MARQUEE MAMA Reviews Disneynature’s “CHIMPANZEE” (Film Review)

Marquee Mama reviews Disneynature's CHIMPANZEE

If you’re looking for a true family film, one you can enjoy worry-free with young kids, it’s going to be “Chimpanzee”.  I’m betting most parents of very young (but age-appropriate for the theater) children are like me, often disappointed in what studios describe as “family films”, which frequently result in you awkwardly explaining moments of unfortunate language or content.  Kids are just too sharp not to notice such moments!  “Chimpanzee” is not one of those.  This is one for the whole family!


A hit with the whole family!



A documentary four years in the making, “Chimpanzee” follows young Oscar and his family in the Ivory Coast rainforest that Oscar and his family call home.  You get to witness everything from his baby-like shenanigans (which every parent will recognize as so similar to their own child’s playful antics) to his trial-by-error attempts at learning to crack nuts.  Oscar is orphaned after an attack and must find a way to survive without the protection and support of a parent.

I typically shy away from these types of films for fear that my youngest child will witness something common in the animal world, but horrific in ours.  In “Chimpanzee”, rival families battle for territory, Oscar and his own family hunt live animals to feed themselves.  But Disneynature has handled this masterfully!  While I’d shudder to watch the raw film from this movie, the brutality must be on the cutting room floor.  The build-up to the ferocious brawls is suspenseful, but the actual combat is skillfully edited so we are spared the actual viciousness.  When Oscar’s family hunts, we watch their tactical strategy and we see them launch the attack, but the kill is covered by chaotic hand-held shots of Chimps and trees and rattling leaves, enough to indicate something serious is happening, but there is absolutely no gore, no horror.  Whew!


See Disneynature's CHIMPANZEE on April 20th

Even the sad parts, while truly sad, are not so distressing that it’ll make your kid cry.  Nothing in “Chimpanzee” is too sad or too scary.  Thank you Disneynature!

See Disneynature's CHIMPANZEE on April 20th

Visually, this movie is fascinating!  No CG can compare to what raw, wild Mother Nature provides, and you won’t find any CG here.  But the frequent time-lapse effects of the rainforest coming alive at night are a definite highlight and I left wanting to research these natural phenomena.

See Disneynature's CHIMPANZEE on April 20th

The animals in “Chimpanzee” are just so darn cute!  Their very human traits, expressive eyes, aged hands and fingers, are captivating and very early into the movie, you forget you’re watching wild animals and settle comfortably into watching a family.  It’s not unlike today’s reality TV shows – all drama included!

See Disneynature's CHIMPANZEE on April 20th

What I loved:

  • • No brutality, nothing to scare kids or make them cry.
  • • Truly spectacular visuals – watch for the lightning shot – WOW!
  • • Time-lapse of glowing mushrooms, a spider spinning a web, an ant trail – all amazing!
  • • The ingenuity of these animals is impressive.  Watch how they use what nature provides to build sturdy and comfy-looking beds high atop trees.
  • • I dare any King Kong animator to make that big ape climb a tree as deftly and expertly as any one of the real chimps in this movie!
  • • I hope they make a soundtrack to this film using only the sounds of nature.
  • • The “miracle” referred to in the film (I don’t want to spoil anything) was wonderful to watch and generated much conversation in the car ride home with the 2 little girls I brought to this movie.
  • • Stay for the credits.  You’ll get some insightful behind-the-scenes intel on the hazards of being on this film crew (sweat bees, snakes, rain – ugh!).
  • • The length of this list and the brevity of the list that follows…

See Disneynature's CHIMPANZEE on April 20th


What I didn’t love:

  • • The narration is on the corny side as Tim Allen sometimes makes silly comments as if it’s what the chimps are thinking.
  • • Abrupt ending – I don’t know what I was expecting, as chimpanzees live 50+ years, but I wanted more of a conclusion to Oscar’s story.

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CHIMPANZEE hits theaters everywhere on April 20th!



Watch the Music Video by the McClain Sisters entitled “Rise”

(from Disneynature’s CHIMPANZEE)




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One Response to “MARQUEE MAMA Reviews Disneynature’s “CHIMPANZEE” (Film Review)”

  1. […] chaos and adventure in one of the very best productions to date of the Disneynature series! Click HERE to read Marquee Mama’s family-friendly review from the film’s original […]

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