Chimpanzee Alastair Fothergill & Mark Linfield

Chimpanzee Alastair Fothergill & Mark Linfield
Nature documentaries are known for their breathtaking visuals and candid moments of things previously unseen that we humans couldn't possibly imagine. In the case of Disney Nature, they take both and bundle them together, with a focus on one species, dramatizing the footage into a standard narrative, which subsequently rubs some nature film buffs the wrong way. Any time a documentary film crew sets off into the wild, their hope is to happen upon something interesting and compelling. In the case of Chimpanzee, they hit the jackpot. The film tells the story of a young chimp named Oscar, who's orphaned after his mother is slain; he's then adopted by the alpha male of his tribe. Alpha males aren't known for their parenting skills, typically opting to shun a youngster, but in this case, the film crew captured something truly remarkable on camera. Looking beyond the core story, the visuals of the African jungle are nothing less than stellar, affording us a glimpse of a world we'd otherwise never know existed. Sadly, the narration by Tim Allen only serves to detract from what would have been a compelling visual story on its own, boosting the concept of anthropomorphism to an unnecessary plateau. As with all Disney Nature releases, this is packed with supplemental material and in this case we're treated to a loaded behind-the-scenes look at the filming of the movie, something that any nature enthusiast should enjoy, especially since Tim Allen's voiceover work is absent, allowing the filmmakers and visuals to speak for themselves. Oh, there's also a music video by some Disney pop princesses, but I'm not sure how they fit in with the film. (Buena Vista)