This rebellious clash with the authorities in heaven and subsequent welcoming by the clamoring masses has inspired commentators to draw comparisons between Sun Wukong and various figures from Chinese history. But the Monkey King is first and foremost a timeless character, and as such remains an inspiring model; “Uproar in Heaven” is a manifesto for all those strong and intrepid spirits that desire to stand out and make themselves heard. “Uproar in Heaven 3D” is fundamentally a commercial endeavor, but might help to inspire interest in the tale among younger generations. However, it’s not the first reinterpretation of the movie. A high-budget remake complete with whizz-bang computer graphics was also released in 1996, and there are a variety of plans in the pipeline to bring more of Sun Wukong’s adventures to TV and the big screen in the near future.

Still, one of the peculiar values of the 3D edition is its integration of tradition with innovation, past and future, as demonstrated by the black and white stills of the original production work that roll during the final credits as a tribute to Wan and his crew.

But despite all the technological trickery and modern re-styling, the original version from the sixties is the only big-screen rendering that, like the Monkey King himself, will live long in the memory. With its lavish colors, stuttering animation, operatic soundtrack and visionary imagery, it has the charm and appeal of that old doll or teddy bear you used to love as a kid. It also feels like it was created when animation was new and exciting, and you can feel the fun the team had in bringing one of China’s favorite stories to a brand new medium.