Le Château des Singes (A Monkey’s Tale)

Jean-François Laguionie is a not-that-well-known-in-America French animator who puts out a quirky, but always-interesting feature film every bunch of years, each one quite different from what he’s done previously. A Monkey’s Tale might be his most commercial and accessible feature- the story of two simian tribes, one who lives above and one who lives below, each believing the other to be inferior. The overall story line could be mistaken for a typical Disney movie, where it not for all sorts of delightfully oddball elements that Laguionie inserts throughout- like about a song-and-dance number about how important it is to assimilate knowledge. While the animation does make you feel like you’re watching a Don Bluth film from 1989, the story and its characters quickly win you over- and that goes for 5-year-olds just as much as 55-year-olds.

Take note: this version has no subtitles, but it does have an English-dubbed soundtrack on channel 2. Once you get over the surfer-dude voice given to our protagonist (which I’m sure must have driven Laguionie crazy) the dubbing’s not too bad. If you watch it in VLC Player, simply select the second audio track to hear it.

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