Paramount // 1983 // 66 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // May 22nd, 2007
Alvin, Simon and Theodore, the three anthropomorphic chipmunks that sing in high-pitched warbles and wear onesies, tackle the film industry in this compilation of recycled episodes from the cartoon series. If you're new to the sprawling Chipmunks mythology, here's a primer: three woodland creatures cohabitate with an adult man and produce albums that people seem to like. They get into adventures from time to time.
These episodes are all movie spoof-oriented, feature two Chipmunk songs each (joy) and total a shade north of an hour:
* "Star Wreck"
This episode parodies...you guessed it...Star Trek. Wreck, Trek, you feeling the creativity here, kid? Alvin assumes the role of Captain Kirk, Simon is the Spock character and Theodore the dumpy, pushy sorta-Scottish engineer. The intrepid crew ends up on a planet populated by weird alien things that operate an intergalactic vacuum cleaner.
I understand there's very little wiggle room to spoof Batman with a chipmunk reference, but this bizarre title brings visions to mind of a Weekly World News cover story involving the Vatican and a terrifying mutation. Simon dons the cap and cowl and goes up against Alvin as the "Jokester." Hilarity tries to ensue, but my cold heart is resistant to letting the mirth in.
* "Funny...We Shrunk the Adults"
Poking fun at Honey, I Shrunk the Kids!, that mighty Rich Moranis star-making vehicle, this show has Dave and some other grown-ups shrunk and running around the house. Meanwhile, the Chipmunks work to find a solution to resize their adult pals.
I've dealt with the Chipmunks before and, frankly, these guys just don't age well. I think the fad of watching animated rodents flying around on hot air balloons and singing Top 40 songs from the '80s has lost its luster. These episodes are nothing special, typical of the Chipmunks brand of escapades you've come to FILL IN THE BLANK. As for me, I hold no festering animosity towards Alvin and the gang, but I don't give two droppings over them either. They're just...there.
This collection is tad more satisfying than other compilations, mainly because some of the satire flirts with clever, but consider that the highest accolade I'm willing to bestow. The animation is dated, the songs are ear-piercingly annoying (though hearing "Danger Zone" sung in chipmunk is mildly entertaining) and the writing is garden variety Saturday morning blah.
If you're dedicated to keeping the Alvin flame burning brightly, than by all means score this disc, but for anyone but the hard-core fanbase (?!?) there's very little of substance here. Typical bare-bones treatment: a dull full frame picture with flat, washed-out colors and a 2.0 stereo track. No extras.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 66 Minutes
Release Year: 1983
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Alvin and the Chipmunks Site