Chimpanzee is a Disney nature documentary on the chimpanzees. The movie features spectacular rainforest scenery, a variety of animals in their natural habitat, the featured voice narration of Tim Allen, and one very special chimp named Oscar. The central story is on Oscar, but there are plenty of other educational facts about life in the rainforest.
The story of Oscar starts with the day of his arrival. Shots of a baby chimp in his mother’s arms are quite heart-warming and rather cute. But this moment is very short-lived. Three months later, Oscar is more active and interactive but still very much attached to mommy. It is here where the real story about Oscar begins.
For a major part of the movie, the whole emphasis is on survival. Survival in the rainforest depends on finding food. You will quickly learn a lot about the things chimps like to feast on including a surprising source of meat. They eat almost constantly.
However, the rainforest is not without its hidden dangers such as leopards, potential starvation, and another group of chimpanzees bent on acquiring new prime territory where the nut trees grow. Avoiding these dangers is dependent on the leader of Oscar’s group, Freddy. Freddy is the alpha male who grabs the best food for himself and who rules alone.
But it isn’t so much the story that makes this movie particularly impressive. It is the amazing panoramic views of the rainforest and the very up close views of the chimps in action. Kids will get a kick out of seeing small chimps play, watch with some amazement as they crack nuts, and smile at the babies wrapped in mother’s arms. Also highly featured in the movie are fast forward photography, sunsets, sunrises, and one very impressive storm.
However, there probably isn’t going to be enough action to keep older kids entertained unless they are deeply interested in nature documentaries. There are a few tense moments, but most of the movie features unique aspects of the rainforest, such as the frantic frenzy of ants and glow-in-the-dark mushrooms.
Chimpanzee is a movie that will delight some kids but can leave other children bored even with its short run time of one hour and 18 minutes. However, everyone can appreciate the struggle involved in the effort to survive.