Alakazam The Great NR CC

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(24) IMDb 5.7/10
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A Japanese-made animated feature in which an arrogant monkey is forced to go on a journey where he learns about gluttony, greed, love and humility.

Starring:
Kiyoshi Komiyama, Noriko Shindô
Runtime:
1 hour 25 minutes

Alakazam The Great

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Product Details

Genres Fantasy, Adventure, Music, Kids & Family
Director Daisaku Shirakawa, Taiji Yabushita, Osamu Tezuka
Starring Kiyoshi Komiyama, Noriko Shindô
Supporting actors Hideo Kinoshita, Setsuo Shinoda, Nobuaki Sekine, Kunihisa Takeda, Katsuko Ozaki, Michiko Shirasaka, Kinshirô Iwao, Tamae Kato, Shigeru Kawakubo, Shûichi Kazamatsuri, Frankie Avalon, Sterling Holloway, Jackie Joseph, Kiyoshi Kawakubo, Arnold Stang, Dodie Stevens, Jonathan Winters, Peter Fernandez
Studio MGM
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

No problems with my video.
esobud2
Watching it again after so many years brought back such fond memories of the holiday's...... Love it and thank you so much!!
sandy
At the end, we applaud Monkey as he truly learns the concepts of love, humility and virtue.
Wei C. Wong

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Brian Camp on July 14, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
ALAKAZAM THE GREAT (1961) was the English-dubbed version of the Japanese animated feature, SAIYUKI (1960), an adaptation of "Journey to the West," the Chinese literary work devoted to the famous legend of the Monkey King. It was distributed in the U.S. by American International Pictures and featured a whole new music score, four new songs and a host of celebrity voices, including Jonathan Winters, Arnold Stang, Sterling Holloway and, as the singing voice of the Monkey King, Frankie Avalon.
The English dub goes a long way towards divorcing the material from its cultural context, reducing the original mission of its characters, bringing Buddhist scriptures to China from India, to simply a "pilgrimage." It also gives ridiculous new names to all of the characters, including Buddha himself (called King Amo here) and the Emperor of Heaven (renamed Merlin the Magician!). Goku, the Monkey King, is called Alakazam, and Pigsy, the shape-shifting pig, is dubbed Sir Quigley Brokenbottom. The new songs have little to do with the original story and tend to slow things down considerably.
Still, it's a beautifully animated piece with rich color and at least a semblance of the original legend. Most importantly for today's young audiences, it depicts the cultural antecedents of the popular "Dragon Ball" cartoon TV series, which is shown on the Cartoon Network and available on home video. Identical points of reference include the flying nimbus cloud and power pole employed by Alakazam/Goku, the same tools possessed by the hero of "Dragon Ball," also named Goku. Oolong, the cowardly, lecherous pig seen in "Dragon Ball," is clearly modeled on Pigsy/Sir Quigley, who also has the power to transform and an eye for the ladies.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Wei C. Wong on September 8, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This 1961 liberal remake of the Journey to the West is a good film for our children. Although Monkey starts off as a sympathic character, children will quickly condemn him for his selfishness and arrogance. Children will learn -- as they learned in Spider-Man -- that with great power comes great responsibility. At the end, we applaud Monkey as he truly learns the concepts of love, humility and virtue. Our youths need more films like Alakazam.

This is a animation of one of the most well-known stories in Asia is "Journey to the West" by Ch'eng En Wu, excellently translated by Arthur Waley. The fictional story revolves around three characters: a monk, who is full of reason and compassion; a mischievous monkey, who has an almost human physique, an uncanny ability to discern good from evil, and who could converse with humans; and Piggy, who is loud, boisterous, greedy, and has an enormous appetite. By the Chinese Emperor's decree, the monk had undertaken a twenty-year journey to India, to bring back Buddha's scriptures. Along the way, the monk's compassion, coupled with his naiveté of the depravity of man, often placed him in danger. To protect the monk, Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy, arranged for the monkey to protect him, and for Piggy to carry his load.
Now, the monkey was a real rogue! Buddha himself had imprisoned him in rock so tightly that he could only move one arm. He had vast magical powers, which he had used to cause great havoc in heaven and which, of course, resulted in his imprisonment of 500 years. Freed from his confinement, the monkey received instruction from the monk, and also served as a teacher to the monk. Along the way, despite many setbacks, the monkey learned that great power must be exercised with great humility.

Journey to the West is available on Amazon.com. I would recommend Out of Chaos, China 2026 CE where the Monkey King makes a modern appearance.

All of the above are HIGHLY recommended.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 18, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
I saw this movie when I was 5 and remember it vividly. I recently bought a copy, and enjoyed seeing it again and showing it to my daughter. As an adult I can view it more critically, but I still love it, and I'm glad it has such a large following.
SG
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 21, 2009
Format: DVD
I took my sister to see it when she was 11 in 1964. I watched it with her son when he was about that age, and then again with her grandson. This movie is ageless and a wonderful example for children. I could only wish that the original would be released without the reediting that was done to make it more "acceptable" for western audiences. We should be able to understand and allow for other belief systems.

Some anime watchers might be interested in this previous version of the Saiyuki legend. It is a little closer to epic tale as originally told.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Wei C. Wong on March 29, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
This 1961 liberal remake of the Journey to the West is a good film for our children. Although Monkey starts off as a sympathic character, children will quickly condemn him for his selfishness and arrogance. Children will learn -- as they learned in Spider-Man -- that with great power comes great responsibility. At the end, we applaud Monkey as he truly learns the concepts of love, humility and virtue. Our youths need more films like Alakazam. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rocky on April 22, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The copy I purchased from "sterlingmw" is a DVD-R, "manufactured" by Congress Entertainment. It looks like it came from a VHS tape and is middling quality, with no menu or extras. However, I enjoyed this movie as a child when it was released in 1961, and it is great to see it again. It is too bad the story and characters were changed for American audiences (see other reviews). I recall that is was rather popular at the time. Since American audiences are more sophisticated these days, it would nice to see the original Japanese movie released.
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