Movie Review: "Chimpanzee"

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“Chimpanzee” (Walt Disney Pictures)

“Chimpanzee” is a true life nature adventure movie that it seems only Disney can do. This one examines a rain forest in Africa which is the home to tribes of chimpanzees. In one of these tribes is a baby chimp named Oscar and the movie follows him and his family. The movie is only an hour and ten minutes long and the period of time we watch Oscar and his life covers a few months.

This is definitely a family friendly film and it is filmed and processed in such a way that children of all ages can enjoy it. There are some dramatic occurrences in the movie, such as a “Bambi” moment,” but they all take place off camera. Parents may have to explain what happened but that is certainly better than having your kid scared by a gruesome happening.

There is also a lot of comedy in the film. Oscar is a playful young chimpanzee and he is constantly doing things that kids will find hilarious. For adults there is the plus of having Tim Allen doing the narration. He brings that unique Allen delivery to the narrative lines and seems to add in some extra comments as only Tim Allen can do.

The basic plot has two tribes of chimpanzees fighting over some area of the rain forest where there are plentiful nut trees. Oscar’s tribe is led by a grown chimp named “Freddie.” The opposing tribe is led by a mean chimp named “Scar.” Who are you going to put your money on?

The plot is not the essential draw to the film, and neither is the comedy. What people come to this kind of movie to see is the photography and that is where “Chimpanzee” excels. It is amazing how the camera records everything but never seems to intrude. We get candid shots of the adorable Oscar and he is never seemingly aware of the camera. He just does his thing and the camera records it.

Because the camera does not record the violence of the story, the tale is weakened. When there is a fight between the chimps, you see some shaking trees but not the actual chimps in conflict. The narrator tells us what happened. This telling of the drama is not nearly as effective as seeing it would have been.

The movie is rated G for the entire family.

“Chimpanzee” is a good movie for kids. It isn’t an outstanding one. This whole movie could have been shown on TV and had just as much impact. Seeing it on the big screen adds nothing to its message or enjoyment value.

I scored “Chimpanzee” a monkeying around 6 out of 10.

Photo courtesy of: Walt Disney Pictures

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