Review by Leonard Norwitz
Theatrical: Starz Vanguard Animation
Blu-ray: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Runtime: 81 minutes
Size: 50 GB
Case: Standard Amaray Blu-ray case
Release date: November 25, 2008
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Video codec: AVC @ 24 Mbps
English DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio. Dolby Digital Spanish &
English & Spanish
• Trivia Balst-Off
• Fox Movie Channel Presents: Casting Session in SD (8:55)
• Still Gallery
• TV Spots
Despite that IMDB Users give this movie a 4 out of 10 score,
these two names brand critics liked it, as did I:
• "Space Chimps" is delightful from beginning to end: A
goofy space opera that sends three U.S. chimptronauts
rocketing to a galaxy, as they say, far, far away. Although
it's aimed at a younger market and isn't in the same
science-fiction league as "WALL*E,"
it's successful at what it wants to do: Take us to an alien
planet and present us with a large assortment of bug-eyed
monsters, not to mention a little charmer nicknamed
Kilowatt, who lights up when she gets excited, or afraid, or
just about anything else.
Roger Ebert Chicago Sun Times.
• Journalism is all about having the courage to write the
truth even if it will get you mocked by your relatives and
co-workers, so here goes: “Space Chimps” is hilarious. Yes,
the name combined with the G rating might have parents
thinking they should stay in the car while the kiddies go
into the theater, but that would be a mistake. It would,
among other things, cause them to miss one of the better
one-liners of the summer, the capper in a string of chimp
puns delivered by a title character. If “Wall-E” pushes the
boundaries of what can be done in an animated movie, “Space
Chimps” proves that the old formula is still pretty
effective when executed well. The old formula being a
child-friendly tale laced with deadpan asides for grown-ups
and delivered by top-notch voice actors.
Neil Genzlinger, NY Times.
The Movie: 6
NASA loses contact with the unmanned Infinity explorer probe
through a wormhole in deep space. Fearful that wormhole
travel might be too risky for humans, chimps are selected
for the mission, just as one was chosen to be the first in
space decades earlier. That first chimp's name was Ham.
Seems like Ham's grandson, Ham III, is now working in a
circus, enjoying being shot out of a cannon - a clown in
every way. Clearly, this character does not have the "Right
Stuff." In ought to be a publicity coup, NASA enlists Ham
III to accompany two other astronaut chimps to follow the
course of the missing probe and bring it back.
So, where did Infinity end up? - on a colorful planet whose
bizarre inhabitants are all under the thumb of Zartog, whose
very house Infinity landed on (something like The Wizard of
Oz - only the witch lives). Zartog uses the alien mechanical
device like a giant erector set to keep his subjects in
line. With parodies of Star Trek, The Right Stuff, 2001, and
others, our three chimps are in pursuit, with our very
reluctant hero trying his best to put the make on the female
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence
compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale.
The second number places this image along the full range of
DVD and Blu-ray discs.
Digitally created images aren't always razor sharp with
resolution tight enough to shave in its reflection. It’s
partly a matter of art design. Pixar's Cars has a very high
gloss look to it, whereas The Incredibles is more
painterly. Ratatouille glows and WALL-E is so subtle for
much of the movie it's like watching iron rust. Then there's
Surf's Up from Sony Pictures Animation: what a peculiarly
fuzzy image! Starz' Space Chimps looks to me like 1080i – as
if all the pixels haven't quite jelled. It's clear enough,
just absent any texture to speak of. I suspect they didn’t
want to have to deal with anything like realistic fur. Bit
rate hovers mostly in the uppers 30s.
Audio & Music:
I felt about the audio much the same as I did about the
image: it's not quite as dynamic, not quite as crisp as I
thought it could have been – and this with uncompressed
audio. The surround mix is good: it certainly gets the point
across. There aren't any really earth-shaking nor
ear-splitting moments, despite rockets taking off. And
spears shot from flying beasts didn’t quite have that zip.
Dual layer Fox discs take a while to load, even on a PS3,
but once on board we get to the main menu quickly. The
remote’s Top Menu permits direct bypass of promotional
material which, oddly enough, includes previews of DVD
material. Fox is experimenting with a new chapter search
design, where only one scene thumbnail at a time is
viewable. I don't feel that the increase in scene size
outweighs the loss of strategical navigation. Worse still is
that there is no Play All function for the TV spots, which
require returning to the menu after 15-30 seconds!
The Trivia Blast Off function addresses production, casting,
background and trivia throughout the feature film. Once
activated, a readable window comes up with the
scene-appropriate bit. It's a fun watch – and for the target
audience, is satisfactory. There are, however, no separate
features about the animation.
Despite my qualified remarks about image, sound and extra
features, I still recommend this Blu-ray for its feature
film content, which plastered a permanent smile on my face
from one end of the movie to the other.
November 27th, 2008