“... It's Taken Something That Could Have Been Beautiful In Its Own Naturalism And Contorted It Into A Childish Mess. It's Taken A Real Event And Made It Into A Stage Play; It's Taken Real Chimps And Made Them Into A Cast Of Performing Characters...”
“Disneynature Has Crafted Up A Beautiful Piece Of Film That Touches The Heart Completely.”
“Watching Chimps Is Fun”
Chimpanzee gives us a fully smoothed-out story -- about an orphan ape named Oscar -- populated with chimps so cute and Disney-fied that you half expect them to break out in an Alan Menken song.
Adam Markovitz - Entertainment Weekly
- New York Times
To experience "Chimpanzee," the latest piece of gorgeously shot pablum from Disneynature, is to endure an orgy of cuteness pasted over some of the most asinine narration ever to ruin a wildlife movie.
Jeannette Catsoulis - New York Times
It's unfortunate that the filmmakers juxtapose those striking visuals with a warlike anthropomorphizing element.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
One wonders whether more than a few viewers won't want to take home a baby chimp after seeing the film.
Michael O'Sullivan - Washington Post
All audiences stand to be charmed except those grouches who prefer their animals to be valued as animals rather than as furry little people.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
Strictly from a nature-doc angle, Chimpanzee is impressive stuff.
Benjamin Mercer - Village Voice
Unlike the hyper-edited fare on TV's Animal Planet, "Chimpanzee" lets everyone feel like a mini-Jane Goodall.
Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News
Those hungering for rare footage of our cousins playing and foraging, fighting or fleeing are in for a number of treats.
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
It's never less than remarkable to lay eyes upon. But it feels more ... contrived.
Glenn Kenny - MSN Movies
Combines astonishingly vivid and intimate footage of animal life with narration that sometimes crosses the line between accessible and intrusive.
Nell Minow - Chicago Sun-Times
With its emphasis on entertainment rather than edification, the film occupies a warm-and-fuzzy middle ground between "The Jungle Book" and Animal Planet.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
It's really a wonder of nature, a reminder of how we are bound to other species and how valuable and special and downright magical their lives are. It may be a bit corny at times, but it's also downright enlightening.
Tom Long - Detroit News
Fothergill and Linfield really do capture some awesome footage of the chimpanzees in the wild. Who knew watching them crack nuts with sticks and rocks could be so entertaining? Or use a stick to eat ants?
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
As expected, the primate behavior on display is fascinating, as deftly framed by the filmmakers; one could watch this band of apes make tools and crack nuts for hours.
Andrew Barker - Variety
Resurrects some of the worst traits of the studio's True-Life Adventures series of the 1950s, '60s and '70s, dubiously shaping some amazing footage with cornball narration that relentlessly anthropomorphizes its simian subjects.
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
In seeking to make frothy entertainment out of the growing pains of an orphaned baby chimp named Oscar, with an insipid story and almost mocking narration by Tim Allen, it runs counter to its professed scientific intentions.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
Unfortunately, when so many strings have been pulled along the way, Oscar's triumph feels contrived for dramatic impact, even though it really happened.
Liam Lacey - Globe and Mail
Some privileged nature footage from the African rain forest is dishonored by deeply silly narration in Chimpanzee.
Todd McCarthy - Hollywood Reporter
It has plenty of charm and is filled with astonishingly intimate footage worth seeing on the big screen but is sketchy on details and dumbed down by cutsy, anthropomorphizing narration.
Mary F. Pols - TIME Magazine
[It] might as well be called "Simply Irresistible," because thanks to the mischievous monkeyshines of a baby chimp named Oscar, it comes pretty close.
Betsy Sharkey - Los Angeles Times
Disney finally found a voice for this series, and they did it by going back to what made them successful in the first place.
James Plath - Movie Metropolis
For some reason, Disney thought it would be a brilliant idea to have overrated and "shoot me in my face" irritating actor/comedian Tim Allen to talk over the ape action. What a horrible idea!
Austin Kennedy - Sin Magazine
We get a dumbed-down narration (by Tim Allen) that telegraphs what the audience should be feeling at every second.
Sean Means - Salt Lake Tribune
Has the makings of a great nature documentary … If only Allen didn't keep elbowing us in the ribs to make sure that we get it.
Steven D. Greydanus - Decent Films Guide
Little Oscar's life is by definition eventful, as each day holds risk, from predators and weather and scarcity of food.
Cynthia Fuchs - PopMatters
Many of the images speak for themselves, to the extent that with a little more creative editing and narrative restraint Chimpanzee could work as a silent film.
Michelle Orange - Movieline
- Austin Chronicle
Don't be fooled: The humans are the only ones mugging here.
Kimberley Jones - Austin Chronicle
The chimp is adorable and the movie is just okay. It needed something to make it special and not just good.
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
Combines breathtaking wildlife footage with silly, self-conscious voiceover narration aimed at preschoolers.
Miles Howard - Boston Phoenix
While Tim Allen grates a bit, kids will probably be all stoked to hear Buzz Lightyear talking about chimps.
Bob Grimm - Tucson Weekly
A pleasant family entertainer sure to stimulate young minds into learning more about the world's wildlife.
Michael Dequina - TheMovieReport.com
Heart-warming and family-friendly, marred only by the banal, cloyingly cute narration which anthropomorphizes the primates.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
[VIDEO] The true story of Oscar, an abandoned infant chimpanzee left to fend for himself in Africa's jungle wilderness, is at the heart of this stunning documentary.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
Technically speaking, the film is breathtaking -- made up of crisp and clear long shots, intimate peeks inside the rainforest, and a wealth of consistently used time-lapse footage that is jaw-dropping.
Kate Erbland - Film School Rejects
Nell Minow - Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
We don't see footage of different chimps and have to pretend it's the same; this is one fellow, from one clan, trying to survive.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
Like all Disneynature films, Chimpanzee is a mixed bag, but it fulfills its role in the natural selection of the Hollywood box-office.
Jason McKiernan - Filmcritic.com
Easily the most cohesive release from DisneyNature. It's also comfortable being a smaller movie, keeping to the limited range of the rainforest where the chimpanzees live.
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
At a light and lean 78 minutes, Chimpanzee is perfect family fare as kids will love watching the antics of the young chimps, and just before they figure out its educational, the credits are rolling.
Mathew DeKinder - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Drew Taylor - The Playlist
It's not too surprising that there's plenty of anthropomorphizing going on here. Never mind, if it keeps kids interested.
Liz Braun - Jam! Movies
A gorgeous looking film that manages to survive its anthropomorphization and the related narration by Tim Allen that, quite frankly, sticks out like a sore thumb. (Full Content Movie Review for Parents also available)
Jim Judy - Screen It!
Of course, if you're a fan of old-school Disney True-Life Adventure tales like "Joker: The Amiable Ocelot," then you're used to this sort of sanitizing of the world's rougher edges.
Alonso Duralde - The Wrap
It's a little on the anthropomorphic side, and Tim Allen's insistently chummy narration grates. But the developments in the second half are genuinely gripping, and the high-def images are stunning.
Norman Wilner - NOW Toronto
Older kids and grownups will be especially impressed with behind-the-scenes footage that is shown at the end of the picture, where we see some of the techniques that directors...Fothergill and...Linfield employ to capture their amazing footage.
Leonard Maltin - Leonard Maltin's Picks
touching, exhilarating, and enlightening in unexpected ways
Andrea Chase - Killer Movie Reviews
Two opposable thumbs up.
Mike Scott - Times-Picayune
I would have preferred a straightforward nature documentary examining the clan life of chimpanzees instead of an animal story given human trappings with the narrator [Tim Allen]literally putting words in their mouths.
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Walt Disney himself couldn't have scripted "Chimpanzee" any better.
Rafer Guzman - Newsday
You'd have to be Attila the Hun not to think this little guy is worth watching.
Jeanne Kaplan - Kaplan vs. Kaplan
Unfortunately, the directors missed an opportunity to bring attention to the fact that the chimpanzee population has been reduced by some 80 per cent.
David Kaplan - Kaplan vs. Kaplan
Produced in association with the Jane Goodall Institute, "Chimpanzee" is an eye-opening primer in cross-species similarity.
Joe Williams - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The stunning and mostly uncompromising visuals more than compensate for the frequent corny turns of phrase.
Peter Hartlaub - San Francisco Chronicle
Chimp 'adoption' documentary has some scary moments.
Sandie Angulo Chen - Common Sense Media
Decide for yourself if the narration is a necessary concession for kids: it's a take-it-or-leave-it proposition that doesn't make but also doesn't quite break Chimpanzee.
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
Although the script is aimed at the youngest members of the audience, adults will find much to admire in the simply astonishing footage gathered over four years in tracking this amazing species.
Pete Hammond - Boxoffice Magazine
It's particularly telling when the footage playing during the end credits is better and more insightful than anything in the film proper.
Dustin Putman - DustinPutman.com
A family-friendly film about a different kind of family.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
In the end, image triumphs over narrative. [But] does the natural world really need to be shaped into a cartoonish morality tale?
Jeff Meyers - Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
A people-pleasing Disney "documentary" hellbent on building a kid-friendly narrative, it contains enough stunning footage of the chimps and their jungle habitat to remain engrossing.
Katey Rich - CinemaBlend.com
It isn't easy to insult the intelligence of preschoolers, but Chimpanzee's insistence on turning the two gangs into the Sharks and the Jets does the job long before Allen lapses into his Home Improvement grunting.
Scott Tobias - AV Club
The most personal and involving nature doc since March of the Penguins
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
Your own wild tribe will be entertained by the feisty hero and his monkey shenanigans.
Matt Stevens - E! Online
"Chimpanzee" is a laudable feat of technical prowess and determination...
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
While it goes without saying that all nature documentaries are handled with some degree of editorial magic to come alive, Chimpanzee feels overly finessed, demanding to be loved instead of aspiring to inform.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
The point of these movies should be to observe reality, not to shape reality into the equivalent of a cute animated movie.
Matt Pais - RedEye
The makers of "Chimpanzee" appear to have captured a lot of genuine and genuinely lovely footage of instinctive compassion among animals.
Tom Keogh - Seattle Times
...the narration includes unnecessary jokey head balloon comments and strained attempts at drama.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Another documentary teaching children a dualistic view of the world with good versus evil communities.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
Perhaps the best strategy for enjoying the movie would be to a) leave sensitive tykes at home and b) bring a portable music player to provide an alternative soundtrack.
Mark Jenkins - NPR
Chimpanzee is Bambi for simians, but-spoiler alert-with a less trauma-inducing mother loss, especially for the audience.
Marsha McCreadie - Film Journal International
Bring your own choice of soundtrack, just so long as it's long enough to block out Tim Allen's excruciating voice-over ... everything visual about the film is stunning.
Christopher Campbell - Movies.com
There's clash between images and words, between awesome footage of simians in their habitat and the voice-overs, which are often too cute, banal, and unnecessary, but overall the film offers kids a sense of wonder.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
In the absence of narrative, directors Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield fall back on the prevalent nature-TV escape hatch of anthropomorphizing what would otherwise be dull.
Dan Hudak - Orlando Weekly
Must-see family fare for animal lovers and suckers for visually-captivating wildlife adventures like March of the Penguins and Winged Migration.
Kam Williams - AALBC.com
A heartwarming and astonishingly intimate nonfiction feature that engagingly locates the parallel drama, sadness, curiosity and uplift of the animal kingdom.
Brent Simon - Screen International
No one's asking for a somber account of simian life, but perhaps Buzz Lightyear could keep quiet for a bit and let the monkey business speak for itself.
David Fear - Time Out New York
Amazing detail and storytelling trump a sometimes cloying cuteness in Disneynature's best yet.
Roger Moore - McClatchy-Tribune News Service
The astonishing footage of apes in their natural environment is made perfectly accessible and then nearly undone by a narration track that plays to the audience's basest desires for gag-inducing cuteness.
Andrew Schenker - Slant Magazine