MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Chimpanzee’ hampered slightly by Tim Allen going bananas on narration
It is not surprising that a documentary called “Chimpanzee” focuses on the lives of chimpanzees living deep within the jungle.
What is surprising about “Chimpanzee” is the stunningly human story that transpires throughout the film.
The movie follows a group of chimpanzees over four years, with the main focus being put on Oscar, one of the youngest members in the group.
Much of the early footage depicts Oscar learning how to carry out basic tasks like climbing trees or cracking nuts, with the guidance of his mother Isha. These scenes are not only incredibly cute, but also quite funny.
In the nut cracking scene, for example, Oscar is using a tree branch to try to crack open a nut. He hasn’t yet grasped the proper technique, so while the nut remains intact, Oscar’s branch keeps breaking into smaller pieces.
It’s one of the many scenes in the film that couldn’t be any better even if it was scripted.
The film also shows the darker side of life in the jungle.
A rival group of chimpanzees want to take over the land occupied by Oscar’s group. There are a couple times throughout the film when the two groups get into dramatic conflicts.
One of these conflicts leaves Oscar alone in the jungle, and the story that follows will no doubt grip audiences’ emotions and have them eagerly waiting to see what happens next.
The film is not only emotionally engaging, but it’s absolutely breathtaking to look at as well.
Everything from the canopy to the small insect life is shot with incredible detail. The fantastic visuals do more than just look pretty, they help immerse the audience into the environment and make them feel even closer to the drama unfolding.
Oddly enough, the one human present in “Chimpanzee” is the worst thing about it. Tim Allen narrates the events on screen, and while everything starts off alright, it gets annoying quickly. It’s not that his narration is all that bad; he just seems to never stop talking.
The body language and facial expressions of the chimpanzees speak volumes about their emotional condition at any given time, so it seems unnecessary when Allen explicitly states how each chimpanzee is feeling whenever they’re on screen. If anything, it detracts from the subtle beauty of seeing how amazingly human the chimpanzees act.
Overall, “Chimpanzee” is a beautifully engaging drama that will be appealing to just about any age group — just try to ignore the mediocre narration.
Score: 4 out of 5
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