Chimp Empire review: Calm world of chimpanzees offers enough drama

Chimp Empire follows the world of the largest chimpanzee society ever. It dives deep into family dynamics, politics, and the threats that this society faces. The documentary is now streaming on Netflix.


In the forest of Ngogo lives a thriving society of chimpanzees, with over 120 chimps living together. Every chimp here in Ngogo is an individual with their own unique personality and goals.

The sophisticated society of Ngogo is a complex network of family and social bonds. Each chimp has to forge relationships with others and find their place in the group.

The life of chimpanzees in Ngogo also involves politics, as each and every chimp tries to make their way to the top of the hierarchy. At the top sits the most powerful chimp in Ngogo, the alpha male.

The show chronicles how these chimpanzees form alliances, build trust, care for one another, and fight the chimpanzees from other territories who are looking to expand their space as they navigate their lives in Ngogo.

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The kind of society Chimp Empire is introducing to the viewers is fascinating in itself. The docuseries starts off by pointing out the similarities between human societies and that of the chimpanzees.

This comparison allows the viewers to get familiar with the world of these chimps and makes them realize that they work no differently than humans.

Every interaction and the way chimpanzees bond are laid out in detail. The series carries a tone of calmness that hints that the world of these chimps is quiet and heart-warming. It’s only later that the viewers realize that there is just as much drama that will have you hooked.

As the documentary claims, each and every chimp in Ngogo has a unique personality and a story of their own. For example, the show gives a special focus to the rise and fall of the alpha male of Ngogo’s central group, Jackson.

Jackson has quite a story to tell, as his past details that he originally came from a different territory before rising through the ranks and becoming the alpha male of Ngogo’s central group.

Much like Jackson, there are chimpanzees that rival him or are his allies. Then there are outsiders as well, and also the ones who will grow up to take Jackson’s place someday.


At first, a viewer may struggle to get comfortable with the voice of the Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali, which is better suited for pop-culture documentaries. 

Lastly, the narration is a bit slow, and the battles between rival chimpanzee groups could have been captured better.


Chimp Empire promises a calm and soothing watch, but not without having some drama sprinkled over it. While the idea the show presents entertains in the first episode, viewers may dissect away from the series as it takes a ton of time to build the drama that it promises.

Chimp Empire
Chimp Empire review: Calm world of chimpanzees offers enough drama 1

Director: James Reed

Date Created: 2023-04-19 12:30

Editor's Rating:

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