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Uproar in Heaven

Wan Laiming

Sun Wukong — the King of the Monkeys — sets off on his first adventure to gain a worthy weapon. This earns the attention of the Jade Emperor of Heaven. It follows his antics and misbehavior against the Jade Emperor’s court, leading the hosts of Heaven to attempt to punish him.

Uproar in Heaven is a classic Chinese animated film. It is an adaptation of the classic Chinese legend Journey to the West. The film was a production by brothers Wan Laiming and Wan Guchan, the acknowledged pioneers of the Chinese animation industry. Shortly after the film was released, the Wan Brothers’ studio was shut down by the Cultural Revolution. Uproar in Heaven has not been widely seen in English-speaking countries, it having never been released in the US and not officially dubbed or subtitled into English until 2012.

There has been an enormous quality of animation that has been afforded to the film (at least, in terms of what were the boundaries of the form for the era). The film comes in an eye-popping range of colours and is directed with an enormous degree of energy. It takes a little time for one to get used to it but as soon as the action scenes kick in, the film is fast paced. The scenes with Monkey King fighting various opponents, outwitting the forces of Heaven and running amok, all the while giving a gleeful giggle of mischief, are psychedelically eye-popping. (Indeed, this is a film that one suspects would instantly become a whole lot more enjoyable when seen ‘under the influence’). The battle scenes contain some of the most epic animation that this era ever produced. The climactic scenes with Monkey King and opponent changing into a variety of animal forms at lightning speed are far superior to the similar ones that take place in the Disney film of this period The Sword in the Stone (1963).


  • 5/6 | 7:00PM
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