Is Chimp Empire on Netflix Real or Fake?

April 25, 2023
Jessica Fontaine 1
Netflix, News, Streaming Service
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We discuss whether the Netflix documentary series Chimp Empire is real or fake after some viewers questioned its legitimacy. 

Chimp Empire is a nature documentary series that arrived on Netflix on April 19, 2023. Narrated by Moonlight actor Mahershala Ali, it explores the complex world of chimpanzees and how they interact.

With its breathtaking cinematography, incredible close shots of the chimpanzees, and frightening images of the war between them, Chimp Empire looks too good to be true.

Many viewers wonder if this Netflix documentary series is real or fake based on the frightening and dramatic interactions they see.

What is Chimp Empire on Netflix about?

Chimp Empire is about the captivating lives of the Ngogo chimpanzees as they raise their children, exist under complex social dynamics, and fight to reach the top of the hierarchy. The documentary series follows the community after it split into two warring factions.

The Central and Western factions of the Ngogo community engage in an intense rivalry throughout the series. We see stunning close-up encounters of everything the chimpanzees do, from nurturing their young to being in combat.

Chimp Empire comes from director James Reed, who oversaw the filming of the chimps’ conflicts and headstrong personalities. We watch the vigilance of each tribe as they patrol the lands between them and prepare to fight back if their rivals invade.

Is Chimp Empire on Netflix Real or Fake?

Chimp Empire is entirely real. It appears unreal due to the unbelievable talent of the film crew. Chimps travel through the forest at lightning speeds during moments of high aggression, so it took months of tracking for the sequences to come together.

Reed told Netflix, “It’s like being on The Truman Show or something — you feel like you’re on a set, because you can’t quite believe they’re real. They’re so human, you know that they’re assessing you in the same way that you’re assessing them. You can’t quite believe that they accept you into their world.”

Why would some viewers believe Chimp Empire is fake?

Viewers may believe Chimp Empire is fake due to the cutthroat competition between the Central and Western groups of chimpanzees. It seems almost too dramatic to be real.

In fact, Reed didn’t know that the Ngogo group would split and cause a chain reaction of terrifying battles. He told Netflix Tudum, “We have no idea what will happen now. Will they reunite peacefully? Will they go to war? We’d reached a historic moment. It was going to be new for science, and it also provided a really unique opportunity to film a story about this amazing, dramatic situation in the forest.”

Where is Chimp Empire filmed?

Chimp Empire was filmed at the Kibale National Park in Uganda. Reed, his film crew, and scientists filmed the Ngogo chimps for over a year. The Ngogo community is the world’s largest known group of chimpanzees.

During filming, the community had separated into two warring factions. Filmmakers were present for the chimps’ fight for supremacy between the Central and Western Groups.

Chimp Empire was filmed in a remote rainforest. A researcher told Netflix, “This is a mid-altitude rainforest, we’re almost a mile up, there are a lot of hills, the vegetation is thick, the forest is dark, chimpanzees are black… It’s probably the worst filmmaking environment you could ask for.”

Filming Ugandan chimpanzees was a dangerous task. Before filming in January 2021, Reed brought together a crew who spent most of the 18-month-long shoot in the chimps’ habitat, which was anything but friendly.

However, the chimps had their wholesome moments, especially when Abrams danced in the rain.

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1 thought on “Is Chimp Empire on Netflix Real or Fake?

  • April 27, 2023 at 3:48 am

    Watch rise of the ape warriors and you’ll see how they filmed it

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