2016 is Chinese lunar year of monkey, but in Chinese culture, one of the most famous image of monkey is the Monkey King——Sun Wukong. Sun wukong’s image comes from one of China’s four great classical novels Journey to the West, which says there is a stone monkey, aggregated by essence of heaven and earth to be king on Mountain of Flowers and Fruit. Because of mastering all kinds of power, Chinese people affectionately call it as Monkey King. For hundreds of years, the image of Sun Wukong in folk has been performed in various art forms, and is popular among all ages of people, not only for its innocent and lively figure, but also the courage to challenge enemies and spirit of loyalty.
Story of Havoc in Heaven was created by Chinese animation films pioneers WJH brothers Wan Lai-ming in 1961-1964, built entirely by hand, and had numerous awards at home and abroad, to become global animation classic in the history of the cinema. In the film, the Monkey King wears a yellow blouse, girded with tiger short skirt, red pants, a pair of black boots, with neck also around a green scarf, healthy and energetic, which simply lined the Monkey King’s earliest classical appearance. For decades, generations of Chinese parents brought and recommended their childhood the infinite happy film.
In 1986, China had just reformed and was vibrant, a television play Journey to the West once again successfully created classic works in the small screen, which was still the hit show for children during vacations. Due to the technical and financial restrictions, the show’s sets and stunt were sort of poor, but it succeeded in shaping the real image of Sun Wukong, Pigsy, Sandy monk, Tripitaka, especially the Monkey King, who almost become irreplaceable. Although many years later, with abundant funds, and advanced technology, a number of remakes appeared, that still can’t replace the 86’ version of Journey to the West in people’s mind.
In the beginning of 2016, a well-known brand invited the famous actor who played the classic role of Monkey King in Journey to the West Liu Xiao Ling Tong to take a commercial advertisement for welcoming the Chinese year of monkey. In the ad, he tells the story of how he and his family continuously played the dramatic role of Monkey King on the stage and screen for generations as an art mission. The touching promo was widely spread on social networking, and once again aroused people’s memory to this classic.
The most special image of Sun Wukong was shaped by a famous Hong Kong director Jeffrey Lau and a famous Hong Kong comedian Stephen Chow in A Chinese Odyssey series, which caused no sensation when released in 1995, but in two years, the film has been dramatically popular among the youth of mainland. The sense of humor and the spirit of the leading role turned out to be a trend, which also enriches the personality of Monkey King as a folk after emotional suffering in A Chinese Odyssey series. The film reveals more profound philosophical and cultural meanings.
Nowadays, the development of China’s film and television industry has changed, with more financial and technical power, the vivid visual effect and imagination involved in the story of Journey to the West and its roles would be revealed more perfectly and more striking visual display background has been created. Especially with the rapid development of Chinese film industry in recent years, the Monkey King and the creation of the Journey to the West have become the most popular Intellectual Property.
In 2008, the film The Forbidden Kingdom, jointly produced by Lionsgate Company and Huayi Bros. Media Group in China, was released worldwide. The martial arts superstars Jet Li and Jackie Chan played the leading roles in it, which was the guarantee in box office. Jet Li performed as Sun Wukong, although not the thread of the film, but is undoubtedly the most excellent Monkey King mastering Chinese Kung Fu. It won for 128 million dollars at the global box office, with 70 million dollars investment. The Monkey King received 1.046 billion RMB at the box office, which won the most popular movie during New Year’s 2014. The film worked marvelously with the latest movie technology.
In July 2015, just three days after hitting the screen across China, the Chinese animation film Monkey King: Hero is Back evoked enthusiasm among audience and the box office broke a new record in China animation films. The image of Monkey King in this film is performed in a more fashionable and emotional way, which made a breakthrough and succeeded in both commercial and commends. 2016 is Chinese New Year of Monkey, a number of amazing Monkey King thematic films are coming. Let us look forward to it!
The Monkey King II
The Monkey King II is supposed to be released in 2016 Chinese New Year, which is created by the Hong Kong director Pou-Soi Cheang and Aaron Kwok in 3D version. Liu Xiaoguang, the producer, said the special effect in the film would broaden horizon of Chinese films, ”The effect part is not only surprisingly large workload but also of amazing quality, and we are confident the movie can satisfy all ages audience appetite”. According to the director, Hollywood team has been joint to the production in addition to more innovative elements.
A Chinese Odyssey III
Filming on A Chinese Odyssey III directed by Hong Kong director Jeffrey Lau got under way in Yinchuan, in which leading role was played by the mainland youth actor Han Geng, and the martial arts star Wu Jing performed as Tripitaka in a creative way. According to the producer Lv Jianmin’s words, “the film combined Journey to the West and A Chinese Odyssey which is supposed to guarantee the box office. The film script has been well polished, expected to be worthy of the name END of the classic series. Classic scenes will appear, and a generation’s memory of A Chinese Odyssey series will be evoked again when it was exactly in the 20th anniversary of the establishment.
Jouney to the West: Conquering the Demons II
The movie Jouney to the West: Conquering the Demons II has been officially started to shoot and coproduced by Hark Tsui and Stephen Chow. The casts are reported as followed: Yao Chen as the female leading role, Kris Wu as Tripitaka; Kenny Lin as Monkey King, Mengke Bateer as Sandy Monk, Tony Wang as Pigsy. The cooperation of Hark Tsui and Stephen Chow both of whom are innovative is the hit news in Chinese film. This movie is supposed to hit the big screen in 2017.
Where The Road Leads To
Another movie based on the Chinese classic Journey to the West is set to be jointly produced by Chinese and American moviemakers, and the well-known actors from 1986 classic TV version of the novel will appear in the movie. Liu Xiao Ling Tong, who previously portrayed the Monkey King and the current leading role as well as the art consultant of the movie, said though a number of projects about Monkey King were recommended to him, he insists of the authentic style of the novel, and so as the film Where The Road Leads To. Paramount has also joint the production, and Rob Moor, Paramount’s vice president, said the Monkey King is a world-famous character, and the novel is an extremely magical story that will work marvelously with the latest movie technology.
The animation film Kong was produced by Aquamen company, and directed by Barry Cook one of whose masterpiece is the famous Mulan. The film is invested with 40 million dollars and tells the stories in the beginning of Sun Wukong’s birth. Based on the traditional myth, more scientific elements like alien and robots would be involved into it. There are always interesting things that could be found in cultural shock, which we are looking forward to from Kong.