As one of the most heavily-adapted literary works in history, you’re never too far away from seeing an iteration of 16th Century novel Journey to the West on your screen, and there’s two of them with identical titles waging war on rival streaming services after 2014’s The Monkey King renewed hostilities.
At the time of writing, Netflix’s animated version is currently the number one most-watched feature on the platform’s global charts, which may have played a part in the first chapter in the Chinese fantasy trilogy returning to the spotlight of its own accord over on iTunes, per FlixPatrol.
Of course, the Netflix original is merely the 42nd loose or faithful translation of the tale to have made it to either the big or small screen since the turn of the millennium alone, and it’s not even the first to debut this year by any stretch of the imagination. And yet, you can’t help but feel The Monkey King‘s resurgence on-demand at the exact same time a project with the exact same moniker is ruling the roost on the market-leading streamer isn’t quite a coincidence.
It was a huge hit at the time, though, earning upwards of $180 million at the box office in spite of reviews from critics and crowds that could generously be described as underwhelming, and even in the nine years since its release it hasn’t clambered above a 26 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
The ambition is certainly there, of that there’s no doubt, but it’s nowhere close to being the best of the countless tellings of its source material.
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