Mixed or average reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 23
  2. Negative: 1 out of 23
  1. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Apr 19, 2012
    Chimpanzee lets everyone feel like a mini-Jane Goodall.
  2. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Apr 20, 2012
    An eye-opening primer in cross-species similarity. We learn that apes are violent and territorial but also that they are capable of creativity and tenderness.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 25 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 10
  2. Negative: 1 out of 10
  1. Apr 20, 2012
    Notwithstanding the brilliant cinematography--gracefully capturing the Ivory Coast's Tai Forest--as well as the real-time footage of the simians, themselves, "Chimpanzee" is a ultra-light-for-kids eco-doc that, although is believed to be real, and is real, doesn't quite feel real; it's dramatic scenery is accompanied with an even lower suspension of belief voice narration--by Tim Allen--which although corny, is nothing compared to the Disney script that attempts to loosely link the plot of "The Lion King" to a lecture on primatology. In other words, it feels overly contrived, thus managing to demean the marvelous footage in sight; some Bose headphones to block the sound, just might do the trick. But, if the jarringly tenuous and at times, mawkish narration or even the desperate recycling of Disney-movie-orphan-themes won't bother one from heading to the theater with the kids, the pathetic anthropomorphisms--with names of the likes of "Oscar," and even "Scar"--might be enough to discourage viewers. Now, in premise, the humanized chimps seem like a reasonable means to entertain and tell a story to, the kids. But, where it goes wrong is when Disney, again, creates the dichotomy of "good" chimps versus "bad" chimps. To illustrate the distinction even further, everytime "Scar" is shown intervening, the music intensifies, leaving the viewer with a dark, ominous throbbing. This is simply misleading for the youngers, as they are fed the same sermon of ethnocentricism--us versus them--suspending their cognizance that "Scar," too, has his "own" "Oscar" at home, yet it is such an omission of reality in which children are not informed. "Chimpanzee," regardless of its tainted superficiality and resorts to threadbare Disney-themes, is still a wonderful visual spectacle that, in its visualization, contains a magical aura that emphasizes just how close our animal cousins are, and how short the cross-species bridge really is; from the familial bonds of our distant relatives, we are reminded of what life really should entail. Ultimately, though, the same underlying authenticity that was filmed during its production--sans Tim Allen, music, staging, names, etc.--is mainly lost through the over-exertion of string-pulling that makes everyone of "Oscar"'s astonishing triumphs all the less astonishing; it's an eye-opening primer, only beneficial for the eyes, that is too much Saturday-morning-cartoonish and not nearly enough "Nat-Geo." To the unknowing chagrin of its viewers, the latter is far more constructive and worthwhile. Full Review »
  2. Apr 29, 2012
    Very enjoyable movie about a family of chimpanzees, especially their youngest scion, Oscar. The group searches for food, teaches the little guy the rules of the game, and fights off their enemies. In some respects, it's a lot like "Bambi," only this is real footage and not a fictional story. A few moments may be scary to very young children. Most viewers will find it simple but heartwarming. A fun movie if you want to see something lighter and get away from explosions and aliens for a while. Full Review »
  3. Apr 29, 2012
    It almost feels like a sin to give a Disney nature film, let alone on Chimpanzee's a 3 but it is ever so deserving. I'm sorry but this new edition into Disney nature films was just boring and the narration was annoying. Tim Allen was a terrible choice for this movie. For one i just kept thinking of Buzz Lightyear whenever he talked and two, omg was his script laughable at best. Did we need a full play by play of what "Oscar" is thinking or feeling whenever he eats or plays? No, not at all. I just wanted the scream at Tim Allen to tell him to shutup because never once do you get a chance to just enjoy the nature of the film. He just kept talking and talking and talking. It was beyond annoying. The other problem i had was the overall aspect of the film was extremely repetitive. The chimps eat at the nutgrove, then they play, then they get attacked by Scar and his "gang/army" then back to the nutgrove, then playing, then sleeping, oh then Scar attacks again. It was boring, annoying, and just awful all around. The only positive was the cinematography, even then some of the camera wwork was poor, it got shaky and VERY hard to follow what was happening if not for Tim Allens irritating narrating job. I have loved the Disney nature films, oceans being my favorite, but Chimpanzee just seems like overall a very weak effort by Disney. The 78 minute duration is quite on the short side as well. I didn't enjoy this in the slightest, but its too big of a sin to give it a 0 just because its Disney nature, so ill ive it a 3/10 Full Review »