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Review: Chimpanzee

Disney-distributed documentary
By MILES HOWARD  |  April 24, 2012
2.5 2.5 Stars



Following in the footsteps of African Cats, this Disney-distributed documentary combines breathtaking wildlife footage with silly, self-conscious voiceover narration aimed at preschoolers. (This time, we get Tim Allen subbing for Samuel L. Jackson). Co-directors Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield train their cameras on Oscar, a young, aww-inducing chimpanzee, as he learns the ways of the jungle with his doting adoptive mother and their troupe of fellow chimps. But the ensuing subplot wherein a rival chimp leader called Scar (seriously) invades the primate protagonists' territory lifts the film out of Africa and into Hollywood cliché heaven. Luckily the raw footage eclipses the forced drama and quippy commentary from Allen. Watching the chimps methodically crack hard-shelled nuts with a succession of logs and rocks, you have to wonder how anyone could ever put such an accomplished, amusing creature in the crosshairs of a gun.

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