Space Chimps

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner30/07/2008

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 92 mins

Entertaining, nicely animated and frequently funny family adventure with superb vocal performances and an extremely witty script.

What's it all about?
When a multi-billion dollar Space Agency probe disappears into an intergalactic wormhole, the Suits recruit Ham III (Andy Samberg), the fictional grandson of the real-life first chimpanzee in space, and send him up into orbit after it, along with highly-trained Space Chimp Lieutenant Luna (Cheryl Hines) and their by-the-book commander, Titan (Patrick Warburton).

However, Ham III is a circus-performing slacker, more interested in showing off than in living up to his heroic heritage. But when the ship crash-lands on a distant planet, Ham, Luna and Titan find that they need to work together in order to save its peaceful inhabitants from Zartog (Jeff Daniels), an evil dictator who's using the space probe to enslave the planet.

The Good
Space Chimps works surprisingly well, thanks to an extremely witty script that's packed with great one-liners, as well as enough film references and in-jokes to ensure that adults will enjoy the film just as much as children. (Indeed, it's fair to say that several of the lines will go over the heads of younger children, although the film never stoops to smutty humour.)

The CGI animation is courtesy of Vanguard (the studio behind Valiant) and while it's not up to the level of Pixar, it's nonetheless brightly coloured with appealing character designs, even if they skimp a bit on the action sequences.

The Great
The film also features a series of terrific vocal performances, particularly from SNL regular Andy Samberg (much more likeable as a cartoon chimp than he was in Hot Rod), Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and the hardest working man in animated movies, the always excellent Patrick Warburton.

The supporting characters are nicely observed too, particularly the three nerdy scientists (including Jane Lynch), while Jeff Daniels makes an amusing alien overlord.

Worth seeing?
In short, Space Chimps is an entertaining family adventure with likeable characters, appealing animation and a script that's both laugh-out-loud funny and emotionally engaging. Recommended.

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Space Chimps
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Content updated: 20/11/2019 21:20

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