Disneynature’s newest addition, Chimpanzee, is releasing on Blu-Ray/DVD on August 21st, and it’s definitely one you don’t want to miss. It’s sweet, charming, occasionally funny, a little sad at time, but definitely heartwarming. The documentary, which is narrated by Tim Allen (aka Buzz Lightyear), follows the early life of Oscar, an adorable little chimp born to a loving mom, Isha (not sure of the spelling for her, it rhymes with Felicia, without the Fel). Oscar and his mom belong to Freddy’s group, and their alpha-male is typically fairly aloof. He definitely doesn’t get involved in play time with the baby chimps!

In a neighboring territory, the rough and tough Scar and his band of warrior chimpanzees are eying up Freddy’s land and planning an invasion.  During one of their raids, tragedy strikes and it seems like poor Oscar is doomed too. It’s a Disney movie, think about what could possibly happen. The main difference between this and, say, Bambi, is that Chimpanzee is real.


Chimpanzee Slide Show

An Amazing Event

Fortunately for Oscar, an amazing event takes place that has never been filmed on camera, and the little guy is able to have a happy ending. For the filmmakers, they went in to film the interactions between a newborn chimp and his mama, and they came out with something so much more. That must have been such an extraordinary experience for them to witness. Trust me, you will be thinking about little Oscar and Chimpanzee long after the documentary ends.

While Chimpanzee is a documentary, between the exceptional filming and Tim Allen’s narration, it doesn’t feel like one. We really get to know the personalities of all the chimps involved in the story, and it’s just so cool to see how much like us they are. The moms hold and kiss their babies much the way we do with ours, and the intelligence of these animals is just astounding.

A word of warning- some parts may be upsetting for children, but the filmmakers did a good job of leaving the details fairly vague. You know what happens, but you don’t have to see it. Overall, though, I think it’s a great movie for the whole family because it’s both educational and entertaining. The movie ends when Oscar is only about a year or so old, maybe younger. I would love it if, in 20 years, they can go back and see how he’s doing as an adult. The life span of a Chimpanzee is pretty long, as the “grandpa” chimp in the movie was 50 years old!

Chimpanzee Blu-Ray/DVD Bonus Features

DVD Bonus features include:

  • See ‘Chimpanzee,’ Save Chimpanzees” – Details how a portion of every purchase of a movie ticket or Blu-Ray/DVD will go towards helping preserve chimp habitats through the work of the Jane Goodall Institute. Ms. Goodall herself makes an appearance in this bonus feature, and the filmmakers share a bit of their journey with viewers.
  • Disney’s Friends for Change– Highlights how kids can make a difference to all animals by telling them the steps they can take to enact positive change.
  • Disney’s Conservation Legacy— Disney is involved in numerous conservation efforts, and this feature highlights the good they have done.

In addition to the features on the DVD, Blu-Ray bonus features include:

  • 30 Years in the Making—The story of the team of researchers who have been observing chimpanzees in the Ivory Coast for 30 years.
  •  The Heart of the “Chimpanzee”—A behind-the-scenes look at how and why the film was made.
  •  Piece of the Puzzle—A cameraman’s two-hour daily trek through the forest to get to the chimpanzees.
  •  Don’t Blame the Tool—An observation of the chimpanzees’ daily lives and how they use rocks as tools to prepare their food.
  •  Scar’s Army—An inside look at the struggles between the film’s two rival chimpanzee groups who share the same forest home.
  • and more.

 Take a closer look at Chimpanzee


Disneynature Chimpanzee Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Review