Synopsis: A new take on the story of the Monkey King, Pigsy, Sandy, and Tripitaka the monk, on their journey to restore the world.
Review: Based on the Chinese folktale ‘Journey To The West’. This series sees a new take on the Monkey King and his fellow Gods Pigsy and Sandy. When he is freed from a 500-year slumber by Monk Tripitaka. The Monkey King helps her with a quest to find the sacred scrolls and free the world from the Demons, who have ruled for 500 years.
Like many people of a certain age. I first became aware of ‘Journey To The West’ thanks to the 1978 series Monkey, which was an import that was dubbed into English for Western audiences. Now that version of the show was much loved for its comedy as well as its martial arts sequences.
This new take more like Hercules or Xena with a nice mix of light drama, comedy, some CGI and some rather cool martial arts mixed with a bit of magic.
Made in New Zealand with Australian talent for Netflix. ‘The New Legends Of Monkey’ is a fairly nice show. Granted it is nowhere near as fun as the 1978 series, but I doubt anything could hold a candle to that. But if you watch with an open mind. It’s a good show in its own right.
The first couple of episodes are a little shaky, but once it gets its rhythm the show’s narrative and characters become fairly likable. Chai Hansen is pretty good casting for the titular character and he plays Monkey as brash, overconfident, but with a heart. In contrast, Luciane Buchanan plays Tripitaka as someone that is not too confident but is doing what they have too in order to survive and keep Monkey, Pigsy, and Sandy together. Emilie Cocquerel plays Sandy as the more reasonable and calm of the three Gods. She is a more spiritual being when compared to the somewhat loud and brash Monkey and Pigsy. Josh Thomson is great as Pigsy and along with Monkey, he provides much of the comedy due to him being somewhat clumsy at times. Thomson and Hansen has a fun chemistry in this show and manages to pull off some really fun comedy beats.
The shows CGI can look a bit CGI at times, but most of the CGI moments are shot from a wide angle, which means it is not as noticeable as it could be. Besides the actor’s commitment to their characters keep you engaged with the story.
As far as the music goes. It’s got a somewhat 1980’s synth sound to it. But I found myself too involved with the characters and story to care overly much about it.
Overall. This show is very much its own thing and is fairly respectful of its source material. It’s nowhere near as good as the 1978 series ‘Monkey,’ but I doubt anything ever could be. But if you go in with an open mind and can get past the CGI not being quite as good as what you see on most shows. Then you’ll likely enjoy the show. We say tune in. Forget what you have seen in the past and just enjoy this as a new experience. It’s a fun watch and at only 25 minutes an episode. It doesn’t demand a massive amount of time.
All ten episodes of ‘The New Legends Of The Monkey’ are available to stream on Netflix.
- Incidental Music7.5