Rated: G Reviewed by: Frank Release date: April 20, 2012 Released by: Walt Disney Pictures
The tag line for the film is the relationship between orphan baby chimp, Oscar and the alpha male leader, Freddy but the heart of the film allows us to follow the daily process of living for one family of chimps in the African jungle.
Most impressive is the photography from the tip of the canopy to the ground covered with colorful moss and biting ants to the gathering and harvesting of food on the floor of the chimpanzee's territory.
Beginning each day the family travels to the food which can be fruit in trees, ants on a stick, honey in a tree and nuts which are cracked open using logs or stones.
Oscar is a very comfortable safe baby chimp he learns how to groom and how to eat from his mother. Grooming is more important than looks it keeps skin clean, free of wounds and insects providing one of the measurements of a healthy chimp. When another family attacks the family territory reaching out for more food Oscar loses his mother. Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield direct in such a way to show the violence in the trees and bushes but no specific harm to any chimp.
There is one major battle with the alternate family lead by Scar and the branches move similar to the trees in Jurassic Park as Scar is banished by the more powerful Freddy and the family is safe and comfortable as they are at the beginning of the film.
The relationship which grows between the alpha Freddy and Oscar is unusual and warm to watch as the older powerful chimp takes up where the mother ended but also where no other female in the family will pitch in when Oscar is in serious need. The ride on Freddy's back by Oscar is a triumphant experience for the animals and for those of us who are watching.
In out-takes with the credits at the end of the film the impressive dedication of the film makers and the structures built to house cameras that allow the intimate look at family are as impressive as the photography itself.
It's all quite worthwhile even Cheetah would be impressed.