Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Space Chimps

posted by Nell Minow
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Profanity:Brief schoolyard language
Nudity/Sex:Brief potty humor
Alcohol/Drugs:Reference to drinking
Violence/Scariness:Creatures with scary teeth, some peril, no one hurt (but it appears some are hurt or swallowed)
Diversity Issues:Ethnic, gender, and species diversity
Movie Release Date:July 18, 2008
DVD Release Date:November 25, 2008
space chimps.jpg

This genial animated sci-fi comedy about astronaut chimps is an unpretentious summer pleasure, an entertaining mix of adventure and comedy that even manages to find some heart.

Ham III (voice of “Saturday Night Live’s” Andy Samberg) is a chimpanzee circus performer whose most popular trick is being shot from a cannon. As he rises higher in the sky before crashing down to earth again, he reaches wistfully toward the moon, thinking of his grandfather Ham, who was sent up in a space capsule by NASA back in 1961. Ham’s only family now is his grandfather’s friend Houston (voice of Carlos Alazraqui), who has been looking out for Ham as long as he can remember.

But Ham III does not like rules, authority, or thinking of himself as a hero, so when NASA wants him to go on a space mission, he declines. However, it turns out it was not a request but an order, so he soon finds himself in training with some serious and highly qualified space chimps, Titan (voice of Patrick Warburton), Luna (voice of Cheryl Hines of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”), and Comet (voice of Zach Shada).

The chimps are needed because an American space probe has been sucked into a wormhole and ended up on an alien planet. It is too dangerous to send humans after it, but the Senator in charge (Stanley Tucci) is willing to send the chimps. And so Titan and Luna, whose entire space experience is being part of a historical exhibit about what happened with the first Ham in 1961 are sent up with Ham III, who is added to provide some public relations sizzle. Comet and Houston stay home to provide support. And yes, Houston, we have some problems.

On the alien planet, a bully named Zartog (voice of Jeff Daniels and more silly than scary) is using the space probe to control the sweet-natured, jelly-bean-colored inhabitants and force them to give him a really extreme home makeover. Will the chimps complete their mission and return home with their ship or will they help solve the problem that earth’s technology has created?

Everyone has some lessons to learn as the chimps have to navigate hostile terrain (including the Valley of the Very Bad Things and a monster with a lot of big, sharp teeth), confront Zartog, and do some DYI construction to find their way home. They will prove that they can do more than the humans thought and even more than they knew was possible themselves.

Samberg is an appealing hero and the brisk pacing and lively visuals keep things moving. These astro-chimps have the right stuff.

  • micheal

    great reviews cant wait for more and hey a girl writes this right so girl, can we get in touch

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks for the kind words, Michael! Consider yourself in touch with the Movie Mom.

  • jean

    thanks for the great reviews.
    My 7 year old just got back from this movie and is totally freaked out about the bad guy. Apperently having the claw grab the charactures and freezing them really effected him. I was wondering if anyone has had a similar experience. My husband took him today with out his little brothers. I wonder if they had been there and didn’t have a problem with it things would be different? We are pretty strict on the movies he sees, but he sees things he shouldn’t on video games (and an occasional movie at a friends). This really surprised us and we are trying to see if there is something else contributing to it. Just mostly curious to see if anyone else has had the same problem.

  • Nell Minow

    Jean, thanks so much for this very helpful comment. This is just the kind of information that is especially helpful to users of this site. Kids are so unpredictable and varied at that age when it comes to scary and tense material. I brought two kids with me to the movie and watched all of those around me carefully but none seemed concerned about the “freezing,” though some were about the cave monster.
    You are doing the exactly right thing by trying to see if something else is going on and I so respect your care in protecting him from a lot of what is out there. The other thing I recommend is working on that essential life skill even adults need to rely on — how we learn to respond to the things that scare us. Sometimes it helps to have them tell you a story or draw a picture about how they could defeat the bad guy. “The Annie Stories” is a wonderful book that really helped our kids deal with scary stuff. Thanks so much and please let us know if he gives you any insights into what prompted his response.

  • jean

    Thank you so much for the helpful tips! Last night at bedtime he began acting up again. Saying I just want to get it out of my head oh why wont it get out of my head… I didn’t quite know what to do. I thought perhaps if he pictured the bad guy wearing really funny clothes with clown shoes and the like.. it didn’t work. But drawing a way to defeat him that is a great idea. I will have to look into the Annie stories. My husband is really surpised because although we are strict on movies, he used to watch a lot of Jimmy Nuetron and my husband thought there were much scarier things in those shows. Perhaps part of it is being in the big dark theater where as at home you feel a little safer and can walk away from it if you want.
    Thanks again!!!

  • Crystal

    I am so glad to have read your addendum to Nell’s review. I come to this site every time before I consider renting or taking my 5yo to a movie. It is so helpful, and I specifically look for things that will bother my anxious son at bedtime based upon the movie.
    Nell, love this site. Thanks!

Previous Posts

Uptown Funk from A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School and Teacher Scot Pankey
High school teacher Scot Pankey brings the funk to the entire school in this joyous dubstep video. I love its spirit and its inclusiveness; everyone is just there to have fun. It has become a viral sensation, tweeted by Michelle Obama, Jill Biden, and the guy who sings "Uptown Funk," Bruno Mars.

posted 9:36:59am Feb. 01, 2015 | read full post »

New Web Series: That's Racist! with Mike Epps
I'm a big fan of Mike Epps, and am excited about "That's Racist!," his new web series on AOL. It is a provocative look at racism and stereotypes. Are Asians bad drivers? Are Jews cheap? Do African-Americans all like fried chicken? These and other stereotypes are explored by experts and people ins

posted 8:00:40am Feb. 01, 2015 | read full post »

Three Views on the Challenges Women Face in the Film Industry
It is wonderful that directors like Ava DuVernay, Angelina Jolie, and Gina Prince-Bythewood gave us superb films in 2014.  But it is an indicator of the challenges still faced by women filmmakers that none of them was nominated for a major directing award. The Alliance of Women Film Journalists

posted 3:38:46pm Jan. 31, 2015 | read full post »

Snickers Wins the Super Bowl!
The real competition at the Super Bowl is for the commercials, right? This Snickers ad is a hoot. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0"]

posted 8:00:02am Jan. 31, 2015 | read full post »

How Did Ca Plane Pour Moi End Up in So Many Movies?
How did a 1977 song in French by the Belgian singer Plastic Bertrand become a go-to for 21st century American movie soundtracks, from big studio films to quirky indies? "Ça Plane Pour Moi" has appeared in Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" and last week's "We'll Never Have Paris," from

posted 3:40:03pm Jan. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.