleasure? None other than King Louie, the Orangoutang, and his subjects ,the Monkeys.

For more on The Jungle Book (1994), go to Redone Done Right

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8) Toy Story 3

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In Toy Story 3 many years have passed since Toy Story 2. Andy is 18 and heading off to college and doesn’t need his old toys anymore. Destined to reside in the attic until Andy has his own kids or decides to get rid of them; the toys take matters into their own hands. They escape in a donation box for a Children’s Daycare, hoping this would bring fun times and games. Woody however, is not ready to give up on Andy and gets lost trying to find his way home. Back at the daycare center, the toys discover that a stuffed bear is the “Don” of the center and relegates them to being played with toddlers instead of the older kids who care for the toys. When they try to escape, they are punished. Will the toys esacape? Will they be able to get back to Andy?

Best Monkey Scene:Death by Monkeys

This scene is in the opening dream/flashback sequence. The toys are playing a massive game of cowboys and robbers. Woody, Buzz, and Jessie have just defeated the potato pair; when Ham, as evil Dr. Porkchop, comes in: releasing a bomb of a barrel of monkeys. It’s funny, cute, and brings back a whole lot of nostalgia.

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7) Dragon Ball

This is actually a anime series based on the classic novel Journey to the West,  also known as Monkey, written in the 16th century by Wu Cheng’en.

Goku is a little monkey boy, (as in he only has a monkey tail). He befiends a teenage woman, Bulma, and the two set off to find the seven wishing dragon balls. He becomes a student of the turtle hermit, Kame-Sennin, later entering a huge tournament with some of the most powerful fighters in the world.

He also destroys the Red Ribbon Army single-handedly. When Goku’s best friend, Kuririn, is murdered by Piccolo, then Goku sets out to destroy him as revenge.

Best Monkey Scene: Great Ape Transformation

So as Goku is a monkey boy, when the full moon is out instead of turning into a werewolf, he becomes a giant monkey. A monkey on par with Mighty Joe Young or King Kong. He may be scary and frightening, but also pretty awesome in his menacing nature.

For more on Dragon Ball, go to Fun & Full of FANcy

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6) Aladdin

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Aladdin is a retelling of a chinese tale in Arabian Nights or A Thousand and One Nights, tales that Scheherazade told her husband to keep herself alive each night, (for more on that go here). Disney disneyfied it into being much happier and brighter, like they do with everything.

In the Disney story, Aladdin is an orphaned boy living with his monkey friend, Abu. The two are street rats, scrounging about for food and hiding from the castle guards. Every night Aladdin goes home and dreams of being rich and living in the palace, never worrying about anything. Meanwhile, Princess Jasmine is in the palace and has to marry by her sixteenth birthday. She hates every prince that has called on her and she feels they all are after her fortune. Also in the palace lurks Jafar, the evil vizier, who wants to take the throne for himself. He also is trying to get inside the fabled Cave of Wonders to get a lamp, but only a pure-hearted, diamond in the rough can enter. These three stories intersect when Jasmine sneaks out of the palace, only to be helped by Aladdin when she gets into trouble. The two run from guards and are caught, Jasmine revealing herself and going home, while Aladdin is sent to the dungeon. Jafar disguises himself and frees Aladdin convinced he is the perfect person to enter the cave. Aladdin is and does, but Abu brings the whiole place toppling down when he tries to take something he is not supposed to touch. Aladdin gets stuck inside the Cave, but there he finds the genie of the lamp and the adventure to capture the heart of the princess is on.

Best Monkey Scene: Anything Abu

Abu is the cutest little monkey. He does have some issues as he doesn’t like to share, is greedy that he almost kills him and Aladdin, and gets jealous easily. But besides that he is kind, loyal, and all around a great little buddy to Aladdin.

For more on Aladdin, go to Waiter, There’s Some Disney in My Jane Austen

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5) George of the Jungle

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This was one of my favorite movies as a kid, and the film that created my crush and longtime love of Brendan Fraser. He is super hunky in this film.

Ursula Stanhope from San Francisco, CA is traveling throughout Africa. Her fiancé, Lyle Van De Groot (Thomas Haden Church) is a total pompous jerk and has gone looking for her to drag her back to be immediately married, guided by two poachers. The next day when Ursula and Lyle are out, they run into a lion. Lyle takes off; tripping, falling, and knocking himself out. But Ursula doesn’t need to worry, George; a man who was lost in Africa and raised by an ape named Ape, saves her. He cares for her until they are come upon by her fiancé. When he and the poachers attack trying to “save” Ursula and capture the famed “White Ape”; George gets injured and finds himself traveling to San Francisco with Ursula. Is San Fran ready for this Ape-Man? Will his home be okay without the King of the Jungle?

Best Monkey Scene: Monkey Vs. Lion

So George is King of the Jungle, and one of his duties as King is to help his subjects in trouble. One of the baby monkeys, the runt of the litter, keeps getting picked on by all the other monkeys. He goes to George for help, and the two come up with a plan. When a lion comes to “fight” and the monkey pretends to be George”scaring” the lion away.

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4) Jumanji (1995)

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In 1969, Alan Parish is constantly getting picked on. One day he hears drums and discovers an old game buried in a new construction site. He takes it home and after he gets in a fight with his dad and a surprise visit from a friend, the two accidentally play the game. One of the roles causes Alan to be sucked into the game while bats come streaming out.

26 years later, the Parish house has been bought by a women who has recently become guardian of her niece and nephew: Judy and Peter. The two kids discover the old game and play. What they thought would be a fun game turns out to be a death defying adventure as monkeys, mosquitoes, a lion, crocodiles, and Alan all come out of the game. They have to finish the game, survive whatever comes out, in order to fix everything and send all these creatures and storms back.

Best Monkey Scene: Monkeys Slow the Expedition

The second thing to come out of the game board are a group of monkeys. Not only do they terrorize the the two kids, but they end up running amuck throughout town. Stealing cop cars, ransacking stores, and taking off and causing havoc.

For more on Jumanji, go to Every Month at the Quarter Moon There’ll Be a Monsoon

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3) Jumanji (1995)

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So the summary is the same as before. You might be wondering why I’m doing this film twice, but there was another monkey scene I just love.

Best Monkey Scene: Peter the Monkey Boy

So Alan, Peter, Judy, and Alan’s old friend Susan; have been through the thick of game having faced down monkeys, a lion, giant mosquitoes, human eating pods, poisonous violets, a big game hunter named Van Pelt, and a stampede.

Peter is only a few spaces away and decides to drop the dice, hoping to reach the end of the game and save everyone. Unfortunately, the game does not like cheaters and Peter is turned into a monkey. Sorry Goku, Peter is the cutest Monkey Boy. He’s just TOOOOO adorable.

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2) The Wizard of Oz

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Dorothy Gale is a young girl in grey Kansas. She lives with her aunt and uncle on their farm, along with the farmhands. When their mean neighbor takes Dorothy’s dog away for snapping at her; Dorothy decides to grab her dog and run away. She gets caught up in a twister and ends up in the land of Oz. She ends up on a journey to find the Wizard to get home; pairing up with a Scarecrow, a Tin Man, a Cowardly Lion; and chased by the Wicked Witch of the West.

Best Monkey Scene: Fly My Pretties, Fly

So the Wicked Witch’s evil minions are the winged monkeys. She sends them out to find Dorothy and destroy her companions in one of the best, and scariest scenes, of the film.

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1) The Jungle Book (1967)

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This is the original Disney version and based on the novel by Rudyard Kipling. In the story Mowgli is a man cub raised by wolves. Ten years pass by and when news of Shere Khan, the great tiger, has returned to the jungle they decide to send Mowgli back to the Man village. Bagheera, the panther, tries to take him back but they get interuppted by Kaa, the snake who tries to eat him, and Baloo a slothy bear who discourages Mowgli from returning to the world of men. Mowgli meets other crazy charcters such as King Louie the Orangutan, Colonel Hathi the Elephant, and a group of Vultures who act like The Beatles.

Best Monkey Scene: I Wanna Be Like You

So I know you might be questioning why I choose this moment as my number one. Well when I think of Monkeys this is the first thing that always pop in my head. It is one of the best songs in the film, and a whole lot of fun.

So the scene, for those who don’t know, comes in the middle of the film. Mowgli has been captured by King Louie the Orangutan who wants Mowgli to teach him to be like humans, how to create fire. Baloo comes in and sings along to the bopping song, saving Mowgli as well.

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So that ends this year’s countdown. I hope you all have a great 2016.

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For the 2013 list, go to Snakes on a Post

For the 2014 post, go to A Horse’s Tale

For the 2015 post, go to Well I Feel Sheepish

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For more holiday posts, go to To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before

For more Disney posts, go to I’d Lay Down My Life for You: Pocahontas (1995)

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Redone Done Right

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Day 29) Best Disney Remake

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The Jungle Book (1994)

So I’m not a huge fan of the remake. You probably recall seeing this:

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But there are a few films that I truly enjoy that are not the orginal. Such as The Shop Around the Corner and You’ve Got Mail. But this is probably by far, my favorite disney remake ever.

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So this film came out in the ’90s and is based on The Jungle Book novel by Rudyard Kipling and the Disney film The Jungle Book (1967). It is similar to the cartoon except it is live action and tells the story of an older Mowgli. Actually, this is what Disney’s Tarzan was based on. While Tarzan is not an almost exact scene by scene ripoff,  like Atlantis is of the film Stargate, it is still extremely close.

Anyways, so the film starts off in the Victorian period with a group of English people going through India. They have many Indian guides helping them, one of which is Mowgli’s father Nathoo. Mowgli is one of the few children who is with the group, and his best friend is his wolf cub, Grey Brother. Mowgli soon meets one of the other kids there, Katherine “Kitty” Brydon, daughter of Colonel Geoffrey Brydon who is in charge of the trek and played by none other than the very handsome, Sam Neil.

Mowgli gives Kitty a flower to show his interest in her and Kitty gives him her mother’s bracelet. But the two’s friendship gets cut short as Shere Khan ramapages throughout the jungle. In this version of the film, Shere Khan is king of the jungle (as Khan means leader/king), and he watches the jungle for balance. When he finds somene killing for fun instead of food he takes them out. As he is going after one specific person, others get in the way and die. He kills Nathoo, and in the shuffle to escape Mowgli amd his wolf get left behind.

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Mowgli is befriended by the animals of the jungle as Bagheera, the panther, takes him to the wolves to be raised by them. He also befriends Baloo the bear and a variety of other animals.

Twenty years into the future, Mowgli is a man and runs with the different animals of the jungle. They are even able to comunicate with each other. In the story there are a group of monkeys, Rhesus macaque, who are the foot soldiers of the lord of all apes, King Louie (an orangutan). They are called the Bandar-log an they steal Kitty’s bracelet for King Louie’s treasury.  

Mowgli is enraged and follows them to get his bracelet back. He finds the city of the monkeys where King Louie rules. He goes in and demands his bracelet back. King Louie agrees to give him the bracelet back, if he can fight the snake Kaa and win. Mowgli pulls out a jeweled dagger and uses it to fight against Kaa. And wins the appreciation of all the apes

Meanwhile, Kitty is a woman now, back in India and engaged to Captain William Boone, played by the very sexy Cary Elwes.

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Unfortunately, Boone, while being hot, is a cruel, sadistic, gold-digging, ladder climbing, hunter. 😦 Oh well. One day Kitty and co. are out in the jungle painting and hanging out when she runs right into you-know-who…Mowgli.

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Mowgli is all dressed up, part of his trophies from winning against Kaa, and play-attacks/play-saves Kitty from Baloo. But she takes off.

Mowgli follows the group into the city, sneaking into Kitty’s room. Her screams rouse her bf and the guards, but before they come after him, she recognizes the bracelet he’s wearing as her own.  The guards chase Mowgli throughout the town and he ends up getting thrown in jail

Kitty frees Mowgli and she and Dr. Julius Plumford (John Cleese) try to help re-civilize him. (This scene is just like Tarzan, especially  the projection of images).
Mowgli begins to be able to talk amd act like those around him, but does not feel at home with the aristocrats, that is except for Kitty. He starts falling for her again, even though she is already spoken for. Mowgli also tells Kitty how he survived all these years and introduces her to all of his animal friends and tells her of the rules of the jungle.
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Meanwhile Boone and his friends  are eager to find the famed City of Gold (Monkey city) but don’t know the way. Everyone who has ever tried to find it has never returned. Boone decides to get Mowgli to help him find it.
Boone convinces Kitty to give him a day to hang out with Mowgli, apologizing for having been so mean. He brings Mowgli to his hunting trophy room, but after Mowgli sees that he doesn’t keep the jungle law, he refuses to help him out at all.
There is a ball, and Mowgli is excited to be there with Kitty. Unfortunately, that is when he hears the announcement of their engagement and hears of the plans they have for India. Mowgli decides to leave the city as he could never belong there, and decides to spend the rest of his life in the jungle.
But unbeknowest to him, Boone has other plans for Mowgli. He and his minions try to capture him, but Mowgli is saved by Baloo. Unfortunately, Baloo’s intervention causes him to be shot. Mowgli rushes to the city to get Dr. Plumford, but finds out that he and recently unengaged Kitty are headed for England.
While Mowgli chases after them, Kitty, her father, and the doctor are ambushed by William’s men. Mowgli is able to save the Doctor and sends him to help Baloo, and continues after the Brydons. He agrees to help Boone if Boone will ensure the safety of the Brydons.
The next day, Mowgli is able to get rid of one henchman, by tricking him into some quicksand. He also sends Kitty’s dad to safety on an elephant.
The other henchman is disposed of by more of Mowgli’s knowledge of the jungle. Soon all that is left is Mowgli, Kitty, Boone, and Boone’s remaining minoin. However, as they have finally reached the Monkey City, his minoins accidentally sets off a booby trap and finds himself a goner.
Only Boone, Kitty, and Mowgli make it to the treasure. Boone and Mowgli fight, but Mowgli wins and takes off with Kitty. Boone starts filling his pockets and bags with gold, not realizing that he still has Kaa to deal with.

Shere Khan confronts Mowgli and Kitty as they exit. Khan still does not trust Mowgli, and the two stare at each other a long time before Khan is stared down and leaves in submission – the fulfillment of a dream Mowgli had where he, already a ‘half-tiger’ in spirit, would stare Shere Khan eye to eye and become a ‘whole tiger’.
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Shere Khan recognizes that Mowgli another creature of the jungle and allows him to live. Mowgli and Kitty reunite with their friends and family, including Geoffrey and Baloo, both cured by Plumford. Kitty and Mowgli are now together (just like Tarzan and Jane)
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I just love this movie and thought it was amazing. It is far better than the animated sequel as it doesn’t retell te orginal story too much, and still keeps all the elements of it when going in a new direction.
For more on both versions of The Jungle Book, go to Snakes on a Post
For more on Disney, go to Once upon a Dream
For more films based on books, go to Second Star to the Right
For more films based on cartoons, go to Disney Lesson