Wednesday, July 23, 2008
2008's Space Chimps is the first directorial effort of Kirk DeMicco and it's good at best. DeMicco is new to directing, but he's produced several other kids movies like Racing Stripes and I had high hopes for this flick b/c it's produced by The Weinstein Company (previously Miramax) and stars some great people like Patrick Warburton, Andy Samberg and Stanley Tucci, but I was largely disappointed. This movie was like so many movies for kids of late, whether it's Shark's Tale, Madagascar, The Wild or...say...Racing Stripes, in that it doesn't focus on story and in fact seems to care very little about story, relying instead on easy, very predictable plotlines and stupid humor that doesn't even get my seven-year-old laughing. This is why when a kid's movie w/ a decent amount of emphasis on story comes along (like say Finding Nemo or Over the Hedge) it's talked about w/ a reverence generally reserved for classics like Citizen Cane. Space Chimps falls right in line w/ most of the typical movies that come out for kids now-a-day's. It tells the story of a chimp who's never amounted to anything, much less his famous grandpa (the first animal in space), who suddenly has the chance to be a hero. Problem is he doesn't really want to be one. Here's a shocker though, in the end he turns out to be a hero all along. I'll wait for you to finish gasping. Done? Ok. It's not all bad though. The scientists did make me laugh now and again. And while the visuals and audio both are generally subpar, I did like that the the movie had a sweetness and innocence to it that most kid movies lately don't have. There aren't the now regular fart jokes, random cuss words and far too intense violent moments. Outside of Pixar, most studios are producing animated movies full of crass humor and inappropriately scary moments, but not this one, it's just a simple, sweet story. I liked that. It's not enough to make up for the bad, but this would certainly be worth a rental if you have a young kid and are wanting a safe movie w/ a good hearted message.