Chimpanzee

"Good"

Chimpanzee Review


Disney shamelessly plays the cute card here, turning what could be a revealing documentary into something almost painfully adorable. We can't help but smile and sigh all the way through this delightful adventure, even though everything has been bent to make these wild creatures as human as possible. Frankly, this does a huge disservice to the realities of nature. But it does make the film a lot more engaging.

The camera crew traveled to the deepest rainforests of Ivory Coast in West Africa, where they follow a young monkey they name Oscar. He's being raised by his loving mother Isha, who teaches him how to crack nuts, collect berries and mash his fruit. Their clan is led by the aloof but benevolent Freddy, who helps protect them from outside threats. The main danger comes from a neighbouring valley, where the greedy Scar leads his band of thuggish chimps on raids into Freddy's peaceful paradise. And when Isha is killed in one of these attacks, Oscar struggles to fit in with his extended family. With nothing to lose, he turns to Freddy himself, with unexpected results.

There's a genuinely amazing story at the heart of this film: alpha males almost never adopt scruffy under-aged orphans as their own. And the growing bond between Oscar and Freddy is astonishing to watch. But then Oscar is so relentlessly cuddly that he'd probably even melt Scar's heart given half the chance. Unfortunately, the filmmakers paint Scar as pure evil, vilifying him so completely that they actually undermine the law of the jungle. And all of this is further manipulated by Allen's trite narration and an annoyingly obvious score.

The filmmakers briefly touch on some more interesting elements of life in the rainforest, such as Freddy's remarkably tactical attack on another monkey species. But the on-screen violence is kept to a minimum (it looks like Oscar is eating chicken rather than a neighbour). All of this is shot so beautifully that it's worth seeing on the largest screen possible. But be warned: Disney has carefully crafted this movie to make you want to buy a plush toy version of Oscar. And they're very good at what they do.

Rich Cline



Chimpanzee

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 78 mins

In Theaters: Friday 20th April 2012

Production compaines: Disneynature

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Alastair Fothergill, Mark Linfield

Producer: Alastair Fothergill, Mark Linfield, Alix Tidmarsh

Starring: as narrator

Also starring:

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