Havoc in Heaven
Ages 4 & Up .In Havoc in Heaven, our show-off hero is determined to prove to the Emperor of Heaven that he is more than equal to any of the celestial warriors or ministers. But first he trains and fine-tunes his own little monkey army, then he sets off to equip himself with his trademark hero’s weapon. Only then is he ready for a show-down with the Jade Emperor of Heaven. Epic battles are fought, and eventually all the lords and ladies of Heaven must run for cover as Monkey King runs amok. The supreme Buddha is the only one capable of reigning in the rampaging simian— and he does it with the strangest of wagers. (Amazon.com)
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Foreign Languages Press
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Havoc in Heaven Review by Oliver Jia
Oliver Jia, NCTA Student Worker
Havoc in Heaven is a classic of Chinese animation and for decades has been considered one of the best adaptations of Journey to the West (Xi You Ji) and the Monkey King character. Its vibrant art, Beijing Opera-inspired score, and dazzling movement greatly impressed Chinese audiences during its release shortly before the Cultural Revolution, while its distribution outside of China allowed non-Chinese speaking audiences to experience it as well. The film (originally in two parts) is not as well-known to Americans due to lack of distribution, but many artistic depictions of the Monkey King for children are often heavily based, if not taken entirely, from the Wan brothers’ designs seen here.
This picture book features the same beautiful artwork with accompanying text telling the same narrative, but it could never hold a candle to actually seeing the animation in motion. Since Havoc in Heaven is a children’s story there is no concern over content, but a younger crowd would easily be more entertained by the actual film. It can easily be found on sites like ChinaSprout and English subtitles are readily available online, but there is very little dialogue to begin with. Seek the film out over the book.