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SPACE CHIMPS, 2008
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SPACE CHIMPS
Movie Review
Directed by Kirk De Micco
Voices by Andy Samberg, Cheryl Hines, Jeff Daniels, Patrick Warburton, Stanley Tucci
Review by Eli Manning



SYNOPSIS:

Ham III, the grandson of the first chimp astronaut, is blasted off into space by an opportunity-seeking senator. Soon, the fun-loving chimp has to get serious about the mission at hand: Rid a far-away planet of their nefarious leader. Fortunately for Ham III, two of his simian peers are along for the ride.

REVIEW:

When watching Space Chimps I got to thinking about other things. A sure sign that this is not a very good film. As soon as you're not completely engaged with the movie and you start thinking, then the movie is subpar.

Yogi Berra was once asked what he was thinking about after he hit the game winning homerun for this team. "How the hell should I know." Berra replied, "I can't think and hit at the same time."

And that's what the movie watching experience is like. You can't watch and think at the same time. And as soon as you do, then you know that you're in trouble because the movie is in a lot of trouble.

So Space Chimps got me thinking. This film made no sense to me at all. When the creative team set out to make this film, didn't they take a look at the other popular and terrific made animation films and see what made them so great? And then follow their formula. I guess not with this film.

I liked the concept of Chimps thinking they are important and real Astronauts as they fly in space. But they are really just pawns for the human race and used in dangerous space missions because if they die, so be it, their just Chimps.

Then they dabbled with the idea of how another planet filled with new life forms finds a man-made device that can be used to destroy others. This device gets into the wrong alien hands and he uses it to take over and rule the planet.

So in a lot of way this is a film taking a nice shot at us humans. But they just didn't go far enough and it makes you wonder why they didn't because all of the previous animation hits seem to go very far in terms of their overall themes.

But Space Chimps doesn't know what it wants. I once worked on a failed big budget comedy film for 4 months that kept running into overtime and scheduling problems because it could never finish their day on time. The director just didn't know what he wanted each day. It was then that I realized that if you don't know what you want in anything in life, then you don't know where you headed and therefore don't know when the journey is completed.

For animation films especially these days, it's the theme that tells you where you're going with the story. The theme tells you want you're suppose to say and where you are headed. And no matter what film you're making, there needs to always be a theme. Space Chimps had a theme in its initial premise, but it just didn't go all away with it.

That happens a lot in the film making experience because people get scared. The studio, the producer, the director, the stars etc... So they try to tell you a lot of things in the film or even worse, set up to just entertain you. And that always fails because you can't have too many things in the soup you're making, but just the right balance of ingredients. You can't add chicken and noodles into your clam chowder, because you're not making chicken noodle soup.

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OR if you are just setting out to entertain us, then what's the point of watching this film for 90 minutes of our life because there are just too many other things in the world that can entertain us in a lot less time and for a lot cheaper too.

Space Chimps fails on all levels and it's an embarrassment to the studio that made this film because past animation films like WALL-E and Ratatouille show you what great things you can do in this medium.

1 star out of 4!

CLICK HERE and read The Dark Knight essay from a female fan's perspective.

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