Disney takes a slightly different approach with the adorable docudrama Chimpanzee, in which young chimp Oscar must learn independence the hard way when his mother is killed during an attack by rival chimpanzees, led by the uniquely named Scar *rolls eyes*.
Despite the unoriginal name of rival chimp gang leader Scar, Chimpanzee is a fresh take on a cute, family film and the stunning, natural rainforest location allows for some beautiful visuals. The cinematography takes advantage of the stunning natural beauty of the location, including lots of fascinating time-lapse footage of various plants and animals as they grow.
Perhaps the most engaging thing about Chimpanzee is that it’s unmediated footage of chimps just doing what they do, and with a sweet and humorous narration it turns it into something warm and enjoyable. It is, to all intents and purposes a documentary, it doesn’t attempt to fictionalise what the chimpanzees are doing, rather it makes use of characterisation to convey their personalities and make a narrative out of nature.
Baby chimp Oscar is the star of the show in more ways than one. He’s a cheeky little chap and he’s gorgeous too! There’s always something so entertaining and enjoyable about watching animals just doing their own thing, when their cheeky personalities come to the fore it is, in many ways, more entertaining than watching people pretending to be someone else. Chimpanzees are fascinating animals anyway, so obviously this helps make the film an engaging watch. It’s incredible to watch how human-like they are. Of course being Disney it’s all sugarcoated and made to seem lovely, after all it is still merely a representation of reality (as all films and documentaries are) but this is perfect for a little bit of escapism.
Everything about Chimpanzee is engaging and fun. Despite the fact that the narrative is repetitive, with the chimps spending all their time searching for food, eating food , sleeping and repeating (of course, that’s what they do in reality, but it’s a little repetitive and boring for a 78 minute film!) the story is warm and threatens to bring a tear to your eye! Little Oscar is so cute and loveable that even the hardest of hearts will struggle not to fall in love with his cheeky little face. The cinematography is absolutely stunning and the colours and use of slow motion and time lapse footage make it a visual feast well worth watching. It’s different, and probably something that most people will only watch once, but it’s definitely an entertaining and sweet film.