Chimpanzee Review: Death By Narration
While the storyline of Chimpanzee does feel somewhat contrived, that's also a necessary danger with any type of documentary whether the subject is human or animal. In addition, the made-up dialogue between the chimps can be slightly insufferable at times, yet the movie somehow secured the endorsement of Jane Goodall, so it can't be all that ridiculous. Even though it really is ... because of Tim Allen. If the filmmakers would've spared us the precious exposition -- or even better, re-hired the African Cats narrator (Samuel L. Jackson) instead of Allen, this experience could've been much more enjoyable for the adults who will inevitably sit through this adventure. Further, the movie would've worked its intended magic if the filmmakers had just let the animals do their thing while letting the cameras roll and then editing in the competent manner as displayed. But no. We have to listen to Ape Man noises from Tim Allen, who was probably scratching his balls in the recording booth. Perish the thought.
Of course, I'm making far too big a deal out of what is essentially a cute little movie that's intended only for the youngest children who are able to handle sitting in a movie theater. The scenes that would be traumatic and incredibly violent are played offscreen and sanitized so that the little ones won't realize what's going on (cannibalism?) except the most important aspect to the story -- Oscar losing his mom. This is ultimately one chimp's story of survival, and the little bastard (which is probably the wrong word choice) is truly endearing. Chimpanzee is one hell of a good-looking film, but with that said, it will play much better at home on DVD with the "mute" button fully engaged.
Agent Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She and her little black heart can be found at Celebitchy.