Buena Vista // 2003 // 88 Minutes // Rated G
Reviewed by Judge Adam Arseneau (Retired) // March 5th, 2004
Hollywood's #1 chimp takes it to the extreme!
I will say this right now, for the record, and I want to be perfectly clear on this issue, so that there is no mistake:
Chimpanzees have no business on snowboards. They have absolutely no business there.
There. I said it.
Apparently, Jack is back, and this time, he's hitting the slopes. Keep that in mind. From the creators of Air Bud comes this tale of winter monkey antics, complete with hip lingo and gnarly snowboarding.
Having been forced to give up skateboarding and hockey, Jack's "mother" decides to surprise her monkey children with a trip to Mexico. Chimpanzees that all have their own American passports, mind you. They even signed them, in monkey-handwriting. However, while in the airport, Jack is accidentally mistaken for a sombrero-wearing child, and gets on a plane to Colorado instead. It's like Home Alone, except it makes sense.
When the plane arrives at Blackbrush, Colorado, there is nothing to do but snowboard, or so it would seem. Jack befriends two snowboarding wannabe brothers (the oldest one with such an egregious surfer-dude accent that it makes you want to adjust his upper palate with a hockey stick) and hits the slopes, ready to make simian shreddin' history.
Of course, no chimpanzee snowboarding movie would be complete without two bumbling gangster wannabes, who recognize Jack from a skateboarding magazine and try to kidnap him for extortion money. But Jack proves more than an intellectual match for all of them (it is doubtful that the thugs can even snowboard, after all).
Seriously now -- I want to know where this chimpanzee gets off trying to be a snowboarder. This offends me on a spiritual, intellectual, and political level -- mostly because the darn monkey can shred snow better than I can.
Like all decent quality family entertainment, one is unable to completely despise MXP, because it is wholesome, entertaining, and amusing...or something. There is little to hate about it, at any rate, outside of the blatant monkey jokes, the terrible hipster lingo, and the general lameness of a monkey snowboarding. Once you get past all that, of course? It's all golden, baby. MVP even features an appearance by pro snowboarder Bjorn Leines, whose talents barely manage to outshine Jack's skills on the slopes (seriously, how'd that chimpanzee get so darn good?)
And, credit where credit is due -- MXP has an impressive technical backbone, featuring a quality transfer, seriously impressive sound, and a reasonable offering of extras -- at least, for a straight-to-video children's movie. Though it be in the dreaded full screen, it is hard to knock the picture quality of MXP; colors are vibrant and dynamic, sharpness and detail are all well within respectable limits, black levels are dark and deep, and nary a smudge nor scratch is present.
The sound, in particular, is pretty gnarly dude, and totally tubular in all sonic effects -- definitely non-bogus. The score is the typical, string heavy, family-movie soundtrack, chiming in whenever the scene is particularly heartwarming or amusing, but it sounds impressive and strong. All dialogue and sound effects sound fairly well balanced, and all three language tracks (English, Spanish, and French) get a Dolby Digital 5.1 treatment. Impressive, eh? Even better, each track sounds virtually identical, all strong in the dialogue, music clear and sharp, with a fair amount of action through the five channels. In fact, the foreign tracks are actually preferable, because then you do not have to listen to the older brother's most heinous Bill S. Preston impression.
Extras include a behind-the-scenes featurette, a snowboarding challenge game (where you use the remote to guide Jack down the mountain safely), some outtakes, a music video by the pop-punk band Dynamite Boy, and a segment entitled "PACT: People and Chimps Together," which is a promotional commercial for a chimpanzee amusement park (I kid you not) where the animals can go to retire in safety and protection. Truth is so much stranger than fiction. And, don't forget my favorite feature of all -- a totally gnarly Xtreme MXP Snowboard Sticker! This is going straight onto my snowboard, let me tell you!
As far as innocuous, harmless, straight-to-video fare goes, MXP provides a reasonable level of family entertainment, plus a monkey to boot. Of course, if anyone catches you watching MXP without a young boy or girl present, then we have to put you in a white jacket and lock you in a room. You know, for the good of society. Nothing personal.
Chimps do not belong in movies like this. They just don't. Animal cruelty, be darned -- they can eat the monkey for all I care. Animal rights activists may firebomb my house, but that's okay -- I'll leave my copy of MXP on the front porch, soaked in gasoline, waiting for them.
Okay, I was just kidding about that last part. Please don't eat the monkey.
But the idea is just fundamentally dumb, that's all. A chimpanzee? Snowboarding? Better than anyone else? I'll buy the idea of a snowboarding chimpanzee, but let's face it -- a chimpanzee would be only an intermediate snowboarder, capable of some of the diamond runs, at best -- certainly none of this double-diamond nonsense. I mean, how dumb do they think we are?
MXP is chimp-roaring fun for the whole family, except me -- not that I wouldn't love to be in your family, far from it; I am sure we would all get along swimmingly, and I would make no passes at your young sister, and your grandmother, given enough time, would come to respect me, really, she would. You know how the older generation are -- all set in their ways. Don't get me started about that!
MXP: Most Xtreme Primate, without a doubt, is the best monkey snowboarding movie ever made on the subject. On a completely unrelated note, MXP is also the only monkey snowboarding movie ever made on the subject.
Another pinnacle of Canadian cinema, this is. Though, as far as family entertainment goes -- you could do so much worse!
Case not guilty, or something.
Review content copyright © 2004 Adam Arseneau; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Buena Vista
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Rated G
* Monkey Business--A Behind-the-Scenes Featurette
* Snowboarding Challenge Game
* Music Video
* "PACT: People and Chimps Together"
* Xtreme MXP Snowboard Sticker
* PACT: People and Chimpanzees Together