Should Your Toddler See Chimpanzee?

We took Gus to see Chimpanzee this weekend. How could we not? I mean the entire city has been plastered with this:

How can you say no to these eyes staring you in the face at every red light? Hollywood sure has the market down on promoting the latest Disney movie. For the last month, we’ve been promising Gus over and over that yes, it was a movie coming out and that yes, he would get to see it.

Gus loves monkeys. I realize this movie is about chimpanzees, but to him they are all monkeys. For his first two years, we practically lived around the corner from the L.A zoo so we spent countless afternoons watching the gorillas. We even got to know their trainers we were there so often. We decided to take him to El Capitain to see it since they promised a live animal show beforehand and he was beyond excited. (Note to all my L.A moms: there is not a chimp at the live animal show. The billboards are misleading!).

I made a rookie parent move in that I didn’t research or think about the content of the show in any way. Not at all. And there are a few things in this movie that a toddler might be disturbed by.

(Spoiler Alert). The mother dies and the chimpanzee is left orphaned. Apparently, I didn’t pay that much attention during the previews, but I had no idea this was part of the story. Gus thinks I’m immortal and frankly, at three I’d like to keep it that way. If he caught on that the monkey’s mommy died, I knew the next day would be filled with questions about mommies dying and if I could die. I prefer to shelter him from these facts as long as possible. Thankfully, I think pretty quickly on my feet.

Here’s the better story line, the one we sold him on: the monkeys only thought that the mommy died. She really just hurt her leg bad while she was running so it was taking her a REALLY long time to get back. While Oscar (the star monkey) was waiting for his mommy to come back, he had to find someone else to take care of him. Feel free to steal the story. You don’t even have to give me credit.

Second, chimpanzees are carnivorous and guess what meat they eat? Smaller monkeys. Yep. It’s true. The chimpanzees go on a hunt for smaller monkeys. Both Yancy and I could see what was coming so we quickly engaged in some serious distractions tactics. Gus had no idea that the chimps captured small monkeys and ate them for dinner. When the narrator says, “Chimpanzees also eat meat…” you should immediately begin to play a game with the popcorn.

Overall, it was a success and a really cute movie. Most importantly, we made it through without Gus being traumatized. Your toddler might not be so lucky.

Note to self: Always review movies first.

Leave a Comment