It’s Earth Day weekend and that means a new film from Disney Nature. This year, it’s Chimpanzee but can little Oscar sustain the film?
At its best, Chimpanzee shows how close this species is to humans. Children play in trees as adults try to nap. Parents teach their children valuable life skills and they play tricks on each other. Actually, connecting the watcher into the lives of the animals on the film has always been a strength of Disney Nature. African Cats last year was especially moving.
The cinematography is bright and beautiful despite the harsh conditions the filmmakers endured. This time, the credits detail the making of the film which is a really nice touch. In previous years, you had to watch these parts online or wait for the DVD. Giant waterfalls, towering trees and bioluminescent mushrooms dot the landscape. It’s gorgeous to see on such a large screen.
Oscar, the protagonist, is adorable. His story sounds like it could easily be one of their animated films. A plucky young boy is born into a troop of chimpanzees and is raised by his mother before becoming entrenched in life-threatening situations. The film would have been quite exciting and suspenseful except for two things. The first problem is the trailer. No one thinking of seeing the film should see the trailer. While people often complain about trailers giving away the entire film, they would be absolutely right in the case of Chimpanzee. The trailer makes the film appear to be about a plot twist that doesn’t occur until the last fifteen minutes and because it does reveal this twist, it deflates a lot of the tension about how Oscar is going to survive.
The other problem is Tim Allen as the narrator. While he’s veteran voice over actor, including the Toy Story trilogy, either Allen himself or the script has inserted a large number of jokes into the film. Considering how amusing the animals can be by themselves, it just wasn’t necessary to have a constant barrage of “witty” observations that became very grating. Even with the short running time of 77 minutes, it seemed a little long at times because of Tim Allen’s jokes and knowing the ending beforehand without realizing it.
However, Chimpanzee is still a cute movie that’s striking on the big screen. Plus, if you go during the first week, your admission ticket will go to help the real Chimpanzees like Oscar.
Find out more about how to help Chimpanzees here:
Find out tips on how to use the film to learn about Chimpanzees in our previous article: