Apr. 25, 2012 - Issue #862: The Real Deal
Of course, we see precious little violence. So little that it actually becomes impossible to understand what's going on in certain scenes of inter-chimp conflict from observation alone. That's where Tim Allen comes in, glossing over details, making heaps of hokey jokes and emphasizing themes of interdependence and love that feel about half-true, half-bullshit. I could have done without Allen's neo-colonialist generalizations about "deepest Africa" or "the dark heart of the forest." Actually I could do with a lot less of the repetitive and at times distracting voice-over narration in general. I understand that it helps to, for example, distinguish the otherwise difficult-to-distinguish chimp stars from each other, but it also prevents viewers, kids and adults alike, from observing actions more closely and heightening our sense of wonder. I guess I'd be happy to split the difference. And if I can't split the difference, then I'd guess I'd be happier with Samuel L Jackson.
The coverage Fothergill and his co-director Mark Linfield have collected is impressive not only for its beauty and intimacy, but because, all the cutesy stuff aside, they manage intermittently to forge some truly fascinating narratives with it, particularly with regards to Oscar's plight after his mom dies. Oscar gets shunned left and right until he begins to shadow Freddy, the gang's generally aloof alpha-male, who winds up not only accepting Oscar, but also nurturing him. So I have to give Chimpanzee some extra points for generating some heart-warming moments that actually feel genuine, instead of imposed.
Directed by Alastair Fothergill, Mark Linfield
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