Space Chimps is a 2008 American computer animated adventure sci-fi family comedy film produced by Vanguard Animation, Starz Animation, and 20th Century Fox, and it was released on July 18, 2008. The film is produced by Barry Sonnenfeld, John H. Williams, and John W. Hyde and stars the voices of Andy Samberg, Cheryl Hines, Jeff Daniels, Patrick Warburton, Kristin Chenoweth, Carlos Alazraqui and Zack Shada. The teaser ad premiered on June 20, 2008 during a Fox broadcast of another primate/space-related filmâ"2001's remake of Planet of the Apes. Ham III, the grandson of the first chimp astronaut, is blasted off into space by an opportunity-seeking senator. Soon, the fun-loving chimp has to get serious about the mission at hand; ridding a far-away planet of their nefarious leader. Fortunately for Ham III, two of his simian peers are along for the ride. Two NASA chimps that are sent to a galaxy far, far away. One chimp has "The Right Stuff," and the other, a good natured goofball, has "The Wrong Stuff." The simian slacker becomes a reluctant hero and learns the true meaning of courage as he and his crewmates, the fearless Lt. Luna and their uptight commander, Titan, risk everything in an effort to save the peaceful inhabitants of a distant planet from the evil dictator Zartog.
The film begins with Ham III, grandson of the first chimpanzee in space, being a cannonball at his circus and later being criticized by his grandfather's friend Houston. Meanwhile, an unmanned NASA space probe called the Infinity is dragged into an intergalactic wormhole, 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 on-board machinery and uses it to enslave the population.
Faced with the loss of the probe and probable loss of their budget, the scientists have to find a way to regain contact with the probe, to help retrieve the wayward craft. Technical genius chimp Comet hacks into NASA's computers and gets the scientists to pick them as astronauts to explore the planet and get the probe back, with the help of the fearless Lt. Luna, and their bombastic commander, Titan. The Senator likes the idea, but wants something extra special to grab the attention of the media, and picks Ham. Ham is uninterested in the mission, but he falls for Luna (though he is unaware that Luna was doing the same thing for Ham). They go through the space training. Ham doesn't take the training seriously and he keeps being immature during the training which angers Houston, Luna and Comet. The three go in a gravitational probe, having Luna and Titan screaming, but Ham's internal structure could stand the pressure, forcing him to ask Luna to help him move next week. (The makeup trailer is not seen in the second movie, making people think that she helped him move.) Comet wanted to go through the training; however, the scientists only want Ham, Luna, and Titan, not Comet. Comet is upset about it. Houston comforts Comet.
Before the mission begins, Ham tried to use the jet pack to escape; however, he crashed at plane causing a disaster. He was out cold and put in a rocket ship as punishment.
The three chimps enter the wormhole, where Titan and Luna pass out from the pressure, leaving Ham with the task of getting the ship out and landing it. This is done, and Ham and Luna explore the planet, during which their ship, along with Titan, is taken by a group of aliens sent by Zartog. Ham reveals that he believes that his grandfather and the space chimps are a joke to him. Luna gets angry at Ham for saying that. Ham and Luna begin their journey to Zartog's palace, and on the way they meet one of the inhabitants, known to them as Kilowatt. Kilowatt offers to lead them to the palace, but soon after they encounter a flesh-eating monster in a cave. The monster blocks the exit, but Kilowatt distracts it, sacrificing herself so Ham and Luna can escape. Ham reveals to Luna that he feels that he sees himself as a joke the whole time not his grandfather.
The two chimps finally reach the palace, where they discover that Titan has been teaching Zartog some of the probe's features. They rescue him and are able to board their ship. After getting back in the "Horizon", the controls are lent to Ham, but it doesn't start, making them open the hatch, and all they find are a bell and a whistle (making them realize that Ham was right about the whole thing being a hoax). Ham says that NASA wanted to see if their brains still worked after going through the wormhole, and that they are nothing more than guinea pigs (Titan points out that the guinea pigs are actually on the Mars Mission) and Luna realizes that the ship was on autopilot the whole time and Ham was right all along about the humans not respecting the chimps. Ham says that he didn't want to be right and Titan starts crying. Just as they are about to leave, Ham glances outside and sees Zartog torturing some of the other aliens. He then tells Titan and Luna that they indirectly sent the probe there, and that they owe it to Kilowatt to help save the planet. The three of them exit the ship, which blasts off set to autopilot, but as they are trying to think of a plan, Zartog attacks them with the probe. Just as they are about to get destroyed, Titan tricks Zartog into triggering an ejection mechanism in the probe, which in turn leads to his defeat.
The chimps then discover that Kilowatt has survived, and they are able to make contact with Comet and Houston back on Earth through a "Banana-berry". Houston reminds them that if they can redesign the probe, then they can use it to get back to Earth. They manage to do this with help from the planet's inhabitants and they use an erupting volcano to get the thrust they need to escape the planet's gravity. They go into space, and just as they are about to re-enter the wormhole, Titan hands the controls over to Ham, since Ham is the only one who can withstand the pressure, and thus, the only one who can pilot the ship home. Titan and Luna once again pass out. Ham is unsure if he is up to the task until he has a mental conversation with his grandfather, who tells him to believe in himself and to just do things his (Ham's) way.
Ham manages to maneuver the ship back to Earth and land it with Luna's help and Luna says that they were on their date throughout the whole movie, and the Senator, under pressure from the press, decides to dramatically increase the space program's funding. The scientists tell the press that they're going to have another mission to see if there is any aliens. The film ends with a celebration being held for the chimps' return.
After the credits, the frozen Zartog is shown to be in the center of a garden as a statue where a dog comes near his feet and urinates on them much to the alien's dismay.
- Andy Samberg as Ham III, Ham I's grandson and a circus chimp who loves his job. He does not take the astronaut one seriously. During training, he picks on Titan.
- Cheryl Hines as Luna, Titan's lieutenant; fearless, intelligent and beautiful, Ham has an obsessive crush on her
- Jeff Daniels as Zartog, a real-estate-developing alien. This is also Jeff's first voice over movie role.
- Patrick Warburton as Titan, the pompous commander of the expedition
- Kristin Chenoweth as Kilowalawhizasahooha (Kilowatt), a tiny but sweet alien who befriends Ham and Luna; her head lights up when she is frightened, hence her name
- Kenan Thompson as Ringmaster, the owner of the circus where Ham III worked
- Zack Shada as Comet, a technical genius chimp
- Carlos Alazraqui as Houston, friend of Ham's grandfather and Ham's confidant
- Omid Abtahi as Dr. Jagu
- Patrick Breen as Dr. Bob
- Jane Lynch as Dr. Poole
- Kath Soucie as Dr. Smothers
- Stanley Tucci as The Senator
Space Chimps was originally going to be released on May 2, 2008, but on December 19, 2007 the movie's release date was changed to July 18, 2008. This was mainly because of the 2007â"08 Writers Guild of America strike. The premiere was held on July 13, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on November 25, 2008 by Roadshow Entertainment.
Critical response, reviews and box office
The film received generally negative reviews from critics; Rotten Tomatoes reported that 34% of professional critics gave positive reviews based on 92 reviews, giving it a "rotten" rating overall. The consensus states: "Space Chimpsââ'â cheap animation and overabundance of monkey puns feels especially dated in a post-WALL-E world." Roger Ebert gave a positive review of 3 stars and saying in his review that "Space Chimps is delightful from beginning to end." The New York Times said that Space Chimps was "hilarious". The film opened with $7.1 million in 2,511 theaters with an $2,860 average. However, the film became a moderate box office success. The film has grossed $30.1 million in the United States and $34.7 million in other countries totaling $64.8 million worldwide. Fittingly, the teaser ad for this movie premiered on June 20th 2008 during a Fox broadcast of another 'Monkey in Space' movie - 2001's remake of "Planet of the Apes". A laptop computer used by Comet sports a banana logo on the top, an obvious chimp parody of Apple computers. 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). Jeff Daniels, Stanley Tucci, Cheryl Hines, and Andy Samberg lend their voices to this computer-animated comedy following the descendants of the first chimps in space as they blast off for fun and adventure on a far-away planet. Ham III (Samberg) is the grandson of Ham, the first-ever chimp astronaut. This ne'er-do-well chimp may not be the most qualified ape for the job, but a scheming senator (Tucci) has recruited him for a most dangerous mission. It seems that a powerful tyrant (Daniels) has overtaken an alien world, and now it's up to Ham III and his trusty simian crew (Hines and Patrick Warburton) to help overthrow the deep-space despot. Perhaps with some training from Ham III's mentor (Kenan Thompson) and the help of a friendly alien (Kristin Chenoweth) this fearless group of anthropoids can make the universe a safer place for aliens and humans alike.
- Sexy Reggae â" Performed by Curt Sobel, Gary Schreiner
- Axel F â" Performed by Rufus Waterlow
- Macarena â" Performed by Blue Man Group
- Pops Got The Measles â" Performed by Curt Sobel, Gary Schreiner
- Do You Want To Rock â" Performed by David A. Stewart, Neil Case, Ned Douglas & Blue Man Group
- Another Postcard â" Performed by Barenaked Ladies
A video game based on the film was released in 2008, published by Brash Entertainment and developed by Redtribe, Wicked Witch Software and WayForward Technologies
The sequel was released in May 2010 to cinemas in the United Kingdom, and premiered direct-to-video in October 2010 in the United States. It was universally panned by critics and grossed just over $4 million during its theatrical run.
- Official website
- Space Chimps at the Internet Movie Database
- Space Chimps at AllMovie
- Space Chimps at Rotten Tomatoes
- Space Chimps at Box Office Mojo
- Space Chimps at Metacritic