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Chimpanzee
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Chimpanzee More at IMDbPro »

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23 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Flawed but Enjoyable Documentary

6/10
Author: Richard Reilly (FFman@comcast.net) from Colorado
20 April 2012

From the people that brought you the fantastic documentary—Earth—comes a documentary cut from an entirely different cloth. Unlike Earth, Chimpanzee is able to weave a storyline by following a specific clan of chimps, giving each one a name, and following a youngster as he learns the rough life of the forest. The personal touch is brilliant and allows for a heartfelt documentary. In the end, the only problems are in the way the movie is edited and narrated.

One of the best things about Chimpanzee is the way in which it elicits empathy from the viewer. The movie focuses on features of chimpanzees that remind of us ourselves—using tools to get food, breastfeeding, and youth playing games while adults try to sleep. By the time the documentary develops a plot, you will honestly care about the characters involved. You will laugh time and time again.

You will not cry. Despite the disturbing and depressing nature of the film, everything is glazed over. This points us directly at the core problem of Chimpanzee—the narration. First off, Tim Allen wasn't the right choice. He doesn't do the inflections correctly and often speaks far too excitedly. The other major problem with the narration is the script. When Tim Allen started speaking for the Chimps, I was amused. When it continued, it became rather annoying. The narration should have been used to support the documentary—not overshadow it.

Chimpanzee was marketed as a children's film. We received the children's preshow and nothing but adolescent trailers. That is what stopped the documentary from being great. By skipping over the scenes that are too hard to watch and not diving into the real reason an Alpha Male would take in a young chimp, the documentary shortchanges itself. Earth was great because it wasn't directed at an adolescent audience. That freed the team up to build the best movie. The same was not the case for Chimpanzee.

If you enjoy documentaries, you will enjoy Chimpanzee. Although the movie does not deliver critical thoughts, it is filled with incredible visuals and an intriguing storyline. If you are not a fan of documentaries, there is no reason to see Chimpanzee. I hope this movie does not show a trend for wide release documentaries. Documentaries are beautiful when they are not dumbed down for our children.

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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Short and sweet

7/10
Author: MissYumYumCoCo from United States
14 June 2012

This was cute and sweet and kind and funny. The kids will be safe from all bloodshed and survival of the fittest shots. It's so sanitized that I felt a bit uncomfortable considering it a documentary.

The scenery is luscious. The animals are captivating. But honestly, the most interesting part of the movie was the behind the scenes production info. Tim Allen was enjoyable...he did a funny thing that I won't describe and spoil for you.

I really saw the movie quite by accident. I was in one of the interchangeable action movies of this summer and had a horrible headache. The noise and jarring battle scenes were not helping my migraine, so I switched theaters after about seven minutes. Chimpanzee was cool and deliciously calming after the first calamity...but it just didn't quite convince me. I understand that my hero Jane Goodall liked it, so I suppose I should stop my grumbling and focus on the positive.

I really wish it had been a bit longer...I could have been persuaded to see some of the surrounding civilization that has been encroaching on the chimp territory. Ditto the poachers, who are integral to the tale of the demise of our close brethren. It could have been addressed without giving up the G rating, I feel certain.

If you have little ones, this is a good movie: not too long. If you are an animal lover, you will enjoy it. If you are a stickler for authenticity, this is going to grind your gears.

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15 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Chimpanzee is for the whole family! Two bananas up!

9/10
Author: jennyallworthy from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
22 April 2012

After taking my husband to see Chimpanzee last night (as I have no school age kids to drag) I have to give it two bananas up! We both loved it. What a refreshing change to see a film that almost any age could see together and have a great discussion afterward.

Gorgeously filmed and just the right length to keep smaller ones from getting bored, I was amazed at the footage that the filmmakers got of these chimps. I am one of those who has trouble leaving the primate area of the zoo and it does make you marvel at their similarities with humans.

You'll feel like you just went on a trip to the rain forest of Africa, and I can't imagine a child or teen not liking this. Or an adult for that matter.

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15 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

visually stunning

7/10
Author: movieman1947 from United States
2 May 2012

What can really be said about this movie.... Its a fantastic documentary, and unlike other wildlife documentary's its not overly sad or graphic, so parents can bring their kids.

The shots and views of the chimps and the rain forest, are absolutely amazing. All aspects of the lives of chimpanzees are shown, even the not so glamorous ones. However the filmmakers show the harshness of the lives of chimps while appealing to all ages, and not sacrificing content. For example: in one of the few scenes at can be perceived as violent, an obscured view of the chimps is shown, not enough to mask their actions, but enough to make it tasteful.

Tim Allen does a fantastic job of narrating, being both funny and informative. He even makes a throw back joke or two.

This film is inspiring, fun, and informative. Its fun for the whole family, and I am not just saying that. I left the theater thinking how alike humans and chimpanzees are, and would recommend this movie to any animal lover.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A familiar story interpreted by some close relatives of us.

9/10
Author: David Traversa from Argentina
23 September 2012

The most striking feature I noticed while watching this film was the resemblance of these creatures to my neighbors. It's incredible how similar to us they are!

Granted, Doña Carmen and Don José don't go as far as to deflea each other while carrying on a casual conversation on a sidewalk, but the similarities in body gestures and specially when persistently looking at the camera lens (it happened several times, whether intentionally or not) and we could see overwhelmingly human eyes looking at us, can be quite disturbing.

Impeccable photography with so many close ups that one wonders constantly at how they had managed to take those shots without disturbing the animals. I'm sure Disney has the most sophisticated equipment in the World in order to present such splendipherous depth of lenses and superb sharpness all the time, even from long distances, but even so, chimpanzees have a very sensitive sense of smell and I'm sure they could detect human presence from afar, but apparently it left them unconcerned and they proceeded naturally with their daily chores.

The forest, breathtaking, specially from the air, and the lushness of all that green carpet we see below seems to go forever on behind those far away mountains; when the camera goes down to ground level it's disconcerting to notice how very little sunlight reaches these animals.

Since it was a Disney film, obviously thought out for children, the notorious lack of restrain among monkeys and chimps when it comes to bodily functions, including everything related to sex, which is so habitual to see in zoos in broad daylight, here there is no trace whatsoever of it, like in those old Doris Day films, where everything was squeaky clean.

A good film for Eco-friendly fans.

P.S.: I gave it a 9 because of the titanic efforts of the whole crew and the tenacity they put into the project, working under such harsh and probably dangerous conditions.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Remarkable story and filming

Author: stewartpauld from United Kingdom
5 August 2012

I work as a wildlife cameraman - but (sadly) was not involved in this film. When I watched it I realised a new bench mark has been set for these wildlife feature movies. Anyone who has worked in West Africa will agree it is one of the toughest habitats to film in - and chimps can be one of the hardest animals to follow. With that in mind, the achievement of getting a unique true story like this - one that brings us so close to the animals in every way - is quite remarkable. I don't want to put in spoilers, but the story is heartwarming and the characters so strong that you could almost believe this was animated - but it is much better than that. This is true life. A beautiful movie!

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Remarkable Disney Documentary

9/10
Author: Larry Silverstein from United States
29 September 2012

This is the story of the baby chimp Oscar, and his clan of 35 monkeys , as they struggle to survive in the jungle forest. It contains truly incredible nature photography of the clan as they interact with each other, search for food, use tools when needed, and protect themselves from neighboring monkey troops.

At first, I thought the story was fabricated and edited to where Disney wanted to go with the film. But when you see the filmmakers and what they went through to get the amazing close-up shots that they did I realized that was not the case. I believe this was the same crew that filmed "African Cats" which was another spectacular documentary.

Without disclosing too much of the plot, let's just say a dramatic event happens to Oscar during the film, and what happens thereafter is stunning and I'm sure extremely unusual.

Tim Allen narrated the film in a very lighthearted way. From what I've read this hampered the film for some, but for whatever reason it didn't bother me.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A Disney movie made with kids in mind.

7/10
Author: myowntune from United States
28 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Today I saw the latest DisneyNature release, Chimpanzee. While I thought it would be a lot like every other G rated Disney nature film, I admit it - I liked it. Although, I wondered through the whole showing if this was a scripted movie. Stuff like this doesn't really happen in true-life nature, does it?? So I came home and Googled it. This IS a Disney/Jane Goodall Institute Documentary about the life of Oscar, a very young chimp in the African jungle. It took 4 years to film. And the incredible turns of events are all true. The film makers lucked out in coming across a story that is fairly rare. My biggest caution is that Disney put together this movie in such a way as to get you very attached to the chimps they filmed. In this way, Disney leaves behind the detachment that should be present whenever a documentary is produced.

This movie was made with children in mind, however they didn't gloss over too much real life in the jungle sort of thing. They show chimps hunting (for monkey meat) and they show different chimpanzee "tribes" at war. There are also some mothers nursing. And in true Disney fashion, a parent dies. The thing that stings a bit is that it really happened, so, as always, take into consideration your child's personality if you take them to see it. Disney did a good job of letting us adults know what was happening without being too graphic. While there is hunting for meat, there is no blatant devouring or ripping and tearing of flesh. And when the parent dies they talk about it, but she isn't seen shortly after she is separated from her group. And in the end, it isn't totally a story about warring chimp tribes but rather a story about one chimpanzee going against his nature to care for a helpless, orphaned youngster. There were several pre-schoolers in the audience when I saw it and none of them had a problem that I was aware of.

Tim Allen narrates this movie with the style and voice of a typical Disney movie. In fact, at the beginning I was wondering where they got that guy from the nature films I saw in 1970! The film makers got extremely lucky to have the honor of catching on film a rare story that gives us a glimpse into a world normally hidden by jungle trees. The photography is amazing (how did they possibly get that close to wild beings to get the shots they did??). I was glad, too, that Disney has made a nature movie with children in mind. I loved Disney Nature movies when I was a child and I am glad that my grandchildren can see them too.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Chimps Are The Coolest, Craziest Critters!

4/10
Author: Dalbert Pringle from New Zealand
9 April 2015

Unfortunately (for me) the minuses of this particular "Disneynature" documentary clearly out-weighed its pluses by a jungle mile.

And (for me) the biggest, most irritating minus in "Chimpanzee" was having to tolerate Tim ("I'm-So-Funny") Allen's totally idiotic, voice-over narration. Allen's asinine, and completely unfunny chin-wagging got so bloody annoying that, before long, I had no choice but to watch most of this nature-documentary with the sound turned right off.

This documentary also lost serious points for not only injecting into its tale of the jungle horrible, pop music that didn't blend in with the scenario - But it actually had the absolute stupidity of bringing unwelcome humans into the action, as well. Thankfully this nonsense took place in the story's final 10 minutes.

On the other hand - What really impressed me about "Chimpanzee" was its excellent camera-work - Not only of the chimps, but of the beautiful African setting, as well.

Anyways - Tim Allen's irksome yattering aside - From a purely visual standpoint, "Chimpanzee" was certainly well-worth a view.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Sort of Confusing, but Endearing

7/10
Author: mekane from Illinois
20 April 2012

I walked into this movie not knowing what to expect. I am more of a "serious" moviegoer, and I generally don't see films geared towards children. I would describe this movie as half brilliant documentary and half cheesy kids movie.

I had issues with the color timing in parts, which made the film look almost animated and artificial. I wasn't quite sure what to believe was natural footage and what was some sort of staged animal wrangling or CGI. As the movie progressed it became pretty clear that it was all authentic, but Tim Allen's narration combined with the almost-too-convenient dramatic story arc still kept me at arm's length.

Ultimately this movie delivers a touching story of a young primate and his tribe. Though somewhat contrived at times there are many, many moments of genuine intimacy that tug the heartstrings and also make you wonder how in the world they got these shots. Thankfully there's a bit of explanation at the end.

Do I regret seeing it? Not at all. Do I wish it had been made as a more traditional documentary? Yes.

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