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Blu-ray Review: Alvin and the Chipmunks – Chipwrecked

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Did you ever wish that, while you were sitting there watching a really awful and terribly crappy movie, that — for some unexplained but beneficial reason — the movie you were bearing witness to was suddenly besieged and subsequently overruled by a completely different movie? As I sat there, torturing my adolescent children and myself with Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, the latest in a series of mind-numbingly appalling kiddie films that nobody ever asked for in the first place, I couldn’t help but imagine several sundry scenarios that would have ultimately improved this stupid movie.

In the first part of le film, Alvin and the other chipmunks wreaked havoc aboard a luxury cruise ship — making life even more miserable for their long-suffering human familiar, Dave (Jason Lee, whom I thought had surely hit rock bottom when he did the first Alvin and the Chipmunks film, though I now have to wonder what the proper classification of two steps down from rock bottom is). My fantasy, naturally, involved a rogue wave (à la Poseidon) appearing and capsizing the vessel — leading our starring rodents to work their way up to the bottom of the liner, only to meet ghastly (timely) demises from flash fires, propellers, and drowning.

Later on in the flick, the ‘munks get whisked away on a kite (yes, that’s right: they’re not actually shipwrecked, as the title’s unfunny play on words might suggest), only to wash up on an uninhabited jungle island; their manager/owner/whatever-he’s-supposed-to-be Dave and his longtime rival Ian (David Cross, who delivers the only funny line in the whole film, but which I already forgot because it wasn’t worth remembering). I went wild with that one, kids: velociraptors from Jurassic Park weren’t too terribly far away from enjoying six small gnawing mammal-sized snacks, packs of murderous jungle dwelling savages and resurrected corpses alike straight out of several iconic Italian horror film genres came a callin’ on the Tamias and their live-action human counterparts, and so on and so forth.

Meanwhile, in the hellish reality imposed upon me by the moving picture in question, I had to watch Jason Lee and David Cross walk around in search of the l’li critters — whilst the latter performer was attired in a pelican costume. The Chipmunks and Chipettes (who are voiced by eleven different actors and singers) on the other hand, befriend a stranded woman with surprisingly wonderful hygiene and shaved legs (Jenny Slate). Chipmunk Simon becomes an adventurous French lad following a spider bite (uh-huh), making Alvin become the responsible one for a change. There’s a lesson to be had in this monstrosity somewhere, but, naturally, it’s lost amid the bad high pitched covers of modern annoying hits (and a few old ones) and just plain awfulness in general.

Generally, family movies at least try to reward their viewers with a good, honest, worthwhile message (such as “Better dead than Red,” “Three’s Company, too,” or “Klatuu Barada Nikto”), but there’s absolutely nothing here but the smell of money. A lot of it, too. You’d think that after the film’s backers shelled out $80 million, they would have at least ensured the moral made it to the final cut. But then, perhaps Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked is a message unto itself — a stern warning that even the dumbest idea can become far worse than one can possibly imagine as long as parents keep dropping their kids off at the matinees to see crap like this.

As horrid as Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked is, the High-Def presentation that Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has given it is beautiful, boasting a clear, crisp, and extremely colorful transfer. Likewise, the disc’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is a nice one (even with all the annoying Chipmunk voices), and you almost want to smack yourself over how much effort probably went into this release in terms of aural and visual quality.

Another thing that might have you breaking out in tears and tempted to run over or poison every chipmunk in your neighborhood is the selection of special features here. From interviews with Jason Lee and the makers of the film (one of whom is the offspring of the original Chipmunks creator: “Like father, like son — think about it, won’t you?”) to deleted scenes and some — gulp — sing-a-long featurettes for the kids with nonstop loop options, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked has a plethora of goodies complete with razor blades inside.

You have been warned.

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.