Reviewed by: Christopher Okkerse
Starring: Michael Ontkean, Leslie Hope, Wilford Brimley, Corey Sevier, Katie Stuart, Don Francks, André Thérien | Director: Michael Anderson | Writing credits: Wilson Rawls (book), Jim Strain
“Summer of the Monkeys” has it all… action, adventure, conflict and humor. It will grab the attention of both children and adults. The story is set in the pioneer days of North America. Beautiful panoramic photography of prairie homesteads, vast skies and stunning sunsets take the audience back to a simpler place in time. But this simple place in time is anything but for one young family.
Meet Jay. He dreams of one day owning a pony. With an unusual occurrence, his dream comes within his reach one day when a passenger train derails, allowing some very talented and valuable circus monkeys their escape. Jay, during a routine walk in the woods, stumbles onto the monkeys whereabouts and discovers that a reward has been offered for their recovery. He then devises a plan to capture the monkeys, collect the reward, and purchase his pony. The only problem is that the monkeys have their own little plan and are much smarter then he expected. With problems surfacing in his plan, Jay enlists the help of someone older and wiser—Grandpa (Wilford Brimley).
Grandpa uses this opportunity to teach the boy some valuable lessons. Lessons unrelated to catching monkeys, but focusing instead on making right decisions in life and putting one’s God-given intelligence to work.
The “Summer of the Monkeys” is one of the most Christ-honoring films I have ever had the pleasure of viewing. The film uses references to scripture and to God. God is sometimes referred to as “The Old Man On The Mountain.” One of the things that I appreciated most about the film is that there is no positive candy coated view of sin. Instead the film shows some of the true consequences of sin verses the rewards of selfless sacrifice and doing the right thing. Lessons important for any age.
Year of Release—1998