Chimpanzee (U)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarStarNo StarNo Star
Review byJennifer Tate01/05/2013

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 78 mins

The chimpanzees play to their stereotype in this charming documentary that’s beautiful to watch and often funny, however Tim Allen’s jovial voiceover can be rather irritating after a while.

What’s it all about?
Directed by Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield and narrated by Tim Allen, Chimpanzee tells the heart-warming story of Oscar, a three month old chimpanzee that finds himself separated from his troop during a run-in with a rival band of chimpanzees. Left to fend for himself in the African jungle, where danger lurks around every corner and competition for food is rife, Oscar must quickly learn from Freddy, a headstrong leader who in a rare act of compassion steps in and adopts the small chimp.

The Good
Filmed in the breathtaking landscape of the République de Côte-d’Ivoire, a country roughly half the size of Texas, Chimpanzee is visually extraordinary. Presenting incredible views of the Tai Forest and its microscopic insects and plants, the documentary gets impressively close to its subjects and gives a detailed portrait of both the personalities and habits of chimpanzees. The story is sweet and endearing, with the final act carrying a real emotional punch and the poppy soundtrack is fun and works well with the amusing scenes showing the chimps being a bit cheeky. There’s also some interesting ‘behind-the-scenes’ footage shown with the credits, which is definitely worth staying a little longer for.

The Bad
Despite delivering a few funny lines with enthusiasm, Tim Allen’s cheerful narration can be a little irritating at times and truthfully, it feels a little ill-suited for this nature documentary. At 78 minutes long and with not a lot going on, it also feels like Chimpanzee could have been shortened by at least twenty minutes, feeding the notion that this documentary would be more suited for the TV than the big screen. Finally, some of the footage in the final scenes looks a little familiar to some of the clips at the beginning, hinting at the idea that Fothergill and Linfield may have over-relied on certain parts of their recordings.

Worth seeing?
Chimpanzee won’t blow you away, but its incredible close-ups of the chimpanzees and extraordinary cinematography certainly make it an enjoyable watch. Recommended.

Film Trailer

Chimpanzee (U)
Be the first to review Chimpanzee...
image
01 The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies (tbc)

Lee Pace, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, ...

image
02 The Theory of Everything (tbc)

Felicity Jones, Eddie Redmayne, Emily Watson

image
03 Pride (15)

Bill Nighy, Andrew Scott, Dominic West, Imelda Sta...

image
04 What We Did on Our Holidays (12A)

David Tennant, Billy Connolly, Rosamund Pike, Anne...

image
05 The Guest (15)

Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Ethan Embry

Content updated: 01/09/2014 12:13

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

Night Moves Film Review

Engaging and provocative, this is a fiercely introspective thriller from writer-director Kelly Reichardt, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films

Hot Tickets

Film 4 Summer ScreenFilm 4 Summer Screen

Taking over the big screen at Somerset House again for August 2014, the Film 4 Summer Screen series brings a variety of classics and brand new films to audiences in the capital.