Chimpanzee is a Disney documentary in the classic style of the ‘50s and ‘60s True–Life Adventures series that earned the studio several Oscars. It’s about young Oscar and his struggles for survival in the African rainforest. With a lighthearted narration supplied by Tim Allen, we follow Oscar’s life as he learns to climb, cavorts with other chimps, forages for food, and faces a devastating family tragedy.
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Chimpanzee received a G–rating from the MPAA. ClearPlay cuts some violence and blood from some scenes of savagery. There are some innocent scenes of chimp breast–feeding, but the movie is designed to be viewed — and liked — by all members of the family.
Will I go ape for Chimpanzee?…
If you’ve seen 1953’s The Living Desert, Disney’s first feature–length, Oscar–winning documentary, you’ll have a good idea what to expect from Chimpanzee. It has the same jokey — some may say “cloying” — narration and comic music to tell us when something is supposed to be funny. Personally, I didn’t like the “wink–wink, nudge–nudge“ commentary, but kids will probably appreciate the words, spoken by Buzz Lightyear, that echo their sentiments. The cinematography is stunning and—Hey, wait a minute! Did Disney name this chimp Oscar as a hint to the Academy? Hmm…
Marty Nabhan— ClearPlay Final Frontier Explorer
Rated G; 78 min; Directed By Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield