Story

Ham III (voice of Andy Samberg) feels unable to live up to the legacy of his grandfather Ham I, the famous first chimp in space. So Ham III fritters his life away as a daredevil cannon ball in a circus act. But his life is soon to change abruptly.

A US space probe is sucked into a wormhole and lands on a planet on the other side of the universe. Scientists and aeronautical experts decide to launch a mission to test whether a human could survive the force of the wormhole and to find out whether there is life on the new planet. Unable to risk human lives on the mission, they use chimps instead. The Space Chimp program has long since been abandoned, but several chimps have been kept on ‘for show’. Luna (Cheryl Hines), Titan (Patrick Warburton), Comet (Zack Shada) and old Houston (Carlos Alazraqui) have been grooming themselves for a mission, learning far more than the scientists realised.

To inspire public confidence and to boost his approval ratings, the senator promoting the mission insists that a handsome hero-type go too, and preferably a descendant of Ham I. The reluctant Ham III is therefore carried off to join the Space Chimps. Comet and Houston are left behind.

Meanwhile, on planet Malgar, the cruel dictator Zartog (Jeff Daniels) has learned how to use the probe. He has either enslaved all the inhabitants of that world, or has frozen them in fresnar. This is a silvery lava in which only eyes can move and from which, allegedly, people can never escape.

In space, Ham’s daredevil behaviour jeopardises his fellow crew members numerous times. But once they land on the planet and encounter various hostile forces, Ham’s crazy antics, with help from Comet and Houston on earth, repeatedly save them. 

Themes

Space travel; aliens

Violence

The movie contains slapstick violence and accidental harm with no death or injury shown. For example: 

  • When Ham III is blasted out of a cannon during his circus act, he repeatedly misses the landing pad and crashes down into the band, generally falling on the drums. He is always unhurt.
  • Zartog throws open a door and crushes a butterfly that a group of child-like aliens are chasing. He then freezes it in fresnar, while the horrified aliens look on.
  • Ham tosses a banana peel while Titan is running on a treadmill. Titan slips and falls, ricocheting off the walls and exercise equipment as he tries to regain his footing.
  • Ham blasts into people while wearing his rocket pack. They duck and flee. He crashes into other things including a camera, a large screen and a rocket, which triggers a domino effect of other blasting rockets that all eventually crash to the ground. Ultimately Ham runs out of gas and crashes through the stage.
  • Ham and Luna are greeted by an army of aliens throwing spears at them.
  • Ham and Luna are chased by flying stingray-like creatures who blast darts from their bodies. Ham is hit in the bottom by a dart.
  • Zartog spends much of his time grabbing fellow aliens and freezing them in fresnar.
  • Zartog orders the aliens to dance or die. He freezes anyone who doesn’t dance the way he likes.
  • Zartog repeatedly threatens to freeze Titan if he doesn’t show him new things the space probe can do.
  • Ham must crash land their space craft back on earth and Luna is tossed off while trying to repair a wing. Ham finds her lying motionless on the runway.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of eight. For example:

  • There are several scary aliens. These include the stingray-like creatures, which shoot spines, and a giant slug-like creature with a giant mouth full of sharp teeth.
  • The Infinity space probe looks like a giant robot with large claws.
  • Luna notices some pretty flowers. When she attempts to pick one as a sample, all the flowers burst out of the ground and tower above the chimps with giant mouths, trying to eat and attack them. The sequence is extremely menacing and unexpected and is likely to frighten younger children.
  • Ham and Luna swing through a jungle on vines in an attempt to escape from airborne attackers. The vines turn into violent snake-like monsters.
  • Ham, Luna and Kilowatt (a child-like alien) are chased by a flesh-devouring monster into a series of darkened tunnels where they must hide to survive. The scene is very tense, suspenseful and frightening.
  • Ham teaches Kilowatt to face her fear, as her head glows when she is frightened and the flesh-eating monster can see the light. She attempts to overcome the fear by confronting the monster so that Luna and Ham can escape the cave. The monster swallows her whole and Ham and Luna are horrified. It is assumed that Kilowatt is dead. But at the end of the film, she reappears having escaped from the monster via its rectum. 

From 8-13

Younger children in this age group could also be disturbed by some of the violent and scary scenes described above.

Over 13

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie. For example:

  • In response to a human’s comment that he is so cute, Ham says, ‘Yeah, I’m a hottie’.
  • Ham strikes a sexy pose for the camera. Meanwhile Luna is trying to photograph the landscape and says in a sultry voice, ‘I’ve been naughty’.
  • Ham asks Luna, ‘Is that a banana in your pocket?’

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

There is some use of substances in this movie. For example, when Ham and Luna encounter Kilowatt, Ham repeatedly indicates that Kilowatt has been drinking while she describes what happened to her and to everyone in her village. 

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie. For example:

  • Zartog organises a female band and models them after human singers wearing short, clingy dresses.
  • At one point, Ham attempts to put his arm around Luna, but Luna throws him off, telling him to stay on his own side of the planet.   

Product placement

None of concern

Coarse language

This movie contains some very mild coarse language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Space Chimps is an animated science fiction adventure aimed at children but full of chimpanzee puns, silly jokes and adult humour. The main messages from this movie are to be true to yourself and to follow the right path but to do it your own way.

Values in this movie that you might wish to discuss with your children include creativity, tolerance, and justice. This movie could also give you the opportunity to discuss with your children  real-life issues such as the following:

  • forcing people to do things against their will
  • abusing positions of power
  • purposely trying to jump or crash in various positions (Ham repeatedly and purposely misses his target when he crash-lands. He is never hurt or injured and no consequences are shown).