Space Chimps’ animation can’t compete in the age of Pixar.
SPACE CHIMPS (Kirk De Micco). 81 minutes. Opens Friday (July 18). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NN
The Vanguard Animation folks sure have a thing for historic animals. Their 2005 film Valiant was all about Second World War carrier pigeons; now they bring us Space Chimps, starring the voice of SNL saviour Andy Samberg as Ham III, the grandson of NASA’s first chimpanzee astronaut.
When a space probe gets sucked into a wormhole and winds up on a planet populated by the bastard children of Care Bears and Gremlins, Ham, along with Luna (Cheryl Hines) and Titan (underrated treasure Patrick Warburton) are sent after it in a public relations stunt/science experiment.
The film’s enjoyable, has lots to say about bravery, loyalty, teamwork and kindness to animals, and there’s an occasional sop to the parents (including a hilarious David Bowie reference) who’ll be along for the ride.
But you have to wonder why any company that’s not Pixar (or maybe DreamWorks) even bothers to make animated movies any more. The chimps look like really lifelike toys; the humans – always digital animation’s weakest spot – don’t even get that far. And an hour after the film was over, I’d already forgotten most of it.
It’s Vanguard’s bad luck to be bringing out Space Chimps the same summer as WALL*E.