remember many a Sunday night as a kid, sitting on the living room
floor with a bowl of popcorn with my several siblings, tuned in to
NBC to watch “The Wonderful World of Disney.” It came on
right after Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom,” an
amazing show where host Marlin Perkins would stand safely on the
shore of some African river and describe the dangers co-host Jim
Fowler was facing as he waded through crocodile-infested waters to
wrestle a hippo or something.
was no stranger to telling tales about wild animals, either, and
lightweight documentaries about a variety of animals were a mainstay
of Sunday night programming. This was easy to do, because the Disney
vaults were full of them.
the years, Disneynature has continued to create an impressive amount
of wildlife documentaries, although many of them have had greater
success on DVD than in the theater. Theater or DVD or Blu-ray, their
latest offering, Chimpanzee,
is not to be missed.
Allen, beyond his success on television and in movies, has carved out
a rather successful niche in doing voice-over work, and not just the
franchise where he voiced Buzz Lightyear. You’ve probably heard
him on TV commercials for Chevrolet, the state of Michigan, and
Campbell’s soup. Allen narrates Chimpanzee
his unique blend of hominess and humor that adds both warmth and
insight while educating and entertaining us.
years in the making in the Tai Forest of the Ivory Coast, Chimpanzee
is a true-life adventure that follows an adorable young chimp named
Oscar as he learns about life in his corner of the world.
many years, human beings mistakenly believed that one thing that
distinguished them from the rest of the animal kingdom was their
ability to make and use tools. Ten minutes into this film, you
witness just how false that assumption is. These clever chimps have
figured out how to use wooden logs and stones as hammers to crack
open a variety of nuts, a significant part of their diet. This skill
is passed down generation to generation, mothers teaching their
infant children by example.
not talking about peanuts or pistachios here; we’re talking
about big, baseball-size nuts with really hard shells, and the most
skilled among them can crack and eat as many as 270 nuts in a day.
is at once amusing and amazing to see how much we have in common with
our primate cousins. Some are impatient and eat a nut as soon as they
find it. Others gather a great number of nuts and then sit down to a
feast. Some are very gifted with their nut-cracking hammers, and
other less-coordinated chimps experience the same sensations their
human counterparts feel when hammer finds thumb instead of nail. I
couldn’t exactly understand the noises they made when they hit
themselves with their stone hammers, but it was unmistakably monkey
swearing. (OK, please don’t write and explain to me that
chimpanzees are apes, not monkeys. You have better things to do with
story is a remarkable and compelling look at a world few humans ever
witness, where rival gangs of chimpanzees covet Oscar’s
family’s land because of the wealth of nut groves, and they
plot to take over the territory. Some of these other chimps are
painted as the bad guys, and the tale that unfolds is fascinating,
very funny, and a little frightening. But Oscar’s story, in
particular, is a wondrous and wonderful tale of hope and courage and
who doesn’t think animals are capable of such things should
take a look at this film. I won’t elaborate on the trials and
challenges young Oscar faces out there in the jungle, but we don’t
use the expression, “It’s a jungle out there,” for
end credits offer a few behind-the-scenes looks at the dedicated crew
of filmmakers who worked tirelessly for three thankless years in the
jungles of Africa, schlepping cameras and gear for miles every day,
on foot, to achieve some truly incredible footage. Unlike their
counterparts in Hollywood who have the luxury of craft services and
air conditioned trailers and actors who do what they are told, these
documentarians survived on meager rations they prepared themselves,
camping in the jungle, and working with actors who couldn’t
care less about cooperating with their schedule.
is rated G, and I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying it unless
they have already exhibited a predisposition toward hating puppies or
ducklings or any other baby animals otherwise considered irresistibly
cute. But it’s not all an ooh-aah fest, either. There are some
startlingly serious issues shown in Chimpanzee,
as conflict and death are part and parcel of the animal world just as
they are our world.
small children may need some reassurance at moments, but even the
most brutal encounters are merely mentioned, never shown. This is
family-friendly fare at its finest, but don’t think you
necessarily need a kid to watch this with. See the film; be amazed.
G.K. Chesterton observed, “The world will never starve for want
of wonders, but for want of wonder.”
think Walt Disney would be proud to have his name attached to
something that still reminds us what a wonderful world this is.
Andy Lindsay can frequently be overheard engaged in conversations that consist entirely of repeating lines of dialogue from movies, a genetic disorder he has passed on to his four children and one which his wife tolerates but rarely understands. When Andy's not watching a movie he's probably talking about a movie or thinking about a movie.
Or, because his family likes to eat on a somewhat regular basis, he just might be working on producing a TV commercial or a documentary or a corporate video or a short film. His production company is Barking Shark Creative, and you can check out his work here www.barkingshark.com.
Andy grew up in Frederick, Maryland, but migrated south to North Carolina where he met his wife, Deborah, who wasn't his wife then but later agreed to take the job. Their children were all born and raised in Greensboro, but are in various stages of growing up and running away.
Andy (or Anziano Lindsay, as he was known then) served a full-time mission for the Church in Italy, and today he teaches Sunday School, works with the Scouts, and is the Stake Video Historian.