Space Chimps is a 2008 computer-animated film distributed by 20th Century Fox produced and Animated by Starz Animation and Vanguard Animation. It has followed by a direct-to-DVD sequel: Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back.
The film begins with Ham III, grandson of the Ham (a chimpanzee launched in 1961 inside a Mercury capsule), being at his circus and later being criticized by his grandfather's friend Houston. Meanwhile, an unmanned space probe called the Infinity is dragged into an intergalactic, and crash-lands on an Earth-like planet on the other side of the galaxy. Zartog, an evil-minded inhabitant, accidentally discovers how to take manual control of the onboard machinery and uses it to enslave the population.
Why It Goes Bananas (And Not in a Good Way)
- Most of the characters are either annoying or super unlikable like Ham III, who's ruder than what he seems to be and Titan who appears to be dumber and unlikable.
- Cheap CGI animation, even for 2008 standards.
- The plot is very uninspired and feels borrowed from other better movies like E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Monsters Inc.
- Unfunny and weak humor, especially with the overabundance of monkey puns and some pop-culture jokes.
- Weird human designs that may be awkward to some people.
- In some scenes, some of the characters don't move at all.
- Zartog is a silly character that doesn't feel like a threat.
- The alien planet is far too earth-like. For example, the grass is green and the sky is blue, a boring visual that could have been avoided by choosing any other color.
- The chimps are shown flipping switches and controlling the rocket during the launch, which would not happen as the rocket would be fully automated (as were the rockets that NASA used to launch chimpanzees in the 1950s).
- Product placement for Carl's Jr. and Hardee's.
- Weak direction skill of Kirk DeMicco who would later direct The Croods and Vivo which are both better films.
- The casting is pretty well-crafted.
- Some funny moments here and there.
- The ape character designs aren't so bad.
- "Another Postcard" is a pretty decent song.
- Luna, Comet, and Houston are very tolerable characters.
- The CGI animation, despite being cheap, can look decent.