while youngs first effort for donnie yen, the monkey king, was aimed at making use of martial arts and stunts to make a film, the monkey king 2 provides a more cerebral experience. whereas youngs previous score featured prominently in almost every scene and action sequence, the monkey king 2 comprises a number of suites that are each devoted to a particular character within the story. while this is certainly a departure from youngs first score, it is also not as random or isolated as one might think. there are several characters that receive their own soundscapes, some smaller scenes devoted to only a certain instrument or vocal effects, and a number of ideas that are repeated across the entire score. the first is the titular character, sun wukong, who is the lead protagonist of the film and of the novel from which it is based. sun wukong is a particularly interesting character because he is not a prince, but is instead a monkey who becomes a supernatural being through the power of the magical stone with which he is born. another character who receives a distinct soundscape is his sidekick, the ethereal tang sanzang, who has a number of scenes based on the sound of the wind and blowing through a reed, much like youngs own score for the myth. additionally, youngs use of ethnic instruments on the monkey king 2, particularly the chinese erhu and pipa, provides a common thread that runs through the entire film, and works in conjunction with other soundscapes to create a common sonic experience for the entire story.
there is a lot to love about the music of the monkey king 2. there are several different types of themes, including action, spiritual, and historical, and the music is performed by a mix of ethnic and non-ethnic instruments. much of it is, of course, inspired by the chinese classics, particularly the zither, pipa, and erhu. there are also several themes that have a distinctly western flavor, as well as some that use ethnic instrumentation and strong rhythmic elements. the musical choices made by young are an enjoyable listen, and one can easily imagine these sounds being performed live as an orchestra. for the most part, the monkey king 2 uses a similar approach to the myth, with its use of ethnic instruments, hand percussion, and a mix of instruments, but the monkey king 2 is more concerned with the character development of its lead protagonist and his journey to india, which means the music is more mature and contemplative than youngs previous work. and for the most part, the use of ethnic instruments does not overwhelm the other instruments on the soundtrack. instead, they work harmoniously, providing an organic sound, which is pleasing to the ear. 3d9ccd7d82