News

There was art in the 'rawness' of Monkey Magic

THE ORIGINAL: A screengrab from the original Monkey from the late 70s in all its raw glory.
THE ORIGINAL: A screengrab from the original Monkey from the late 70s in all its raw glory. Supplied

With the news of the remake of Monkey (Magic) spreading far and wide, much like Monkey's journeys themselves, I am filled with childlike delight as well as adult dread.

The original series was a 1978-79 Japanese television drama, filmed in China, based on the Chinese novel, Journey to the West, by Wu Cheng'en. They ran 52 episodes and 39 were dubbed into English in 1979.

The remake, The Legend of Monkey, has been announced as a joint Australian and New Zealand television production through Netflix, The ABC and TVNZ.

My brothers and I would sit on the floor in front of our television and consume the original. We would tape it onto VHS and watch it repeatedly. It made us laugh and fantasise. It was completely out of our rural Queensland world and we loved it.

With the new production underway in New Zealand, the show will tell the story of a teen girl and a trio of fallen gods - Monkey, Pigsy and Sandy - as they fight the evil overtaking the world. The cast is a mix of Australian and Kiwi actors.

What made the original series so good was actually how terribly raw it was. The English dubbing and humour hilarious, the fight scenes brilliant, film direction odd, simply strange acting and, of course, the sound effects, which were even more brilliant than all of it.

The opening sequence and song are legendary. There was art in all of that rawness.

Despite it all, the story was believable. As a child, I saw through everything else and got lost in that story.

It was like the original Batman comics, full of unashamed flamboyance, but 70's Japanese/Chinese television. How could you not enjoy that?

My bet is the producers of The Legend of Monkey will try to create something that will fit into today's viewers' tastes. That is understandable, but in my opinion, doing so will do injustice to everything that made Monkey great: that rawness.

With my favourite artists, their early work is representative of a pure idea, but lacks a certain degree of skill. As time goes on, the skill overtakes the idea and that idea fades behind the skill. Eclipsed by it.

I fear the idea of Monkey will be eclipsed by the modern version, which will undoubtedly have a contemporary spit and polish to it - something Monkey certainly did not have.

The new production sounds promising but whether or not the substance, the rawness, is there, we won't know until it airs next year.

I will be watching and I might even gather my brothers for the occasion.

Continue the conversation on twitter @roposchindler

Gympie Times

Topics:  gympie monkey magic opinion popular culture the legend of monkey



'Obsessive stalker' jailed in Gympie court

STALKER: A Gympie court has jailed a man described as an obsessive stalker after he repeatedly offended against his former girlfriend

Man gets further jail for continued stalking of his ex-girlfriend

Inskip sinkhole drama relived on TV

Footage captured at the scene of the sink hole opening up at Inskip Point in 2015.

'No one knew who I was - They thought I was stealing their beer.'

Man escapes from wreck after rollover

Emergency crews have responded to a single car crash.

Emergency crews respond to single car crash north of Woolooga.

Local Partners

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy a slick, impressive effort

New Uncharted game for PS4 hits the shelves

Bride and Prejudice's Chris reveals more family heartache

Grant and Chris feature on the TV series Bride & Prejudice. Supplied by Channel 7.

His dad’s health has dealt a massive blow to their happy life

Nicole's ready to bust out of Doctor Doctor's love triangle

Nicole da Silva stars in season two of Doctor Doctor.

New season gets a fresh injection of relationship dilemmas.

MOVIE REVIEW: Tom Cruise flying high again in drug drama

Tom Cruise plays pilot Barry Seal in the movie American Made.

FILM STAR delivers his best performance in some time.

The Project will now be on six nights a week

The Project presenters Waleed Aly, Carrie Bickmore and Peter Helliar.

The Project is expanding with a Sunday night edition and a new host.

Click your fingers, tap your toes

Helen Peters, Elisabeth Wallis-Gaedtke, Evalee Sharples and Kemal Avunduk rehearse for Fascinating Rhythm, Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir's performance of hot jazz, sizzling samba, Latin beats and smooth swing sounds at Lake Kawana Community Centre on August 26-27.

Libby to set beat for Fascinating Rhythm this weekend

Margot Robbie is unrecognisable in London

Margot, is that really you?

MARGOT Robbie looks completely unrecognisable as Queen Elizabeth I.

REVEALED: New shops for Coast centre's $12million revamp

Coast retail centre expands as part of $12million refurbishment

FREE: Guide to Gympie's hottest suburbs in The Gympie Times

Look out for SOLD ON in The Gympie Times on Wednesday.

The first Gympie edition of Sold On is in today's Gympie Times.

Residents fear sand mine sell out by State Minister

Sand mine opponents attend the Nambour Council Chambers.Cou

Further testing undertaken on site, despite claims of significance

Investors quick to snap up property in key growth corridor

High-profile commercial site sells at auction for $4.920m