MVP: Most Valuable Primate

MVP: Most Valuable Primate (2000)
Warner Home Video
Cast: Rick Ducommun, Oliver Muirhead, Jamie Renee Smith, Kevin Zegers
Extras: Commentary track, Documentary, Theatrical Trailer

Jack is a young chimpanzee who serves as an object of study. He has been taught sign-language and is capable many things that would typically considered human. When his mentor dies, Jack is sold to a laboratory where he would be used as a lab rat and before anything can happen, Jack escapes with a little help from a friend. He ends up in the snowy regions of Canada where he befriends two young children – outsiders like himself. Soon a friendship ensues and eventually Jack’s skills and abilities help integrate the children in their surroundings while also giving him new hope to finally get home to his own family.

The attraction of ’MVP’ is clearly the monkey act. Although heartwarming, charming and humorous, the story itself serves as a backdrop for the many incredible feats performed on camera by this young chimp. The story is predictable and little focus is put on the actual character, but since the film plays almost like en extra-long version of the ’Chimp Channel’ this film is light-hearted fun for the entire family.

Warner Home Video presents ’MVP’ in a fullscreen version only on this DVD. The movie’s original aspect ration of 1.85:1 seems to have been converted into an open matte transfer on this disc, adding slight picture information at the top and the bottom of the screen. The image itself is clear, although in a number of scenes excessive grain is visible that results in a loss of detail. There is also a notable over-enhancement of red evident in many parts of the film, creating a look at that feels unnatural at times. The lack of scratches or other blemishes in the transfer still creates a good-looking presentation.

The 5.1 channel Dolby Digital audio track that is supplied on the disc is surprisingly active and balanced, and makes very good use of the surround channels. Especially during the hockey scenes, the ambiance created by the track is fully engulfing and serves the film very well.

If you liked films like ’Air Bud’ or some of the classic Disney animal films, check out ’MVP.’ It is a fun film and it includes some remarkable monkey business.