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From Jp – Sun Wukong Gone Wrong

August 20, 2013

I generally try not to allow myself to get really excited about going to see a new play or new movie (although, I did get super pumped about Marvels’ The Avengers, and it was awesome!), but when I saw the online trailer for the theatrical spectacular Monkey: Journey to the West performing at Lincoln Center, I couldn’t help but think it was going to be a completely mind blowing experience.

Check out the trailer:

You see what I mean?! An action-packed retelling of one of China’s most beloved stories and featuring the creative talents of the guys behind Gorillaz:

I’ve long been a fan of Gorillaz, blending of stylistic influences and the way they fully created a visual world in which the band’s music could live, using the artwork of co-creator Jamie Hewlett. I’ve also recently become a fan of Journey to the West after being introduced to the text by “Journey from the East” advisory committee members Dr. Norman Girardot and Dr. Connie Cook. I’d learned so much in such a short time about this Chinese staple, and now to have this new production arriving in New York and wrapped in a Gorillaz package… How timely! How perfect!

What could go wrong?

Oh god…

What could go right?!

This thing turned out to be a complete dud. Completely devoid of a worthy script or direction, hosting one of the most anemic sounding pit bands I’ve ever heard and featuring a base cast that couldn’t seem to even march in time together – “Monkey” increasingly disappointed with the passing of each of its 120 minutes (no intermission). Even the animated video sequences, which feature so prevalent in the trailer, were not integrated uniformly into the piece and had almost disappeared by the show’s mid-point. When they did show up… well, let’s just say it was less than awesome.

Alas, someone should have given this “Monkey” a hand grenade…

The play also made Lisa a sad monkey.

The play also made Lisa a sad monkey.

Then I saw this teaser:

What the…?

How can I not be completely excited by a Journey to the West adaptation by my favorite Chinese film maker Stephen Chow?

The world, it taunts me.

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