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CW's Review of Alvin and the Chipmunks

rated it: posted: Jan 04, 2008
Reviews: 51 | Reviewing Ninja
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I suppose you could consider me a long time fan of the Chipmunks. When they hopped on the country bandwagon, I was there. When they sang a Christmas duet with Jaci Velasquez, I was there. When they covered the Macarena... okay, maybe I missed a few albums, but that's what eBay is for, right?

Given my fond memories of the Chipmunks, I was initially resistant towards seeing the movie. And for that, I must say: shame. Shame on me. Shame, shame, shame.

The movie begins with our favourite trio of singing chipmunks storing nuts for the winter. If you can suspend your disbelief that they already seem to be aware of top 40 radio while living in the Sierra Lake Tree Farm (they must be tuned in to the same station that all those dancing penguins in Antarctica listen to), then you probably won't have a problem with this film, especially since it's been established on their various albums that they have the ability to summon floods and both steal and pilot rockets. Surely listening to music out in the woods isn't beyond their abilities.

Anyway, after they lose their nuts, the Chipmunks find themselves transported to the big city, as their tree is farmed and turned into a Christmas tree. There, they hitch a ride in a stolen muffin basket carried by one Dave Seville. He's a down and out songwriter whose latest song was rejected (and it seriously needed work, lyrically), and who seems to be on the verge of giving up.

That very evening, he discovers his three furry stowaways and banishes them out of his house as soon as he finds out they can talk. Then he welcomes them back into his house when he finds out they can sing as well.

The movie may have overdone the whole commercialization of the Chipmunks, but I think it's a lot more realistic than the reaction the human race showed towards dancing penguins. When we see miracles of nature, the first thing we think isn't, "We need to save the environment even if it bankrupts an entire industry". It's, "I wonder how much money we can milk this for?"

Enter the money milker, Lou Pearlman Ian Hawke. While he'd already rejected one of Seville's songs, he's more than willing to sign the Chipmunks even though they sing a song that Seville had written.

And come to think of it, I would wonder why the Chipmunks need a songwriter, when they have a seemingly infinite repertoire of adult contemporary hits. But as I said, suspension of disbelief.

While signed with JETT Records, the Chipmunks sing brand new songs, and the songs themselves aren't too bad. They're typical of the kind of R&B/pop that has been popular among teenagers since the mid 90's, but they fit the movie well and are fun to listen to. Longtime fans may or may not enjoy the new direction the Chipmunks have taken with their music, but they're good if you feel like you just want to listen to something that's entirely bubblegum.

I found very little in this movie to complain about, and when I watched it a second time, it helped me get rid of a headache, an upset stomach (I consumed too much popcorn with awful artificial butter before Alvin), and a small bout of depression that had been inspired by I Am Legend. If this movie can cure what ails me the second time I watched it, then I imagine that the third time I watch this movie, I may just transcend time and space. You never know. But I promise that I will continue to review movies if I'm still able to do so after I transcend.
-edited January 14, 2008

Original review:
I loved this movie so much that I'm posting this via PSP in a hotel room while on vacation, until I get access to a computer so I can replace this with an actual review. For now, I will say that I bought the soundtrack as soon as I left the theatre. Full recommendation of both!

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Re-edit, July 16 2008:

Okay, after thinking about the painfully awkward Chipmunk Song sequence off and on for a half a year, I'm going to dock a half a star from my original score. It's not a four star movie, but it's definitely no less than a three and a half star movie.

animated movie Alvin and the Chipmunks © Fox
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Alvin and the Chipmunks
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