Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked Review

It’s entirely fair to say that the ideal time for an Alvin and the Chipmunks series of films would have been in the early 90s, but if that had happened, there’s no telling how filmmakers would have gone about creating the chipmunks. The CGI technology of today is just miles ahead of what it used to be. It’s that conundrum of technical wizardry versus anachronistic adaptation that makes Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked a cursed film. It has all the trademarks of a direct-to-DVD brand of sequel – a ridiculous story that otherwise has nothing to do with the premise of talking and singing chipmunks and their caretaker—and a pop culture sensibility stuck on overdrive, but it’s still a damned impressive technological feat. Few films that rely so heavily on CGI characters manage to blend them in this smoothly. Now if only they could do it in a film that was worth watching.

When Dave (Jason Lee) takes the Chipmunks and Chipettes on a cruise, an incident sends the boys and girls overboard and strands them on an island. Realizing they’re gone, Dave attempts to mount a rescue via hang glider but only succeeds in washing himself, and the chipmunks’ long-time nemesis Ian (David Cross), working as a costumed character on the cruise, off to the island as well. While on the island, the rodents run into Zoe (Jenny Slate) who’s been stranded on the island for some time. The ordeal helps Dave to realize his boys are growing up, while at the same time forcing Alvin to be responsible, thus challenging Alvin’s perception of himself as the party animal.

The CGI integration has always been impressive in these films, even when other qualities are lacking, and it only continues to get better. In terms of performances and story, just about everything takes a dip in quality as there’s very little here that’s clever or particularly different from countless movies and cartoons about characters being stranded on an island. The only thing separating Chipwrecked and the other Alvin and the Chipmunks films from the rest of the crowd is its insistence on taking the Top 40 hits and internet memes (like a nod to “Double Rainbow”) and shoehorning them in for whatever reason.

Blu-ray Bonus Features

The combo back includes the film on DVD, Blu-ray, and as a digital copy. The extras on the Blu-ray include the jukebox function to cycle through the movie’s musical numbers, a variety of production featurettes, and a look at Alan Tudyk’s far too brief appearance. Finally, some extended scenes, and some Fox Movie Channel profile pieces on Lee and Alvin’s legacy.

"Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked" is on sale March 27, 2012 and is rated G. Children & Family, Comedy. Directed by Mike Mitchell. Written by Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger. Starring Amy Poehler, Anna Faris, Christina Applegate, David Cross, Jason Lee, Jesse McCartney, Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jenny Slate.

Lex Walker • Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.


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