Like all Disneynature films Chimpanzee inspires, reveals, teaches and entertains. This touching documentary takes you on a journey of unexpected drama and life-changing situations. I like the way director Alastair Fothergill never stops shooting till he gets the best that the viewer can enjoy.
The documentary that took nearly 30 years to plan and 3 years to shoot follows Oscar a newborn chimpanzee that sees the jungle for the first time. Growing among his clan his mother teaches him to deal with getting food, the jungle and to get along with others in a habitat filled with danger. It’s an interesting world to Oscar, but in order for him to survive, his ever-moving family must keep the territory free of predators and still find enough food to feed everyone.
With food getting scarce Freddy, the leader of Oscar’s group, decides to cross over into another Chimp clan’s territory. During a skirmish with Scar, leader of the opposing tribe, Oscar suffers a loss. When Chimps are left with out care, they often die. In a special miracle, however, Oscar gets a second chance.
The documentary plays out in dramatic fashion showing how the baby chimp has to survive in a wild that’s unforgiving. Fothergill takes his camera deep into the country of the Republic of Uganda focusing on the dense forest and how it shapes the lives of this special group of animals. Often inspiring, the film shows how they cope with the tough conditions and protect each other from harm at the risk of their own lives.
Beautifully captured by principal photographer Martyn Colbeck in High Definition he shows every leaf and life in sharp detail. Lowering his camera to the earth he shows the billions of insects that cover the jungle floor, especially the fire ants that swallow up foliage and small animals on their life long trek to nowhere. Under extreme conditions, Colbeck gets within feet of the Chimps while crawling through mud and muck just to get a shot. His dedication to the project is shown throughout the production, but best during the filming of a 20 second opening sequence. He achieved the shot while being attacked by stinging bees during the two-day film shoot. (See the footage in the Bonus Feature “The Forest of Bees”).
The Blu-ray 2- Disc Combo Pack has many very good special features including:
Everything on the DVD, plus …
ON LOCATION: THE MAKING OF “CHIMPANZEE” is a series of exciting short features that delve further into the incredible lengths the filmmakers went to tell the story of Oscar and his chimpanzee family.
The camerawork that took three years to make Chimpanzee is astonishing and very creative. Clear and bright in High Definition, the movie gives the feel that you are on location with the photographers. The 1.78:1 aspect ratio makes the film fit nicely on my widescreen HD television with no distracting bars.
The HD sound on both the DVD and the Blu-ray is excellent from the sounds of the insects to the rustle of the trees.
FINAL ANALYSIS: Another great Disneynature film with inspiration.★★★★★★
Disneynature Will Donate a Portion of First-Week Sales to the Jane Goodall Institute Through the “See ‘Chimpanzee,’ Save Chimpanzees” Conservation Program
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