See it at the Movies



(Disney nature classic)

We are suckers for Disney and National Geographic Nature Films, missing the good old days when IMAX always had one on the large screen.

Disney brings us another classic, showing us scenes of nature and animals that 99 percent of us will never have the opportunity to see.

This time around it is chimpanzees in the African rain forest. Of course, you see much more than chimpanzees. There is the flora and fauna of the forest, complete with insects, trees, plants and other animals. But mostly there are the chimps, with their human-like expressive but sad eyes, playful nature and survival skills. Disney gives them a human touch, naming the chimpanzees that they follow and film up close.

They follow an extended family as they raise their young, search for food and fight off an invading family. Their use of "tools" is a recently discovered skill. They use rocks and logs to break open the nuts they need to survive. The trial and error is both fascinating and funny. Sticks are used to capture deadly fire ants and other insects.

We follow a baby chimp that the filmmakers have labeled "Oscar,” as he is raised by his mother, and when she is killed in a "war" against an invading "army,” is raised by Freddy, the alpha male of the unusual behavior for the species.

The documentary is narrated in a casual, humorous manner by Tim Allen. Stay for the credits, which are a highlight of the hour and a half film. You will see how difficult it is for the cameramen to follow the chimpanzees through rugged terrain.

The film carries a G rating and is as good a family film as you will find. There is some violence during the territorial battle, but it is seen from a distance, as is a scene where the chimpanzees chase small monkeys to get much-needed food.


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