A teenage son of an astronaut tries to help his father after he and a chimpanzee switch brains as the result of a space flight mis-hap in which the boy must protect the "chimp" in which his ... Read allA teenage son of an astronaut tries to help his father after he and a chimpanzee switch brains as the result of a space flight mis-hap in which the boy must protect the "chimp" in which his father and is unable to communicate with anyone vocally, plus his father with the chimp's ... Read allA teenage son of an astronaut tries to help his father after he and a chimpanzee switch brains as the result of a space flight mis-hap in which the boy must protect the "chimp" in which his father and is unable to communicate with anyone vocally, plus his father with the chimp's mind from the military personnel and anyone else.
First of all, it's an early, so smart, example for a Body Swap movie. I'm quite fond of this kind of imaginary comedies that filled the 1980s. Actually, (Freaky Friday - 1976) sort of began it. Then this movie came out - as I knew lately - on precisely 28 September 1986. Even before "Magic Saturday", an episode of "Amazing Stories" with a Body Swap story, that was aired on 6 October of the same year. As after that, and right in the next year, the explosion started with (Like Father Like Son - 1987), (Big - 1988), (Vice Versa - 1988), (18 Again! - 1988), and (Dream a Little Dream - 1989). And frankly, (Hero in the Family) is way better than a lot of these movies.
This time, and this time only, we have a man, an astronaut, who unintentionally swaps his body with a chimpanzee's brain, and the chimpanzee.. well you must figure it out! There are movies where the human lead finds himself in a body of a dog (Oh! Heavenly Dog - 1980), an old man (Heaven Can Wait - 1978), a dumb guy (Innerspace - 1987), or a woman (Switch - 1991). But never with a chimpanzee before.
Moreover, I believe this condition of double interchange between man and animal was unprecedented in movies till this time. As all what we've got before was movies like (The Shaggy Dog - 1959) where a boy changes into a sheepdog and back again; which's nothing but funny take on (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde).
So it's original, and when it comes to making comic action it's fantastic. The pace was thrilling; you'll never forget the last 10 minutes I can promise you that. I love this script; it enjoyed us with several situations and mastered an unforgettable climatic sequence. I only hated when the boy didn't tell his friend about the chimp's fact unless very late.
All the cast was so good and jovial; (Cliff De Young), (Annabeth Gish), or even (Emmet Walsh) as General "Presser", and of course the talented chimp; this one can drive motorcycles pretty well!
(Mel Damski)'s direction was flawless; he was nominated for an Emmy more than once, nominated for an Academy Award for a best documentary in 1998, let alone that he directed countless TV shows; suffice to say that 2 of them are ones of my favorites: (Dolphin Cove) and (Early Edition).
Overall, this movie is so cinematic TV one, it has a spree childish spirit all over it. There is a certain, nearly anonymous, magic about the 1980s' movies; where the fantasy meets the comedy meets the action so innocently and cleverly.. maybe it's (E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial - 1982) effect.
Anyway, I thank God that our national second channel used to air (Hero in the Family) at the afternoon of the Fridays - our weekly vacation - to be one of the most perfect movies ever aired in this timing, or maybe was made for it! It's a shame that it has been nominated for Primetime Emmy and didn't win, and it's even more shame to find, after 23 years of its production, just couple of reviews about it on the IMDb, obviously it's a precursor and a Hero among the Body Swap movies, however sorrowfully few who perceive that!
- Apr 27, 2009