Part 19: Sister Purity
Sunday, 29 May 2011
Wednesday, 25 May 2011
So yeah, they find a land where the people make Pigsy their god-king. Pigsy, of course, loves this (it goes to his head immediately), even when the evil-spirit-of-the-week turns him into a giant statue so he can be worshiped forever.
Tripitaka is visited by the ghost of the previous king, murdered and usurped by the Red Hog Demon who now plans to sacrifice the king's daughter and heir to the new pig-god.
We've seen this plot done before in Monkey, with only the Pigsy-as-god sub-plot to keep things interesting. Pigsy himself spends most of the episode as a statue, and so isn't in it much, although there is a good moment when Monkey (inevitably) fights with the demon and the two of them cloud fly and duel around the giant Pigsy statue.
There is also the matter of the princess, who is one of the strongest female characters in the series (she doesn't fall in love with Tripitaka at all). Once Monkey has liberated her from prison - which she could have escaped from by herself only she had promised the demon she wouldn't - she quickly takes charge of the rebels against the Red Hog Demon.
The actresses playing the princess give an eccentric (yet distinctive and fitting) performance - I would say a mix of childlike naivety with intelligence (it is her that comes up with the plan to disarm the Red Hog Demon of his magic bamboo, not Monkey) and charisma - that, once again for this series, is perfectly matched by both the physical actress and voice-actress.
Not the strongest episode of Monkey, but worthwhile in its own way.
Monday, 23 May 2011
Wow! I've just learned there is another Star Trek film that I've never seen before! I read about it on the internets and now I am very excited.
I know Duncan has it on video in his big box of Star Trek films but he told me that there were only five Star Trek films with Captain Kirk in them and I have seen all of those.
Now I know there is another one and what is even more exciting is that it was written and directed by William Shatner as well as him being Captain Kirk in it!
It must be the best Star Trek ever because of that, I can't wait to see it.
Sunday, 22 May 2011
This episode does not get off to a particularly auspicious start, when in the first 10 minutes (give or take) not much happens beyond the pilgrims hiding in a cave from a blizzard and then bickering about which one of them should self-sacrifice so the others can eat him.
Tripitaka volunteers to be eaten. Pigsy is very much against it being himself that is chosen. Guess which one ends up going out for a walk in the snow?
"Pigsy is learning too. A coward and a cheat; he is growing more human. He is a long way from the enlightenment which transcends humanity. He is a long way too from the bottom of the cliff, down which he is about to fall."
While Pigsy survives the cold and the cliff by cloud-flying - the first time he has demonstrated this ability in the series - the others believe they have eaten him when, in fact, they have eaten the body of a real pig.
Monkey and Sandy hid the fact that it was "Pigsy" from Tripitaka, since he would have died had he not eaten anything, but when the priest finds out and thinks he has eaten Pigsy then he goes a little mad and starts believing - and acting as though - he is possessed by Pigsy's ghost.
This leads on to the delightfully bonkers second half of the episode, when Tripitaka goes off and acts like Pigsy - stealing things and chasing girls. This eventually leads to a scene where Tripitaka visits a disco and dances with a group of women to the Monkey theme tune.
This scene is quite the highlight of the episode. And the fact that Tripitaka has gone to a disco in ancient China is only overshadowed by the fact that the only song we hear them play is the Monkey theme.
(As an aside, I think that the first time I saw this episode was the first time I ever heard the second verse to the theme tune.)
After this, the real Pigsy, who has been looking for the impostor who has been pretending to be him - and having much more success with the girls while doing so - finds Tripitaka and, after a bit of thinking each other to be ghosts, everyone is reunited.
A very thin plot, but definitely worth watching for the disco scene alone.
Saturday, 21 May 2011
Sunday, 15 May 2011
Friday, 13 May 2011
This is a good one. Tripitaka has a fever and seems to be dying, while at the same time a vampire is murdering innocent girls in the town where they are staying. Pigsy and Monkey hunt the vampire and, trapping it between them, they see it is Tripitaka.
By showing us, the viewers, that Tripitaka is the vampire, it keeps us guessing as to what exactly is going on - is it an impostor, or is it something to do with his illness that has made Tripitaka a vampire?
Tripitaka is arrested along with the others, except for Monkey who claims to have turned against them and Buddhism. This leaves Monkey free to investigate and he discovers the real shapechanging vampires. He exposes them to the king and Tripitaka is cleared.
This is a relatively straightforward story, but well-executed, and uses each of the characters well - Pigsy seems a little out-of-character at one point, in readily volunteering to find the vampire, but really he just wants to show off and it is, of course, Monkey's cunning that saves the day.
Sunday, 8 May 2011
Saturday, 7 May 2011
The website Monkey Heaven's page on this episode calls the magic lake that the locusts are questing for "Lake Lok-Nor." While watching it, I was imagining it more as the tautological "Lake Loch Nor."
This minor quibble aside, this is a good, quite complex story with lots of characters. The locusts, led by their magician-queen, are looking for the magic lake "Lok-Nor" which moves around of its own accord, seemingly at random. Wherever the locusts go (in their "tens of millions" as the Narrator puts it) they devastate human communities by causing famine and death.
The plot keeps moving throughout and it would take more effort than I can be bothered with to summarise it, so I will just mention some of the highlights:
Pigsy is afraid of the locusts and faints, and Monkey puts him in a "natural ice cavern" (complete with refrigerator-style door) to recover.
Sandy's first encounter with the locust queen results in her magic giving him a pig's snout in place of his nose, upsetting him greatly while amusing Monkey. Monkey does eventually reverse the spell.
Monkey is unable to defeat the locust queen at their first meeting, due to her magic powers, but he does eventually save her from her generals when they attempt to murder her.
Eventually Sandy and Monkey combine their magic powers to create a new lake for the locusts to live by. Presumably, while it may be magic, this one doesn't move about.