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Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees

USA 2012

The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:

Movie info

Original title:Chimpanzee
Genre:Documentary, Children's film
Direction:Alastair Fothergill & Mark Linfield
Cinema release:09.05.2013
Production country:USA 2012
Running time:Approx. 78 min.
Rated:From 0 years
Web page:www.disney.de/schimpansen
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Deep in the rainforest of the TaïNational Park in southwestern Ivory Coast, a clan of chimpanzees lives in peaceful harmony. Under the watchful eye of leader Freddy, the chimps go about foraging for food and raising their offspring. In this environment, little Oscar grows up with his loving mother Isha, who not only shows him love, but also teaches him important lessons for survival in the not always safe rainforest. The harmony of the clan is disturbed by a rival group of chimpanzees around their leader Scar, who invades Freddy's territory in search of food. Again and again it comes to fights, to which also Oscar's mother falls victim. The little chimpanzee is now actually doomed to die, because he is still too weak and too inexperienced to survive on his own. But just when all hope seems extinguished, a genuine miracle occurs.

Chimpanzees is the sixth film now released by Disney under its Disneynature label. For three years, acclaimed nature filmmakers Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield (Our Earth), with the help of renowned chimpanzee expert Christophe Boesch, observed the clan led by leader Freddy and, under great strain, captured quite wonderful and, at times, truly unique images. Boesch, director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, was extremely concerned that the presence of the film crew should not disturb the apes' lives. Thus, no more than three crew members were allowed to be near the chimpanzees at any one time.

With a great deal of patience, which was put to the test more than once not only by the behavior of the apes but also by the weather and vegetation, and with high-quality technology, the filmmakers' plan to take the viewers into the world of the chimpanzees, which was still unknown to many, was put into practice. The shots of the way hard but very tasty nuts are cracked, for example, are just as fascinating as the images in which the viewer witnesses little chimpanzees imitating their adult role models.

As beautiful, touching, funny and wonderful as the images may be, in the end Chimpanzees unfortunately did not become an all-round successful animal film. The non-stop commentary, which has been dubbed in a very child-friendly way, sometimes really grates on the nerves. This is a pity, because many of the shots don't really need any explanation and are so comprehensible for children, that they shouldn't have been commented. Moreover, the chimpanzees are humanized too much by the commentary, which is almost laughably striking, especially with regard to the naming of the evil Scar. Sure, at times the behavior of the primates seems too human. Still, the humanization of the chimps here feels absolutely over the top and ultimately makes the film feel less like a documentary and more like a Disney-esque fairy tale. And that absolutely doesn't do justice to the hard work of the film's team, which you can get a brief glimpse of during the credits.

Chimpanzees has some quite wonderful moments to offer, as well as some insightful scenes. However, it can't compete with nature documentaries like Our Earth, despite great images. For children certainly a nice way to get acquainted with the fascinating world of primates. But if you expect a serious animal documentary, you will be disappointed by the trivializing and childish presentation. Therefore: with deductions for a young audience well worth seeing!

An article by Frankfurt-Tipp

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Cinema trailer for the movie "Chimpanzees (USA 2012)"
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