Disneynature Chimpanzee

22 Apr

Synopsis: The fourth and best of the Disneynature series takes us on an adventure into the rain forest of the Ivory Coast of Africa. It is the story of a chimpanzee named Oscar and his family’s fight for survival in their ancestral home in the wild’s of the rain forest.

Review: I will begin by sharing with you the history of Walt Disney films and their depictions of the natural world around us. Between the years of 1948 to the early 1960’s Disney produced a series documentaries of films entitled “True Life Adventure”. The films such as Seal Island, Wonders of the Sea and the Living Desert garnered eight Academy Awards and make no mistake set the tone for the nature documentaries that followed. The influence was seen in The National Geographic Specials, The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau and of course Animal Planet. Walt Disney’s nephew Roy Disney was an assistant editor on these films and went on to hold a major stake in his family’s company for many years.

Chimpanzee employs the use of HD Cinematography and the world that unfolds before your eyes immerses you into the beauty of the natural world, it is breath taking.  Tim Allen of Home Improvement and Toy Story (Buzz Lightyear) fame narrates the story giving it a sense of humanity and humor.  The story centers around a tribe of Chimpanzees that includes a 3 year old chimp named Oscar and his relationship with his father the alpha male of the tribe, Freddy. Oscar’s world is filled with day to day survival and he is completely dependent on his mother who tries to teach him how to survive. There is humor in the way the young chimp learns to break open forest nuts with first a tree branch and then a rock, the harder the nut the bigger the tool, such as a log or a rock is not missed on Mr. Allen’s hint of sarcasm. The nuts mean nourishment, as do ants, the right tool is needed, a branch is used to capture the ants from inside a tree trunk.

Across the forest is a rival clan headed by the aging alpha male aptly named Scar. Freddy’s side of the forest has the nut trees needed for Scar’s family’s sustenance and survival.  Scar’s plan is to ultimately survive by battling for the food supply. In Scar’s first surprise attack Oscar’s family is scattered and his mother is lost in the battle, presumably eaten by leopards. Oscar who is left alone is too young to fend for himself and has become an outcast from the surviving members of his clan.

What happens next is both remarkable and unheard of in the chimpanzee kingdom, Freddy takes on the responsibility of caring for the baby chimp. The relationship that develops pulls at your heart strings with a strong sense of humanity that unfolds as Freddy lovingly grooms and cares for Oscar in much the same way Oscar’s mother did.

We also learn that chimps are carnivores and eat smaller monkeys.  The fascinating scene of Freddie and his clan going in for the attack using intelligence over might is riveting. There is no blood-shed depicted only the suggestion of the kill as the camera hovers over the trees and the music gets a little ominous. The movie is rated G so the most graphic it gets is watching a chimp chewing on a bone.

When Scar and his family returns to take the nut trees, Freddie is preoccupied caring for Oscar and a battle takes place between Scar and Freddie.  The moment has you cheering for Freddie as Oscar looks on with a look of genuine concern on his face.

The cinematography is magnificent and the use of HD time-lapse photography shows us both the wonder and beauty of the ever growing living forest.  It is a reminder that nature is a powerful force and only the fit will survive.

Judging from the quiet of the young children in the packed multiplex, I would say Disney has a hit on it’s hands, once again proving that Disney is the king of family entertainment.


2 Responses to “Disneynature Chimpanzee”

  1. Nancy April 22, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

    can’t wait to see this!! saw Three Stooges today and thought it was pretty funny…I did grow up with the clan//

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