Archive for January 2nd, 2009

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Space Chimps: We Have Liftoff

January 2, 2009

When the first TV commercials for Space Chimps started showing up last summer, my kids clamoured to see it. “I don’t know,” I said after hearing some poor reviews. But the kids were having none of that.

“Dad,” my seven-year-0ld daughter said, “it has space, and you love space. And it has chimps, and you love chimps. You HAVE to go!”

She was right. But we didn’t. Schedules and circumstances and the movie’s inevitable quick disappearance from our cinema meant we missed our shot. And we missed it when it came out on DVD, too; somehow, we just didn’t notice.

We finally got around to seeing this movie today. And we were very, very pleased.

Yes, the animation is TV-level, like something you’d see on Saturday mornings these days. But that’s a minor problem when the story and voice acting factor in. You may already know that I make a point of not knowing who the actors are before seeing one of these films, because I like to suss it out on my own, I picked up on Patrick Warburton this time, but I was stumped on the rest.

That was for a reason; a lot of unknowns roaming around this picture. But Kristin Chenoweth, who is always a riot, was in it, and the lead was played by Andy Samberg. Samberg! My current favourite TV comic. And I didn’t recognize him, because he’s that good an actor.

Samberg plays Ham III, the grandson of the first US chimp in space. Ham III is a circus performer, a human … er, chimp cannonball who is fired from a rocket six nights a week. When the government needs a high-profile chimp for an emergency space mission, Ham is drafted and launched into space with lovely Luna and brutish Titan. Space hijinks ensue.

It’s a real blast. And with a wicked little script:

  • Ham: “I’m not even an astronaut.”
  • Titan: “Are you wearing tinfoil clothes?”
  • Ham: “Yes.”
  • Titan: “Are you in a spaceship?”
  • Ham: “Yes.”
  • Titan: “IN SPACE?”
  • Ham: “Yes.”
  • Titan: “Are you David Bowie?”
  • Ham: “Er, no.”
  • Titan: “Then you’re an ASTRONAUT!”

Humour like that zooms right out of kids’ orbits, but is perfect for me. I also laughed at the quick shot of the guinea pig mission to Mars, which featured guinea pigs in space suits, running on wheels. Yes, mine is a sophisticated humour palate.

Anyway, if you haven’t seen Space Chimps, it isn’t as bad as you’ve heard. Check it out.

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