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Reviewed by: Cassandra Hsiao

Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
1 hr. 18 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
April 20, 2012 (wide—1,500+ theaters)
DVD: August 21, 2012
Copyright, Disneynature, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Disneynature, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Disneynature, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Disneynature, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Disneynature, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Disneynature, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Disneynature, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Disneynature, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Disneynature, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Disneynature, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Disneynature, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

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

The Rainforest: People, Animals and Facts
Learn about the rainforest by meeting some native peoples, seeing where and how they live, and more! A cross-cultural photo-rich journey that will leave you with a lasting impression.
Kid Explorers
Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.
Featuring: Tim AllenNarrator (voice)
Director: Alastair Fothergill—“Earth,” “The Blue Planet”
Mark Linfield—“Earth,” “To the Ends of the Earth”
Producer: Blacklight Films
Jane Goodall Institute
See all »
Distributor: Disneynature, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

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.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—Can you believe it? An animal documentary and no Evolution talk? I can’t believe it; I did not hear once of the evolutionary fairy tale about Evolution—like this animal goes back 34,532.4 gazillion billion years ago. Yea on the other movies, how do they know how long ago a species started? Were they there? Go take your wife and kid. Thank me later.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Robert, age 65 (USA)
Positive—I took my 4 and 6 year olds. My 4 year old said “This is boring” pretty soon into it. That said, I think the narration and editing really took it from a documentary into a story with a plot, so she did watch it, a little restlessly. There were some gorgeous shots of waterfalls that my 6 year old thought beautiful. The movie was appropriate for any age. An older couple was there on their own. Kids were more talkative in this showing than the normal movie—either due to restlessness or maybe it was a younger crowd, not sure which.

It was interesting how it was edited together and narrated, so there was a good group of chimps and a “bad” one. When in reality, neither was good or bad, it was just nature. I did wonder if Oscar was the offspring of the leader and if that played into why he cared for the little chimp. Of course, this was not mentioned at all, because it had to be this unlikely chimp who cares for the young one in order to make it more interesting. Also, when Oscar was adopted by the leader, in some shots he looked younger than he had before, which made me wonder if some clever editing came in, to make it appear more so that the leader cared for him.

This isn’t to take away from a cute movie, that does show a nice story and a good outcome, that the chimp was not abandoned. This makes for a nice family film or an outing for the kids who aren’t old enough for “The Avengers” (also out now). Seldom do we get a movie with nothing objectionable.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Andrea, age 39 (USA)

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