Friday, April 21, 2017
Monkey, the cult television series starring Masaaki Sakai, Toshiyuki Nishida, Shiro Kishibe, and Masako Natsume, is being whitewashed for a 2018 reboot. The new joint production between the ABC, Netflix and TVNZ will star Chai Hansen, Luciane Buchanan, Josh Thomson, and Emilie Cocquerel.
TV studios might own the legal rights to the old TV show, and I appreciate that could be the mechanism by which this reboot is being made possible (despite there having been at least half a dozen remakes in Asia over the past 20 years). But Monkey is ultimately a Chinese story, one of the few passed down through the dynasties. It’s as quintessentially Chinese as King Arthur is English.
How would people feel if, hypothetically, Ang Lee decided he wanted to make a Chinese version of King Arthur? With Chow Yun Fat as Arthur, in medieval garb? And Takeshi Kaneshiro as Launcelot? And Zhang Zi Yi as Morgana le Fay? I would probably watch the living shit out something like that, but it just wouldn’t be right, would it?
And whatever misgivings you may have about Guy Ritchie as a film-maker, as far as I’m concerned King Arthur is a tale that is exclusively for the English to screw up: it’s his culturally-inherited right.
But back to Monkey. What exactly is supposed to happen when this merry band of Caucasians encounter the gods and demons of China and India? Will they be whitewashed too? Have the showrunners even thought that far?
Ideas should not belong to the creatively bankrupt.
About today’s photo: if this half-arsed effort can pass for Monkey, then so can I.