Alvin & The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked review

Alvin, Simon and Theodore appear in their third big-screen outing, and are again joined by the Chipettes, who this time have all been adopted by Dave, their manager. Up to their usual antics, the all-singing, all- dancing rodents are on vacation aboard a luxury cruise ship with Dave. But as you can imagine if you’ve seen the first two films, it doesn’t exactly turn out the relaxing holiday he had planned.

Turning the ship into their own personal playground, the group unintentionally end up "chipwrecked" on a deserted island, leaving Dave frantic and stranded overboard with a familiar face. As roles reverse, cheeky Alvin, responsible Simon, Fat naive Theodore and the Chipettes pull together as they learn some important lessons along the way and embark on an adventure with a new friend.

The original chipmunks were the handiwork of Ross Bagdasarian Sr in 1958 after speeding up a recording of his own voice to create the high-pitched intonations of the chipmunk voice. After numerous successful singles and albums throughout the 1960s, and a cartoon TV show and movie spin-off in the '80s and '90s, in 2007 the CGI animated version of the chipmunks was released with huge financial success. Later, in 2009, the sequel is a sell out introducing a girl version of the pre-teen pop stars, the Chipettes. So it seems safe to say the third instalment will have just as much success if not more, when it comes to the cash rolling in. Especially when it’s hosting some impressive content in the storyline for the most dysfunctional family you will ever come across and is just as hilarious as its predecessors.

Lee (Dave) and Cross (Ian) come together to make an excellent on-screen partnership, displaying the majority of the double entendre humour. This will no doubt please the adults. However, I can’t help coming back to one thought that keeps swimming around in my head, and that’s the all star cast voicing the chipmunks. Considering the cast make no appearance in the film and that we can’t even tell who they are when their voices are distorted and hidden behind the animated characters, why has Mitchell bothered to cast such renowned actors? I suppose it’s ostensible to believe that it is a merciless tactic with the intention of luring an audience away from the competition this Christmas.

The storyline seemed much more focused on character progression than the traditional musical orientation of the first two films and the amount of singing and dancing was disappointing. Renditions of contemporary chart toppers like Lady Gaga's Bad Romance, Willow Smith's Whip My Hair and Destiny Child's Survivor don’t make up for the lack of musical content at all. Although diverse scenarios including unloved and loved-up teenagers, subtle undertones of anti-sexism and an alter-ego’s for a certain nerdy chipmunk make it an interesting film to go and watch with the kids and takes you back to summer bliss in this chilly winter weather.

I’ve read a collection of negative reviews for this film and all I can conjure up in its defence is that it’s a kids' film! Don’t kids deserve a great movie experience as well as us adults? What are you expecting? Challenging plot developments or a Mametian Dialogue (however side-splitting that would be) The quality of CGI has improved enormously since the first film and I have rated it of accordance to how much the children will like it. Though, it was a shame it wasn’t in 3D (should have cut back on the fancy actors!) as it might have had landed a four-star victory.

Alvin & The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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