Sun Wukong, you poor bastard.
Never before has a legendary character fallen so far for grace, for the Monkey King was recently seen at Beijing Railway Station standing in line purchasing tickets for a train.
As the Monkey King is a famous character in Chinese literature ubiquitous in his Chinese media appearances, this could very well be a viral marketing stunt for the next installment of the annual Monkey King film, this time played by Donnie Yen and to be released very soon. But even as amateur cosplay or as a Chinese opera performer who has wandered far from the stage left exit, this appearance of Sun Wukong shows a terrible lack of understanding of the original story from whence he appeared, Journey to the West, a quality that seems to linger with every subsequent adaptation.
First of all, the Monkey King doesn’t take the train. Before a “cloud” was something to store your mp3’s on or something to be seeded with silver iodide by municipally-ordained raindancers, the Monkey King was flying around from Earth to Heaven in his very own personal transport device. And if this commute proves to be too slow, Sun Wukong has the ability to travel 54,000 kilometers (108,000 li) in one somersault; it was with such a leap that the Monkey King traveled to the end of the universe, save for the five pillars that (SPOILER) ultimately proved to be Buddha’s five fingers.
Secondly, the Monkey King doesn’t line up. “The Great Sage, Equal of Heaven” is a badass who doesn’t take orders from anyone. Unparalleled in hand-to-hand combat, Sun Wukong is the trickster that ate the Jade Empress’ Peaches because he felt like it. The rampaging Monkey King is only able to be controlled via a head-torture device, and it has only been Steven Chow’s recent version of Journey to the West that has truthfully portrayed the Monkey King as what he is: a stone cold killa, G.
Lastly, the Monkey King doesn’t have luggage. Though his staff weighs 8,100 kg, it changes size to the size of a pin and fits behind his ear. Whatever earthly possession he may be carrying are irrelevant for a mystical being that can make 72 transformations into various animal shapes; it’s tough to find pants that fit all of those different-sized waists.
A Henan student studying at Beijing Film Academy appears to be the “man inside the suit”; he explains he did it to “boost morale” among fellow travelers along the journey. And yet, does the Monkey King really even need to travel? Ever since the end of the Journey of the West, Sun Wukong attained Buddhahood for his meritorious service and lacked the need to travel anywhere because no matter where he went, there he was.