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Chimpanzee Movie Review

This past Friday, April 13th, I was very privileged to attend the red carpet premiere of Disneynature’s “Chimpanzee”. The premiere was held at the AMC Downtown Disney Theatre in Orlando, Florida.

To be honest – before “Chimpanzee” I had never seen any of the Disneynature films. From the moment I saw the first trailer for the Chimpanzee Movie, I was captivated and knew it was a film that I had to see, and take my children to see. Chimpanzees are actually quite similar to humans, which makes it so easy to make an emotional connection with the characters. Watching the baby chimp, Oscar, reminded me of my wee bairns (aka babies).

To tell you a little of what this film is about, it is the story of a very curious 3 year old chimp who gets adopted by the alpha male in the group, which is actually quite rare and unexpected. The filming takes place in the deep forests of Africa, and it is absolutely breathtaking. The movie begins by showcasing the relationship between a mother chimpanzee, Isha, and her baby, Oscar. The movie is narrated by Tim Allen, which definitely adds a few laughs.

As we follow Isha and her little one, Oscar, we are captivated by the great mothering that Isha has for her baby. I was just in awe and slightly teary eyed watching the relationship between Isha and Oscar. They snuggle, play, and care for one another just as I would with my little ones.

We learn how the chimpanzees live and survive off of the fruits and nuts of the forests. Oscar nurses for nourishment, but gradually begins to “watch” and learn how to take care of himself as the other chimps do.

Just as my own little monkeys watch the world around them, trying to take it all in and figure out how to do what everyone else is doing, Oscar does the same. He watches the other chimpanzees take large sticks and rocks to crack nuts, and attempts to do it himself, with little success. It certainly doesn’t stop him from trying though. Picture a toddler watching his or her siblings get dressed for the day, and then pour themselves a bowl of cereal for breakfast. Then that toddler decides to attempt these difficult tasks on their own. It is so fun to watch those little ones try to do what seems simple to us adults, but is not for their little bodies. I think I just smiled from ear to ear while watching Oscar attempt similar tasks. There is a scene where Oscar is trying to teach himself to climb a tree trunk and it is absolutely adorable. He has a little success, but can’t seem to get as far as he’d like. He finally gives  up and falls back down the trunk, and climbs into his mother’s arms – possibly from the exhaustion of trying.

The alpha male of Isha and Oscar’s group is named Freddy. Freddy is aloof to the young chimpanzees around him, and frankly doesn’t pay much attention to them at all. Freddy does take care of his group and has to help protect them from the rival group of chimpanzees, from the other side of the forest. The alpha male of the rival chimps is named Scar, and he is something fierce. The rival group spends their time coveting the nut tree that lies in the middle of Freddy’s group. That tree could help sustain life and everyone wants it, but the two groups don’t want to share it.

A couple of times throughout the movie, Scar and his gang attempt to raid Freddy and his group. You sit on the edge of your seat just awaiting something bad to happen, but they seem to make it out okay. Then during a storm, Scar and his gang have a surprise attack on Freddy and the group, and everyone’s fate is not okay this time.

Oscar is left without his mother and has weeks of trying to fend for himself. None of the other chimpanzees will help feed him or take care of him. My heart was just breaking for the little guy, and almost wished the filming crew would step up and help Oscar out. Sometimes nature must be left alone though. Oscar was getting quite thin and I feared for what might happen to him. The fate of a young chimpanzee without his mother was not typically a good outcome. The most extraordinary thing happens in these deep forests of Africa.

The alpha male, Freddy, takes Oscar under his wing, and adopts him. To see this big male chimpanzee care for little Oscar just warmed my heart. He fed him, carried him on his back and just loved him.

Everyone needs to go see “Chimpanzee” with their families. Get to know nature and the lives of these precious chimpanzees, but be sure to do it during opening week. “Chimpanzee” hits theatres everywhere on Friday, April 20th. A portion of all ticket sales during opening week, will go to the Jane Goodall Institute, to help save the chimpanzees. We would LOVE your support in this!


Disney sent me to Florida for the red carpet premiere of “Chimpanzee”. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the author

Emily Buys


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