For the past four years, Disney has released a new nature documentary each Earth Day, a seemingly liberal act involving conservation promotion and charity, and yet these films seem more and more like right-wing propaganda to me with every release.
This year’s title is ‘Chimpanzee,’ about an adorable little ape experiencing war, survival and special patriarchal relationships among his community, and it’s no surprise that its opening weekend box office gross was the best the Disneynature brand has had yet. It’s hard for Americans to resist baby animals, especially for human children who are meant to identify with the universal struggles and triumphs that come with being a kid of any kind in the world.
The main criticism that many have had with ‘Chimpanzee,’ though, is with the narration, which emphasizes that relatability and uses the connection to subliminally target young viewers with messages of fear and hostility. Never mind the personal tastes regarding the voice of Tim Allen and his insistence in keeping up with that signature grunting of his (he didn’t become a popular comedian for being annoying to the majority). The worst part of the voice-over is the writing, which takes some extraordinary nature cinematography of beautiful flora and fauna and fungi and forces anthropomorphic story and character upon these images.