Crowded out in the summer schedules by WALL-E and Kung Fu Panda, Space Chimps is the latest effort from Vanguard Animations destined to suffer the also-ran status of Valiant and Happily N’Ever After.
On the whim of a sinister senator (voiced by Stanley Tucci), Ham III (Andy Samberg) – the circus-performer grandson of one of the first chimpanzees in space, is sent into orbit to retrieve a missing satellite. He is aided by fellow simians Titan (Patrick Warburton), and Luna (Cheryl Hines). After going through a Planet of the Apes-style wormhole in space and time, the intrepid chimps find themselves navigating a bizarre alien world ruled by King Zartog (Jeff Daniels).
From debutante director Kirk De Mikko, Space Chimps doesn’t exactly set its sights high, with endless monkey and banana puns and bog-standard animation. There’s some imagination behind some of the weird creatures encountered, including the breast-shaped, opera-singing Kilowatt (Kristin Chenoweth), and Zartog’s infatuation with creating a Vegas-style resort allows room for a little satire. But although the notion of using intelligent, feeling animals for a space mission has scope for genuine pathos, De Mikko’s opus never begins to approach the depth of a Pixar production; cute as they are, these Space Chimps are strictly for easily-pleased little monkeys.
General release from Fri 1 Aug.