Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Chimpanzee

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Profanity:None
Nudity/Sex:None
Alcohol/Drugs:None
Violence/Scariness:Sad offscreen death of a parent, non-explicit discussions of attacks and turf battles
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:April 20, 2012
DVD Release Date:August 20, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: G
Profanity: None
Nudity/Sex: None
Alcohol/Drugs: None
Violence/Scariness: Sad offscreen death of a parent, non-explicit discussions of attacks and turf battles
Diversity Issues: None
Movie Release Date: April 20, 2012
DVD Release Date: August 20, 2012

DisneyNature’s fourth in its series of nature documentaries released for Earth Day is gorgeously photographed, heartwarming, inspiring, and adorable. It combines astonishingly vivid and intimate footage of animal life with narration that sometimes crosses the line between accessible and intrusive.  And this G-rated saga has a “Bambi” problem.  The primatologists who appear at the end of the film are excited about sharing the unexpected and undeniably sweet story of an orphaned baby chimp who is adopted by an unrelated male. But that means the cute baby has to lose his mother first.  It is handled discreetly, but we have seen how tenderly she cares for her son and how much he depends on her, so sensitive viewers of any age may find her loss and the baby’s abandonment by the other adults disturbing.

Advertisement

YouTube Preview Image

Narrator Tim Allen introduces us to newborn Oscar, whose tiny, wizened face is utterly captivating as he begins to explore the world around him.  His mother Isha cuddles him, feeds him, and patiently teaches him how to survive in the jungle.  They are part of a tribe led by alpha male Freddy, who provides protection and helps search for food. “The jungle itself is a living, healthy thing that does not want to be eaten,” Allen tells us.  Nuts are hard to open and honey is guarded by bees.

Advertisement

As the area is cut into by development, food becomes harder to find.  The chimps are threatened by an invasion from a nearby group of hungry chimps with “a formidable leader named Scar.” The choice of names and framing of the story unhesitatingly directs our loyalties.  Scar “steals” but Freddy and his tribe bravely forage for food.

Like Sharks and Jets, the two groups have deadly battles over turf.  Oscar is left alone.  He is still too young to fend for himself and at first, he cannot find anyone to take care of him.  Freddy becomes his adoptive father, but soon faces the work/life balance problem that is all too familiar.  He is so enthralled with his new son that he begins to neglect his job of protecting the group.  And Scar is waiting for his chance to return.

Advertisement

Allen’s commentary is sometimes corny and distractingly over-anthropomorphized.  But director Mark Linfield and his crew were able to use the latest technology to bring us closer into the lives of these beautiful animals than even the scientists who study them have been able to get before.  The breathtaking visuals and the brave and affectionate hearts of these beautiful creatures continue to draw us back in to the story.  We see how the chimpanzees communicate and cooperate, how they use tools and teach each other survival skills, and how they use grooming to build community and define their hierarchy.  Deep within the grand sweep of the African rainforest, illuminated by the gentle glow of bioluminescent fungi, Oscar and Freddy teach us that “humanity” is too narrow a term to encompass the love, courage, and compassion these chimps so clearly understand.

Advertisement

 

Parents should know that this film includes a sad death of a parent (off-screen), leaving the baby chimp at risk and other characters are in peril.

Family discussion: How many different ways do we see the chimpanzees communicate with each other?  How do Isha and Freddy teach Oscar what he needs to learn?  How can we help the chimpanzees?  Read the interview with co-producer/director Mark Linfield.

If you like this, try: The other films in the series: Earth, African Cats, and Earth

 

Previous Posts

Deadpool
Frankly, exuberantly nasty -- in the nicest possible way, Deadpool is not your father's superhero. That is, unless your father is more like ...

posted 3:58:24pm Feb. 08, 2016 | read full post »

Interview: Marilyn Meberg from "Women of Faith"
Marilyn Meberg knows how to make everyone feel like an old friend. Counselor, author, and part of the Women of Faith tour of inspirational ...

posted 3:55:38pm Feb. 08, 2016 | read full post »

Beliefnet's Movie Love Quotes Quiz
Check out this great quiz about great movie love quotes! If you beat my score (18), let me know! ...

posted 8:00:59am Feb. 08, 2016 | read full post »

Trailer: Screenagers, a Documentary About 21st Century Kids and Their Devices
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQx2X0BXgZg[/youtube] Every parent should see "Screenagers," which explores the unprecedented challenges families face over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Insights from ...

posted 8:00:20am Feb. 08, 2016 | read full post »

The People and Movies That Inspired "Hail, Caesar!"
The Coen brothers love old movies, and we see evidence of that in many of their films, including "Barton Fink," about a hapless playwright who come to Hollywood to write movies in the 1940's, and with their remakes of the heist films "The ...

posted 3:57:20pm Feb. 07, 2016 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

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

All reported content is logged for investigation.