By Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
“Chimapnzee” is a documentary from DisneyNature. It follows
a baby chimp, Oscar, from birth through the death of its mother after an attack
by another group of chimps led by Scar – though the narrator (Tim Allen)
explains it was probably a leopard that killed her. The other chimps want the
food in the territory where Oscar’s group lives. When Oscar’s mother dies,
Freddie, the head of their group, surprisingly “adopts” little Oscar.
This behavior is exceedingly rare among primates.
“Chimpanzee” was released for Earth Day (April 22) and it is
beautifully filmed. There is some peril when the animal groups fight and attack
I thought the narration was banal; sometimes it wasn’t
logical though I am hard pressed to come up with an example. The cuteness factor is strong.
Some might be tempted to think there is a
“survival-of-the-fittest theme” emphasized here. It did not seem that way to me
though this behavior is seen in nature every day. If anything the film over
“humanizes” the chimps. It seems to want to create an emotional bond between
animals and audience so that as the audience grows (the target audience has to
be 6-10) they will respect habitats and nature.
This is a good thing, but it doesn’t save poor writing.
The cinematography is brilliant, however, and watching these
wild animals is wondrous.
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