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A MONKEY'S TALE
aka LE CHATEAU DES SINGES
USA: Harvey Entertainment Company
UK: Miracle Communications Ltd
Cast: John Hurt, Michael York, Rik Mayall, Michael Gambon, Matt Hill, Sally-Anne Marsh, Shirley Anne Field, Diana Quick
Director: Jean-Francois Laguionie
Countries: France / Germany / UK
Languages: French / English
USA: 76 mins
UK: 78 mins
USA Rated: G
UK Certificate: PG for some mild bad language
USA Release Date: 26 January 2001 (Limited Release)
UK Release Date: 26 May 2000
An earthquake triggers a flood that sweeps across forests of the savannah, starting off a chain of events that will change forever the lives of a peaceful monkey community. Desperately, the monkeys search for safety. Some climb up to the treetops, whilst others fall but manage to survive by clinging to the roots. The cataclysm effectively creates two monkey communities which, as centuries pass, completely forget that they lived as one. The Laankos remain firmly on the ground; the Woonkos live like traditional monkeys in the treetops. Both are superstitious and ignorant of the other.
When the mischievously rebellious Kom (Matt Hill), refusing to heed the advice of the Woonko soothsayer Korkonak, swings down a ravine and loses his grip, he plunges from his home high in the treetops, and seems destined for certain death. But a lucky fall and a whim of the Laanko King mean that his life is spared and he is instead transported alive into the monkey castle.
Terrified when he first regains consciousness because he believes Master Martin and Gina are the demons that Korkonak taught him about, he quickly adapts to his new surroundings, gets an education from the royal physician Master Martin, and starts to enjoy himself at court, even teaching a few things there himself. The King is lonely, a dreamer, bored, and cannot help but make the entertaining Kom his favourite. This attention blinds Kom to the danger around him from the courtiers led by the evil Sebastian, his comic side-kick Gerard, and the traitorous Governess. The King's crusade to finally bring a sense of pride to his people leads to his untimely demise.
Together with Gina, the feisty maid he "falls" for, Kom uncovers Chancellor Sebastian's plot to overthrow the King, kill his terminally-ill daughter Princess Ida and seize power.
After much climbing, duelling, flying, laughter and tears, they manage to save the day, return to Kom's family in the treetops, and put an end once and for all to the centuries of prejudice, loathing and fear which have divided the monkeys.
A MONKEY'S TALE also features the exclusive track 'We Are One' performed by Westlife, the Irish boy band. Produced by Steve Walsh, Patrick Moine and Gerd Hecker with the screenplay is by Norman Hudis.