Saturday, 8 June 2013

Chimpanzee, dir. Alastair Fothergill, Mark Linfield, wr. Alastair Fothergill, Mark Linfield, Don Hahn, nar. Tim Allen

Deep in the African rainforest a young chimpanzee is orphaned, leaving, remarkably, the group's alpha male chimp to pick up adoption duties. With the cute-factor dialled to 11 and gorgeous cinematography that pops off the screen with a clarity and depth that rivals the best of the beeb, Disney's Chimpanzee can hardly fail to amaze and enthral. However, in place of Attenborough's deeply resonant and mellifluous tones, we get Tim Allen's  condescending and simplistic voiceover that soft-pedals the science in lieu of an overly-sentimental story. True, the Disney badge probably signifies the film's intentions as accessible child-friendly fodder, but surely the beauty of an Attenborough script is its propensity for the beautifully minimal and instructive? One may well raise an eyebrow at the irony of an iron-clad multinational hell-bent on stamping every corner of the globe with a Mickey silhouette, but the educational value of this effort remains assured.