By Fred Topel | Image property of 20th Century Fox
Space Chimps is one of the better non-Pixar animated films out there. It's better than Dreamworks' run of Shark Tale, Madagascar and Over the Hedge. Not quite Kung Fu Panda or Shrek 2 but it does the standard cartoon thing right.
Movie Review: Space Chimps
It spoofs the epic space movie beginning with the training sequences. The comedy has good timing with some instant cuts to juxtaposed images. I'm sure that's what the kids will be thinking of when the monkeys splat up against windows.
I liked all the monkey puns. They use their feet a lot too, so they do take advantage of simian anatomy. They even did the banana in the pocket!
The pop culture references span the gamut from the early '80s through the present. Of course they do The Right Stuff, and there are some good sci-fi homages too. They get some nerd clichés in there too, though I could have done without the Indian scientist with the stereotypical accent. And what animated film would be complete without dick metaphors for the parents?
It does have the Pixar world within our world mystique, since the chimps understand us, but we only hear ape noises. That's about as deep as it gets though. It's kind of just a convenient way to deal with talking monkeys and modern day space travel.
The alien names are great too because they sound like kids or the South Park guys made them up. Zortog, Malgor, Freznar…
It's hard to fail with monkeys, though cinema is littered with Eds and Dunstons. Space Chimps might not be Monkey Trouble or Outbreak but it holds up with Every Which Way But Loose, which I've never seen but I can imagine.