Reviewed by: Cassandra Hsiao
1 hr. 18 min.
Year of Release:
April 20, 2012 (wide—1,500+ theaters)
DVD: August 21, 2012
animals in the Bible
What is man’s responsibility to the environment? Answer
Does the DNA similarity between chimps and humans prove a common ancestry? Answer
Who's who and what's what in the world of “missing” links? Answer
Is there fossil evidence of “missing links” between humans and apes? Did ancient humans live millions of years ago? Answer
Narrated by Tim Allen, “Chimpanzee” takes you on a wild adventure set deep in the African forests, a place hardly touched by mankind. A young carefree chimpanzee named Oscar thrives on his mother’s love, having the time of his life. Their tribe leader, Freddy, leads his followers in search of food. They travel into the unsafe territory of their stronger rivals, led by an intimidating chimpanzee named Scar. For generations, the land has been fought over by the two tribes, and Freddy’s tribe is in danger.
A frenzied battle ensues, leaving Oscar forever separated from his mom. He finds himself all alone, an orphan who has no one to teach him life skills. Miraculously, the most unlikely foster parent in the forest adopts Oscar, and together, they embark on a journey of love and friendship.
Disneynature captured stellar scenery—the mist shrouding the canopy of trees is simply picturesque. The African sunrise prompted a little girl beside me in the theater to softly hum the beginning of “Circle of Life”, the opening song of “Lion King” (coupled with the fact that the “bad” chimp was named Scar). The ingenious use of time-lapse cameras gives insight to the fact that the forest is a living, growing thing. Along with being a hero-and-villain type of movie, “Chimpanzee” is almost magical; Disneynature couldn’t help including the breath-taking shots of glow-in-the-dark fungi, sprouts rapidly shooting up, and mushrooms that smoke when touched by the rain.
“Chimpanzee” focuses on the personal aspects. The chimpanzees’ actions mirror what we do in life—caring for the young, using tools to find food, and enjoying life as it is. You will laugh time and time again at their lively frolics, which remind us to enjoy the journey. The adorable Oscar will have kids begging parents to buy a baby chimp for a pet.
As for language, there is one very out-of-place use of “idiot” in a joking, teasing way. The shaky cam style cuts away the violence, resorting to a G rating. When Scar’s tribe attacked, I was shaken by the idea that chimpanzees, just like humans, fight each other. They beat the roots of trees to either announce their attack or victory, and the booming sound plus the frantic swelling of the orchestra may scare younger kids.
With every Disney movie, the moviemakers try to weave in a plot furnished with an adorably cute unassuming protagonist, a sinister villain thwarting plans, and a happily-ever-after type of ending. Even if the plot is a bit glazed over, it is a beautiful story, nonetheless. The adoption of an orphan in any animal kingdom is quite something to see. Clearly, God has a heart for the orphans. Scripture says that God dwells in the hearts of the helpless. He shows His love for them in John 14:18: “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
Offering amazing detail, along with a heartfelt touch of emotion, “Chimpanzee” is not to be missed. Also, stay seated for the credits. There is a captivating brief behind-the-scenes camera roll about the filmmakers’ hardships—swarms of bugs, jagged, rough terrains, and torrents of rain. Everyone is smiling despite the challenges, and it shows the audience how hard they worked to bring this story to screen. Celebrate Earth Day 2012 with your family at the movie theaters!
Violence: None / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
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