x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Space Chimps

Cinema review Comparisons with WALL-E aren't likely to favour Space Chimps, which is a down-market, old-fashioned cell animation that only aims to please.

Monkey business: Boldly going where no simian has gone before.
Monkey business: Boldly going where no simian has gone before.


A trio of hirsute NASA astronauts are volunteered to boldly go where only a mechanised space probe has gone before: through a black hole to a newly discovered and possibly inhabited planet. Titan and Luna (Patrick Warburton and Cheryl Hines) are proud of the honour, but Ham III (voiced by the Hot Rod and Saturday Night Live star Andy Samberg) has been drafted in from the circus to give the crew some pizzazz, and he's decidedly unimpressed. We're not chimpanzees to them, he realises, we're guinea pigs. Still, as the grandson of the first chimpanzee in space, it is Ham who saves the day when they bump into alien beings, cowering before the evil tyrant Zartog (Jeff Daniels). Comparisons with WALL-E aren't likely to favour Space Chimps, which is a down-market, old-fashioned cell animated effort that only aims to please. Ham's irritatingly cocky, immature persona isn't a big plus either. But once you've adjusted your expectations accordingly, De Micco's movie sets about exceeding them. The script riffs quite wittily on Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and Tom Wolfe's space race chronicle The Right Stuff, while the music is scored by the outlandish trio the Blue Man Group. All in all, there's more than enough monkey business here to stop the little ones from going bananas.