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Stars: Oscar, Isha, Freddy

Director: Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield

Disney’s new ‘Disney nature’ movie features as its subject a young chimpanzee named Oscar, whose story, after his mother Isha Is fatally injured in a confrontation with a simian ‘gang’, leaving the young chimp to fend for himself, resembles Disney’s 1950s ‘True-Life Adventures’, which I suffered while at boarding school in Kenya, since the films were so sanitized by the studio they were considered acceptable for us.

(Ironically when Alfred and Elma Milotte who filmed Disney’s The African Lion came to our school to talk about their work, they were very much under the influence of alcohol and as a result a great deal more entertaining than the film they photographed).

Here the cinematography (Martyn Colbeck and Bill Wallauer) of chimpanzees in the rain forests of Africa (the film was shot in the Ivory Coast and Uganda) is superb and directors Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield make the most of the lush images and of the chimps and their adventures. But what we get is not just a simple wildlife film, which is a real pity. Unfortunately Linfield, Fothergill and Don Han’s screenplay ruthlessly anthropomophizes its simian stars, an ultimately irritating approach that is potentiated by the so-cute-it-often-nauseates narration by Tim Allen.

Your best bet. Close your ears and feast your eyes while your kids enjoy watching the monkey business on offer

Alan Frank

USA 2012. UK Distributor: Walt Disney. Colour.
78 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 02 May 2013