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Monkey Kingdom | 2015 | G | - 2.3.0

Tina Fey narrates the story of a female toque macaque monkey of the lowest caste in a 50-member troop and how she saves the group from homelessness and starvation in Sri Lanka in order to provide a better life for her baby. Directed by Mark Linfield and Alastair Fothergill. [1:25]

SEX/NUDITY 2 - A male macaque with large fur-covered testicles and semi-erect penis follows a female into the forest; the camera cuts to a scene six months later, when the female holds a baby. A voiceover announces that courtship season is here and we see two butterflies chase each other, two parrots squawk and twirl in the air, and two Sri Lankan bucks head butt.
 Male monkeys of all ages have exposed penises and partially bared buttocks, often not covered fully in fur. A male monkey exhibits large testicles and a semi-erect penis as he walks away from the camera on all fours. Females' buttocks and genital areas are hidden with fur. Females in a monkey troop exhibit flat fur covered breasts with nipples that are 2-3 inches long. Several scenes feature baby monkeys nursing in a seated positions, or while hanging on underneath while the females walk on all fours. A female macaque is shown holding a baby as it nurses.
 A male monkey chatters its long, yellow teeth loudly while showing its long fangs many times when it wants to mate with a female a few yards away; it does the same to make friends with males, adding a hug for each one. A voiceover refers to a full-grown monkey as "hunky monkey" and background song lyrics are about a monkey as attractive and a "real man."
 Shirtless men march in a carnival parade.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 3 - Two monkeys in a battle scene show some blood on their noses and chins, but appear unharmed as the camera cuts to a time later in the day; the leader of one troop has an old, healed claw wound opening down the front of his nose and one side of his lip and jaw, exposing teeth, gums, and a drooping fang. In two scenes, monkeys of rival troops do battle with screaming, slapping, shows of teeth and fangs, running up and down trees and lunging (sometimes the monkeys look like lions); we see no injuries occur, but do see one group of monkeys run away in retreat in each scene. During one battle scene, the winning monkey troop installs a new leader and demotes the old leader to tend to his former three mates as a groomer. A 40-year-old male monkey is arthritic and walks slowly, with a very stiff back; he does battle, snarling at an opposing monkey, spitting and lunging successfully to frighten it away.
 After a monkey war where we see snarling and lunging, we see a dead monkey lying in a heap of tousled fur; a dozen members of its troop approach, sniff it, touch it and then leave together as a group. We hear that a monkey died and see a monitor lizard slowly drag something off screen as we catch a glimpse of a monkey's head, shoulder and back leg (no blood is seen). A leopard growls into the camera and in two scenes, monkeys screech to spread an alarm about a leopard approaching. A monkey dodges a 7-foot monitor lizard to dive into a lily pond and bring up seedpods from the bottom for food.
 A male monkey snarls, shows his fangs and chases away a competitor to his position as king and "owner" of all the females in their troop. Three older female monkeys have red, raw-looking, blotchy faces and big, staring eyes as they observe members of lower castes in their troop that come too close; they are upper-caste mates of the monkey king, called the "Three Sisters" and are said to be mean as they consistently snarl, slap away and screech at any other monkeys besides their own families that come near them or their food supply.
 A monkey troop eats in a fig tree daily, the upper caste monkeys in the top branches where ripe figs are plentiful while the lower caste monkeys sit in branches with unripe fruit and the lowest caste stands on the ground, picking up discarded fig skins and looking for any leftover pulp. Whenever a new food source is found nearby, the lower caste monkeys must wait several paces away to see if the upper caste will leave any of it uneaten; in one scene, a lower caste monkey discovers a small mound of vegetation and while eating, suffers an attack by three older females who drag her away from the food, and spend several minutes pounding her head and shoulders and biting her over her entire body (no blood or marks are shown) before stealing her baby; she spends many hours calling and looking for it, but the three other monkeys keep it until nightfall (mother and child are reunited).
 Higher caste monkeys cuff the babies of lower cast monkeys in the head three times, but we see no injuries. The lowest caste must endure the young of the upper caste poking them repeatedly in the eyes and reaching into their mouths to snatch away food. During monsoon season, upper caste monkeys sit and sleep in a cave-like stone structure, while the lower caste, even newborns, must stay outside in daily thunderstorms.
 Two scenes of Termite Day in Sir Lanka feature thousands of termites flying up from mounds of dirt and filling the air as monkeys and birds eat them; two large black scorpions snatch the insects in their claws and heap them onto their backs under their tails for later. Monkeys in a forest swing from vines and each other's tails, fall, wrestle, slap each other and screech on a daily basis. We see a close-up of a fruit bat waking up at dusk and flying away; the camera cuts to a sky full of large bats for a few seconds. During end credits, a director says that he saw a cobra one day on a shoot, but we do not see it.
 Monkeys run through a forest and across railroad tracks where trains are passing; they enter a marketplace and steal vegetables and bags of chips and nuts, pounding on a display case until they can reach some cookies as people clap their hands loudly to make them go away. Monkeys walk across utility lines to a house where a children's birthday party is occurring and as the children go out, the monkeys enter and steal or spill all the food they find (whole vegetables from the counter, Jell-O, popcorn, party mix, cupcakes, punch, a cake, a canister of flour, a jar of beans, hard-boiled eggs); they steal fresh eggs, smash some accidentally and then turn the chickens loose. Monkeys sleep one night in a cell-phone tower, awakened by a loud carnival parade; the next morning, they disconnect wires that pop in sparks and people below find their phones do not work as they point to the monkeys on the tower.
 Upper caste monkeys driven from their home by an opposition troop are confused and lost in the outside world; they flinch at bears, deer, birds of several types and a monitor lizard, and they stare at vehicles in traffic in a city; they jump into food trucks and eat out of display cases and warming pans until people clap their hands and shout to make them run away.


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LANGUAGE 0 - Exclamations (man, dude), stereotypical references to class/caste differences, the poor, the rich, males, females, single parents (monkeys), alpha leaders, the elderly, war, loud humans.


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SUBSTANCE USE - None.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Caste systems, alpha leadership, homelessness, starvation, the 1% and the 99% in America, outsider attacks, internal conflicts, acceptance of new leaders, survival, reproduction, justice.

MESSAGE - Mothers from the lowest classes can be the heroes who will save society.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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