Yesterday, I took you guys inside my experience on the Red Carpet of Disneynature’s newest movie Chimpanzee. I really couldn’t hide my excitement of walking down the same path of the prestigious Jane Goodall.
I know you guys have some questions about the film and whether or not it’s suitable for young children. I had those same questions prior to viewing the movie. My daughter, who was in Kindergarten when she first saw the movie Earth, came home from school devastated and crying her eyes out at the truth behind that movie. In the end, you know your children best and know what they can and cannot handle, but, in case you’re still not sure, this is our take on Chimpanzee. My hope is that it’ll help you decide.
Disneynature takes moviegoers deep into the forests of Africa with “Chimpanzee,” a new True Life Adventure introducing an adorable young chimpanzee named Oscar and his entertaining approach to life in a remarkable story of family bonds and individual triumph. Oscar’s playful curiosity and zest for discovery showcase the intelligence and ingenuity of some of the most extraordinary personalities in the animal kingdom. Working together, Oscar’s chimpanzee family—including his mom, Isha, and the group’s savvy leader, Freddy — navigates the complex territory of the forest.
The world is a playground for little Oscar and his fellow young chimpanzees, who’d rather make mayhem than join their parents for an afternoon nap. But when Oscar’s family is confronted by a rival band of chimpanzees, he is left to fend for himself until a surprising ally steps in and changes his life forever. Directed by Alastair Fothergill (“African Cats” and “Earth”) and Mark Linfield (“Earth”), and narrated by Tim Allen (ABC’s “Last Man Standing”), “Chimpanzee” swings into theaters on April 20, 2012, just in time for Earth Day.
As I mentioned above, I was afraid this new nature movie would be “too honest” for young eyes. When I say that, I’m not saying I want to shield my children from the truths of wildlife, but I’d like to know what I’m showing them beforehand. As their mother, I want to be prepared to answer questions they have or, better yet, talk to them before watching nature movies such as Chimpanzee.
My daughter’s class watched Earth two years ago, while in class. Half of the class left school that day crying. My daughter had nightmares. I wish someone would have told us they were viewing that movie in class. I wish I would have watched that movie and prepared my daughter. So, with Chimpanzee, I wanted to be proactive. This is a Disney movie that my children are dying to see and when I was invited to the Disney Global Event to attend the World Premiere, I was ecstatic at the thought of viewing this movie before anyone else.
So, what did I think?
Chimpanzee starts off in a very light toned matter. We meet Freddy, the leader of the Chimpanzee pack, and everyone in his group including Isha and her baby chimp Oscar. Tim Allen as the narrator threw me for a loop, because I was expecting a strong deep voice like Morgan Freeman or James Earl Jones. I thought to myself My children are SO going to recognize this voice. They’re going to think Buzz Lightyear is IN the movie!
The fact that Tim Allen narrates the movie brings a familiarity for children, in my opinion. They already know the voice from the Toy Story movies. So it works. Disneynature brings you into the life of a Chimpanzee, using a well-known voice, and further explores what Chimpanzees go through in the wild such as:
- Food Scarcity
- Rival Gangs
- Hunting for Meat
- Prepping food like nuts and fruit
- Sleeping in trees to say safe
- Survival Tactics
With all the truth of the wild, I’ve got to say, it’s never violent. I was pleasantly surprised at the one scene of the Chimpanzee hunting for monkeys. Did you know Chimps eat monkeys? It surprised me as well, but as soon as the hunt began I was prepared to shield my eyes. In my head I thought there is NO way I’m going to let me children watch this, but after it was all said and done? There were never scenes of violence, blood, or gore. It was depicted in a very natural way, a way that is not at all scary for young children.
Another instance I was worried about was when Oscar loses his Mom Isha. I was prepared to see a scene of fighting chimpanzees, but it wasn’t anything like that. There was chaos and running, but never anything that would just break your heart or make you shield your eyes.
In the end, I found Chimpanzee to be a very family-friendly film that was both funny and truthful. It takes you through the REAL life of a chimpanzee tribe and how they survive in the wild. What’s amazing is that Disneynature’s directors were able to capture an amazing miracle of Oscar being adopted after his Mom disappears. Not only is he adopted, but he’s adopted by Freddy the alpha male, the highest ranking male in his tribe. It’s unheard of, but so moving and honest. Plus, the cinematography and scenes throughout the movie are completely breathtaking.
Chimpanzee hits theaters THIS Friday, April 20th. See it on opening week and Disney will make a donation to the Jane Goodall Institute to save Chimpanzees today and tomorrow. For more information visit www.disney.com/chimpanzee.
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