Last Friday I had a rather unusual date night. My husband and I went to the Ontario Science Centre to see one of my heroes, Dr. Jane Goodall, speak and present the documentary about her life, Jane’s Journey.
After decades of researching the chimpanzees of the Gombe, Dr. Goodall shifted gears towards activism. For the last 25 years, Dr. Goodall has focused primarily on public speaking (she is 77 and travels 300+ days a year) and initiatives that strive to educate children and youth. “They are our hope for the future,” the UN Messenger of Peace mused at the event.
She stressed that ecological and social initiatives go hand in hand, so while her Jane Goodall Institute aims to save chimpanzees, her Roots and Shoots program asks children to do something good for the planet, something good for animals and something good for their fellow citizens in need. Dr. Jane teaches us so much, but what I walked away feeling was complete awe at the power of one person with a goal or a dream to accomplish so much.
So in keeping with my Jane Goodall theme, the new Disneynature film Chimpanzee comes to theatres on April 20th. Chimpanzee is the fourth Disneynature film to be released in recent years. Their style teaches children about the natural world by using documentary cinematography and careful editing to tell a linear story that kids can relate to. No CGI to give the illusion that live animals are talking, just a purely heartwarming True Life Adventure, as Disneynature calls the genre. If you’ve seen Earth, Oceans or African Cats, you already know the end result is quite lovely.
To add to the awesomeness that is cute chimps, Disneynature joined forces with the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) for a special “See Chimpanzee, Save Chimpanzees” program. For every moviegoer who sees Chimpanzee during the film’s opening week (April 20-26, 2012), Disneynature will make a donation to JGI through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund in order to protect chimpanzees and their habitats. Yay!
UPDATE: I saw Chimpanzee with my kids (ages 4 and 7) on Saturday, April 14th and I highly recommend it for kids 3 and up, with parental supervision/guidance. While there is some violence (chimpanzee on chimpanzee or monkey), the slightly scary parts are short and not graphic at all. SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT: In true Disney form there is the death of a mom, but it’s described (vs. shown) with great sensitivity. Overall the story is uplifting, the cinematography incredible and it’s a great introduction to nature films for your wee ones.