Chimpanzee: The Movie

** Spoiler alert. **

Like most, my kiddos are fascinated by the animal kingdom. So we enthusiastically went to see Chimpanzee—the nature documentary produced by Disneynature. Geared for the younger set, the G-rated Chimpanzee centered on a cute young chimp—“Oscar.”

Chimpanzee was placid. There was little action, little adventure, no gore, and, of course, since chimps don’t speak in the sense that we do, no foul language. The movie was narrated by comedian and actor Tim Allen, to the point of boredom for my active ten-, twelve-, and fourteen-year olds.

Sure, there was interest—when the chimps hunted their meat source and when the "rival" tribe appeared to challenge Oscar’s. And there was some real concern about Oscar’s loss. Other than that there was a lot of "shushing," because my kids weren’t buying the concept of “good” and “evil” chimp communities. Oscar’s adoption wasn’t given enough examination. The story wasn’t holding together for them; it felt contrived.

It was not until the credits rolled and the theater had emptied out that my kids’ interest was piqued. Here was the real story

and drama—reading how the population of chimps has been decimated and is now critically endangered and on the brink of extinction, witnessing how difficult the actual filming of the chimpanzees had been in the tropical Tai Forest located in the Ivory Coast (on the south coast of the western bulge of Africa, sufficiently northwest of DR Congo) and why the “adoption” of Oscar, never seen in the wild and covered during the last portion of the film, by the alpha male Freddy, was so significant.

Disneynature worked closely with the Jane Goodall Institute, however the connection between Chimpanzee and the Jane Goodall Institute was lost. Renowned primatologist Jane Goodall appeared in the trailers, but not in the film. Where was she or her voice and insight? I would liked to have known more, and so would have my kids.

MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.