Set in a mythical forest in which monkeys have been divided into two tribes by a flood or something, the story centres on a tree-top Woonko called Kom (voiced by Hill), who falls to earth and meets the earth-bound Laankos. These grounded guys think they're far more civilised, wearing Merchant Ivory robes and quoting Shakespeare (!) as they talk about the G-string-clad savages who live in the foliage above them. But both tribes are ruled by superstition and fear, and it's up to Kom, his new girlfriend Gina (Marsh) and a kindly professor (Gambon) to save the earth-kingdom from the evil Chancellor (Hurt), who with his Mr Toad-like sidekick (Mayall) is plotting to overthrow the King (York).
It's not bad enough that the story is appallingly stupid, without any emotion, suspense or humour. The character design is so unattractive that you actually flinch when anyone enters a scene. And what's the deal with a film called A Monkey's Tale in which the monkeys don't have tails? All right, I'll say something nice: At least the animation is mostly hand-drawn; the watercolour backgrounds give you something lovely to look at while avoiding the hideous foregrounds. And the tiger looked OK. And the unmemorable songs (including a closing theme by, er, Westlife) aren't completely awful. But this is substandard Saturday-morning animation that will only appeal to the very young and undemanding. I wouldn't inflict it on anyone.
[PG--some violence] 21.May.00
UK release 26.May.00; US release 26.Jan.01
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