Chimpanzee appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. If I’ve seen a more attractive live-action Blu-ray, I can’t think of it, as this was a stunning presentation.
Sharpness seemed remarkable. All shots wide and close delivered terrific detail and showed not the slightest hint of softness. I witnessed no shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes remained absent. Of course, no print flaws materialized either.
In terms of palette, the film went with the expected emphasis on “jungle green”. These hues looked accurate and fit the natural setting well. Blacks seemed deep and dense, while shadows were clear and smooth. The film delivered an absolutely breathtaking presentation that was a joy to watch.
While not quite as impressive, the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack also satisfied. As one might expect, the soundscape stayed with environmental material to fit the jungle setting. This meant a lot of general ambience without much in the way of specifics. Some sequences worked better than others – like a storm – but most stayed with the overall sense of place.
Audio quality was fine. Allen’s narration seemed concise and natural, without edginess or other concerns. Music was bright and peppy, while effects appeared accurate and full. Occasional instances of low-end – like the beating of a “tree drum” – demonstrated solid depth and punch. The mix created a reasonably engaging setting for the jungle-based material.
Among the extras, the main component comes from a documentary called On Location: The Making of Chimpanzee. It runs 38 minutes, 54 seconds as it provides notes from cameramen Warrick, Bill and Martyn, camera assistant Ed, field researchers Lydia and Lissa, scientific consultant Christophe, director Mark, and logistics manager Ed. (I don’t know why the disc only credits the participants by their first names, but that’s how it lists them.)
The program covers the difficulties of shooting in the jungle as well as aspects of chimp life and development. The glimpses of what the filmmakers went through to get the footage provide the most compelling moments, as we see a good representation of their struggles. Heck, the perils they encountered make me wish I liked the movie more than I do – I would’ve lasted roughly 83 seconds in the wild. This is an involving, better than average glimpse behind the scenes.
Next comes the three-minute, 13-second See Chimpanzee, Save Chimpanzees. It includes comments from directors Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield, UN Messenger of Peace Dr. Jane Goodall, and cameraman Martyn Colbeck. (Yay – last names!) They give us an overview of the film and let us know that part of the ticket/BD/DVD sales go to help chimps. It’s essentially a long, fairly self-congratulatory ad.
A Music Video for “Rise” by the McClain Sisters. It mixes movie shots with lip-synch performance from the Sisters. Both the video and the song seem forgettable.
For more info, we can go Behind the Scenes of the Music Video. This lasts a mere one minute, 16 seconds as it offers comments from the three Sisters. They offer puffy thoughts about the movie and the video. Yawn.
Two promos follow. We see these for Disney’s Conservation Legacy (1:48) and Disney’s Friends for Change (0:47). Both provide basic advertisements and nothing more.
The disc opens with ads for Disney Conservation and Finding Nemo. These also appear under Sneak Peeks along with promos for Austin & Ally, Disney Parks, Cinderella, Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3, Planes and Secret of the Wing. No trailer for Chimpanzee arrives here.
We also get a DVD copy of Chimpanzee. This offers a retail edition of the release.
Chimpanzee gives us something of a “tastes great, less filling” experience. While it delivers some excellent nature photography, it suffers from narration that simplifies and “dumbs down” the material. The Blu-ray offers absolutely amazing picture quality along with good audio and supplements highlighted by an informative documentary. Watch this for the visuals but try to ignore the lackluster attempts at a narrative.