Monkeys - they're like us in so many ways. They share 99.9% of our genes, star in television commercials and sleep with Michael Jackson. Maybe that crackpot Charles Darwin was onto something after all. Just like their more evolved human brethren, primates just love the limelight and are frequently seen monkeying around on-screen; it's scientifically proven that a film can be made up to 25% funnier by throwing a gorilla in the mix. With that, we celebrate the most awesome apes in cinema history, from chimpan-A to chimpanzee. Oh, and we're conveniently ignoring all kinds of monkey/ape definitions in favour of good old-fashioned monkey business, so bite me.
10. JACK in the MOST VALUABLE PRIMATE series
If you thought all monkeys are good for was scratching their arses and sniffing their fingers, then think again - this chimp is more athletic than you, better at sports and probably gets laid more often than you do too. Whether or not the NHL would let a chimpanzee play hockey in real life remains to be seen (with all that equipment on, there may well be a few playing already) but Jack wastes no time in making his homo sapien opponents look very stupid indeed. When he was done with ice hockey, he turned his hairy wee hands to skateboarding in the sequel - Most Vertical Primate - before rounding off the best monkey trilogy ever with MXP: Most Extreme Primate. With a pedigree like that, he'd walk into the England football team.
Catching some serious vert in MVP 2. Monkeys on skateboards = it's the future.
9. BONE-WIELDING MONKEY in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
Man has come along away over the last few millennia, but we're definitely still part monkey. Back at the dawn of man, when apes roamed the Earth freely, all it took was a giant black monolith to make them realise that bones could be used for more than just picking your teeth. Take a look at the simian nature of US warlord George W. Bush as he wields the world's most deadly weapons and there's not a whole lot of difference. The primates in the opening scenes of Stanley Kubrick's epic sci-fi don't do much apart from scream, snarl and bash things, but they plant the seed for man's future destructive nature. Legend has it the movie was passed over for an honorary Make-Up Oscar because the head of the panel thought the director used real monkeys. What a dumbass.
Realising that bones can be used as weapons. But not sexy weapons.
8. SUZANNE in JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK
First seen in the closing credits of Kevin Smith's Mallrats (with her title tune from Weezer playing over the top), Suzanne makes her first proper movie appearance in Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back. The clueless stoners break into an animal testing facility and end up with a new companion - a friendly female orang-u-tan. Jay isn't so sure she's on his side (leading to his Planet Of The Apes-style future vision, in a world where "we will not spank the monkey, the monkey will spank us!") but comes round when their new orange buddy helps them escape police capture after dressing as his child. Suzanne's sexuality is also called into question by pie-fucker Jason Biggs, when he queries: "How do you know he doesn't smoke monkey pole?" What a lovely mental image.
Flying through a 'Moonraper' poster in a top E.T. pastiche.
7. KING LOUIE in THE JUNGLE BOOK
Well oobee-dooh, we wanna be like you-ooh-ooh. The flame-haired, self-styled King of the Swingers is like the Don Corleone of the jungle - you don't mess with a guy with his own personal monkey butlers. The Jungle V.I.P. just wants to be walk and talk like a man, and because he's a sucker for a good beat, serenades feral Amazon child Mowgli in order to learn the secret of man's red fire. King Louie's talents seem never-ending; not only is he a fine lyricist, he's a master of the finger trumpet and even excels at human beatbox (well, not human
). The result is one of Disney's finest musical moments; a song that's guaranteed to get your toes tapping. As Baloo the bear says: "I am gone, man! Solid gone!"
Trading nonsensical scat rhymes with Baloo.
6. JACK in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN
This little imp was named after Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow and causes just as much trouble as his namesake. He's also cinema's first ever indestructible primate, affected as he was by the pirate's curse and destined to be monkey by day, skeleton by night. A mischievous little fellow, he serves Captain Barbossa in the first movie, before being captured by Jack Sparrow in the second and offered as payment to ancient crone Tia Dalma. Ignoring various animal rights organisations, Sparrow takes great pleasure in shooting his monkey in the face to relieve frustration, much to little Jack's annoyance. He doesn't know how lucky he is; how many tailors are there on the high seas who can fit a monkey for a pirate's outfit?
His post-credit appearance in the first Pirates movie. Boo!
Movie monkeys numbers 5-1! >>>>