2 Best Movies to Watch by Vic Chao

Staff & contributors

From the moment it begins, The Monkey King hardly pauses to take a breath. The characters are always frantically jumping into the next scene, the action is nonstop, and the jokes, though juvenile, arrive one after the other. This is okay if you’re looking for a brisk viewing experience, but not so if you’re prone to vertigo. It moves at a relentless pace, which doesn’t just make the film a dizzying watch; it also robs the animation’s beautiful details of the time it needs to be appreciated. The movie’s core message, too, is buried under all the film’s pizzaz, which is a shame considering its refreshing pragmatism. When all the other kids’ movies are promoting courage and confidence, The Monkey King actually warns against the dangers of an inflated ego. The Monkey King is passable entertainment for the family, but with a better pace, it could’ve been great. 

Genre: Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Kids

Actor: Andrew Kishino, Andrew Pang, Artemis Snow, BD Wong, Bowen Yang, David Chen, Dee Bradley Baker, Hoon Lee, James Sie, Jimmy O. Yang, Jo Koy, Jodi Long, Jolie Hoang-Rappaport, Kaiji Tang, Mark Benninghoffen, Robert Wu, Ron Yuan, Sophie Wu, Stephanie Hsu, Vic Chao

Director: Anthony Stacchi

Rating: PG

There is some dissonance here. A heavy coming of age backstory serves as the foundation to an otherwise straightforward, even feel-good plot involving fighting and protecting kaiju. The film doesn’t do the best job merging the shiny animations and cute story beats with the threat of the kaiju and the weight of the atmosphere set early on. Individually, however, each side is enjoyable, with the strained father-son relationship in particular being a worthwhile endeavor and full of honesty. But all things considered, there isn’t a whole lot of tension here, even for a film intended for younger audiences, making its 2-hour runtime unnecessarily long given everything it lacks.

Genre: Action, Animation, Family, Science Fiction

Actor: Artt Butler, Bret Marnell, Brittany Ishibashi, Christopher Sean, François Chau, Frank Buckley, Gedde Watanabe, Jonathan Groff, Julia Harriman, Julia Kato, Keone Young, Lee Shorten, Mayumi Yoshida, Paul Nakauchi, Rob Fukuzaki, Tamlyn Tomita, Vic Chao

Director: Shannon Tindle

Rating: PG