Space Chimps is a 2008 computer-animated film distributed by 20th Century Fox produced and Animated by Starz Animation and Vanguard Animation. It received negative reviews and was followed by a direct-to-DVD sequel: Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back.
The film begins with Ham III, grandson of the Ham (a chimpanzee launched in 1961 inside a Mercury capsule), being at his circus and later being criticized by his grandfather's friend Houston. Meanwhile, an unmanned space probe called the Infinity is dragged into an intergalactic , 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 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 is launched into space despite his best efforts to escape the scientist's training facility.
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 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.
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, but 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 walkie-talkie. 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 manoeuver the ship back to Earth and land it with Luna's help, and the Senator, under pressure from the press, decides to dramatically increase the space program's funding. The film ends with a celebration being held for the chimps' return.
- The characters are annoying (except Luna).
- Cheap animation, even for 2000's standards.
- The plot is very uninspired and it’s just bananas (pun intended).
- Ham III is super unlikeable.
- Weird human designs.
- The casting is pretty well-crafted.
- Some funny moments here and there.
- The ape character designs are not bad.
- Space enthusiasts may enjoy this movie.
- The soundtrack is pretty decent.