Bottom line: Chimpanzee follows the story of a young chimp who survives against all odds. The footage of chimps in the wild African jungle is certainly astounding. Some viewers may be saddened or distressed by the natural course of events that leads to the death of a chimp and the struggles of her orphan.MPAA Rating: G
Guide age recommendation: 5+
Runtime: 75 minutes
Directors: Alastair Fothergill, Mark Linfield
Release Date: April 20, 2012
Chimpanzee - Overview
Life in the rainforest isn't too difficult for young Oscar. He is completely dependent on his mother Isha's care. She feeds him, plays with him, carries him around and protects him. Little by little, he's learning how to do what the big chimpanzees can do, but he has a long way to go.
The leader of Oscar's Chimpanzee family is Freddy, and Oscar has plenty of other chimps both young and old to play with and learn from. They are a happy family, until a group of rival chimpanzees becomes bold enough to confront Freddy on his own territory. When Oscar is left to fend for himself, the little chimp begins to struggle to survive. The outlook for Oscar is dire, but suddenly, a compassionate turn of events saves Oscar's life.
Chimpanzee - Guide Review for Parents
The rainforests of Africa represent, to me, something remote and mysterious, and something I will probably never see myself. I wonder what goes on in those trees, and I wonder what life is like for the animals that inhabit the forest, especially the fascinating and human-like primates. Chimpanzee, miraculously, captures the daily life of a little family of chimps, as well as a few major events that affect them. Beautifully filmed up-close and personal, it's really mind blowing to think that the filmmakers were able to witness all of this out in the wild and get it all on tape.
When once their story seemed like it was going to die with little Oscar, that sudden turn of events astonished them all, as it will audiences everywhere. Oscar was saved, and any human mother or father can't help but be deeply moved by what happens to the little guy. Kids will also enjoy the film, as the narration does a good job at pointing out the younger chimps' silly antics and making the story interesting for all ages. Some viewers will likely be annoyed by the fact that the narration takes some liberty in ascribing human feelings, thoughts and descriptions to the chimps (the rival chimps are called "thugs," for example), but I think the story helps keep kids attention, and mine too, to be honest.
The movie contains some sad parts that could be sad or slightly disturbing to kids and adults. The death of Oscar's mother, for example, and his resulting struggles to survive with no one to take care of him. Thankfully, the story has a happy ending, though. The death is not shown, and the fight between Freddy's family and the rival chimps, while depicted, is carefully filmed and not too scary or disturbing. The chimps eat mostly fruits and nuts and things, but they do get a hankering for the occasional monkey. The hunt for a monkey is fully filmed, and we do see a shot of the chimps eating the monkey, but their backs are to the camera so there is not much blood and gore, and the scene is quite brief. Overall, the filmmakers took great care to make sure this would be an educational, fun and interesting film that families with kids of any age can all go see together.
Chimpanzee - Making Of
To me, the making of Chimpanzee is almost as interesting as the film itself. Imagine the filmmakers trekking through the rainforest trying to keep up with these chimps over the course of 700 days of filming. The Blu-ray bonus features offer a fun, interesting and in depth look at the filming process. You can also check out our interview with director Mark Linfield to find out more interesting facts about their experience.
More About Chimpanzee
- Chimpanzee - Movie Trailer and Info: See the movie trailer, read the synopsis and learn about what Disneynature is doing to save the chimpanzees.
- Activity Guide: Find links to the educational guides as well as fun books and activities related to the movie, chimps and the rainforest.
- Chimpanzee - Official Website