Greetings, Money Saving Parents! This is entry #1 in my Countdown to Earth Day series, a review of Disney Nature’s Chimpanzee. I plan to review different Disney Nature films throughout the week and encourage families to watch each of these highly educational documentaries as they celebrate the planet on which we live and its many wonders. Enjoy!
Earth Day is quickly approaching and the people at Disney Nature productions have several first- class, educational documentaries about the planet and its inhabitants. One of its many family- friendly offerings is Chimpanzee, a 2012 documentary about the lives of chimps in the African jungle.
A Chimp and His Family
At the center of Chimpanzee is Oscar, a small, adorable baby chimp who lives with his mother Isha and a large number of other chimpanzees. These chimps support each other, share food, and follow the lead of Freddy, a large, strong alpha male who protects the members of his extended family and defends its territory. One day, a rival group of chimpanzees threatens Freddy’s family and captures part of its territory. In the fight that follows, little Oscar loses him mother. Who will take care of Oscar and teach him what he needs to know to survive in the wild on his own?
A Day in the Life
Chimpanzee is all about education and, in particular, the daily life of a baby chimp named Oscar. The little chimp clings to his mother Isha and depends on her for protection, food, and guidance. Once he loses his mom, he tries to seek attention from the other chimps but is largely ignored. Finally, he ends up bonding with a large male chimp and the surprising, heartwarming relationship between the two ensues all the way to the documentary’s end.
Animal documentaries are nothing new and in this respect, Chimpanzee doesn’t break any new ground. But there are some unique qualities of Chimpanzee that make it one of the better documentaries on this subject. Rather than simply show footage and talk about the facts, Chimpanzee manages to make the experience a little more personal and entertaining. Like other Disney Nature films, it assigns a name to each chimp to tell them apart. The assigning of names makes the documentary more memorable and kids will start calling the chimpanzees by name. Children will marvel at the interaction between the chimps as they work together to survive and they will like the family- oriented plot that includes a baby, his mother, fearless leaders, a bad guy named Scar, and other qualities that make it seem like the plot was taken straight from a children’s story book.
Education and Humor
Documentaries often have a serious tone, and Chimpanzee generally follows a factual plot. But to keep things lightened up, narrator Tim Allen injects a little bit of humor from time to time. The humor is fun, and it helps to break up the seriousness of the documentary with some lightened up moments.
Quite a bit of work goes into the making of an effective documentary about animals and Chimpanzee shares its behind the scenes moments at the documentary’s close. It lets the viewer see the great amount of effort that went into making this documentary, which in fact took about three years to complete. The hard work and dedication of the Disney Nature cast and crew really come through in the finished product.
Oscar and his Family
Educational documentaries can be boring, but Chimpanzee is a very good documentary that makes learning fun through its entertaining moments and story- like presentation. Some children and even some adults will get a little choked up when Oscar loses his mother and is forced to fend for himself, but this is a documentary with an ultimate happy ending. Get a DVD copy this Earth Day, and educate yourself on Oscar, Isha, Freddy, and the other Chimpanzees as they fight for survival deep in the African jungle.
Copyright 2014, Bryan Carey