Space Chimps [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray A - America - Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Andreas Petersen (27th December 2008).
The Film

I have an inherit suspicion towards any non-Pixar computer animated family film. I honestly feel that through the past 13 years, ever since the release of "Toy Story" (1995), Pixar is the only studio to release a CG family film right, and everyone else is trying to hop on the band wagon. Enter "Space Chimps," a short feature-length animated film directed by Kirk De Micco. "Space Chimps" attempts to offer its audience a dose of subversive humor mixed with slap stick, a formula executed with finesse under Pixar. Even though these jokes all tend to fall completely flat, this animated shipwreck falls victim to many pitfalls that other Pixar imitators tend to fall into: There is virtually no character development or story to speak of what so ever.

"Space Chimps" tells the story of Ham III (Andy Samberg), the grandson to the once famous chimp astronaut Ham I. After a NASA probe gets sucked into a wormhole, the organization sends a team of chimps in after it. Ham III is tapped out of his gig at some sort of circus because of his celebrity status. He is joined by Luna (Cheryl Hines) and Titan (Patrick Warburton). These two professional chimps have to put up with Ham IIIís wacky antics as they chase the rogue satellite into an alien world where this evil dude (Jeff Daniels) has enslaved his people to build a casino or something.

My deepest apologies if my plot synopsis seems to be a bit hard to grasp, but I like to think that is because I am attempting to explain a near-incomprehensible mess of a film. Every character introduction, every dialog sequence, and every moment of the film is pointless and arbitrary. Plot details are never explained, such as why Ham III has to go to space, or what the hell the deal is with the planet where the satellite crash lands. Some may think Iím grasping for too much out of this kid-themed-movie, but honestly, I find that argument moot, especially when over the past 13 years, weíve been shown that childrenís entertainment doesnít need to be stupid.

Disregarding any sort of plot elements of the movie, it really doesnít have anything else going for it. The voice actors of the film speak lazily in their own voices, as if they know how stupid the movie they are in is, offering no real effort in creating the characters they are portraying. This is also hurt by the fact that the character animations in "Space Chimps" are abysmal. I honestly think the look and feel of this film is on par with some sort of cold medication advert from the late 90ís. The characters of the film are expressionless, and are at most times nothing more than heads with a mouth moving on them. The only indicator that a character is emoting is by the tone of their voice, rather than by their body language. For successful animation, both need to be present.

Iím somewhat flabbergasted that "Space Chimps" even came out in theaters. The quality is below awful. There isnít a single funny joke, iota of passion, or thrilling moment in the movie. The only reason that this movie must exist to for parents to put on when they need their kids to be distracted for 80 minutes. I beg you, if this in line with your thinking, please reconsider. "Space Chimps" is the lowest denominator of childrenís entertainment, and I honestly think will do more harm than good towards your kid. We live in an age where the good childrenís films are better than they ever have, offering deep characters, complicated plots, and important themes, all hidden under a mask of simplicity, teaching your children while entertaining. "Space Chimps" is not one of these movies, no matter how hard it may try to be. Avoid this at all costs.

Video

As terrible as "Space Chimps" is, the film looks pretty amazing on Blu-Ray. The film is offered in a 2.35:1 high-definition 1080p 24/fps transfer mastered using AVC MPEG-4 compression, and in terms of picture quality, "Space Chimps" is flawless. Completely computer generated films certainly seem to lend themselves to the format nicely, and this one is no exception. All the colors are vibrant, and there is no sort of excess noise or grain to distract the viewer. However, the greatness of this transfer also lends itself negatively to the film. Because the picture quality is so good, I felt it brought focus on just how bad the animation of the film was. The mix of great picture quality and terrible animation was really awkward at some points. Itís hard to knock on the picture quality of the film for that, but I thought Iíd mention it.

Audio

"Space Chimps" is offered in an English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track presented at 48kHz/24-bit, as well as French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound tracks. Just as with the video, "Space Chimps" has been given the royal treatment. All the sounds are crystal clear, and moved around my room at all the right points. I honestly feel as though more care went into the filmís sound than any other aspect, because at times, I was almost exhilarated by the sound alone.
Optional subtitles are included in both English and Spanish.

Extras

"Space Chimps" comes along with a cast and crew interview featurette, TV spots, and bonus trailers. They are explained further below:

First up is "Fox Movie Channel Presents Casting Session" featurette, running for 8 minutes and 55 seconds. I found this featurette to be laughable, but for all the wrong reasons. The voice actors are interviewed here, and each of them discuss what they believe they brought to the film (which in my opinion was nothing), and they seem to justify why they were in the movie to begin with.

Next up are 5 TV spots for the film, including:

- "Adventure" which runs for 16 seconds.
- "Countdown" which runs for 32 seconds.
- "Meet" which runs for 31 seconds.
- "Right Stuff" which runs for 30 seconds.
- "Spacier" which runs for 31 seconds.

The disc also includes start-up bonus trailers for:

- "Horton Hears a Who" which runs for 2 minutes and 48 seconds.
- "Dr. Doolittle: Tinsel Town Tale" which runs for 55 seconds.
- "Garfieldís Pet Force" which runs for 26 seconds.
- "Angel Wars: The Messengers" which runs for 42 seconds.

Overall

The Film: F Video: A Audio: A Extras: F Overall: D+

 


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