DisneyNature’s releases have been hit-and-miss for me. I couldn’t make the press screening of ‘Earth‘, so imagine how pissed I was when I paid to see it and realized that it was nothing more than an extended episode of the first hour of ‘Planet Earth‘, which I already owned. The following year, I was disappointed by ‘Oceans‘ because it showed cool images but featured a voice-over that revealed nothing about what was on screen. ‘African Cats‘ wasn’t anything special either, but ‘Chimpanzee’ has finally won me over.
Set in the rainforest of Uganda, ‘Chimpanzee’ follows a baby chimp named Oscar as he and his group fight hunger and a fierce rival gang of chimps. What is shown is very interesting, but goes on a little too long. Ringing in at 78 minutes, ‘Chimpanzee’ might be a lot stronger if it could be shortened to under 60 minutes.
The on-screen images are accompanied by a fun voice-over, but Tim Allen’s narration is awful, barely a notch above that of Oprah Winfrey’s for the American ‘Life‘ series. What he says isn’t bad; it’s the delivery that sucks. Allen completely phones it in.
Although the film is rated G, be warned that some of the material is quite surprising. You’ll see chimps hunting and eating monkeys, all-out violence-filled turf wars, and death.