– Summary –
Director : Tim Hall
Year Of Release : 2007
Principal Cast : Jason Lee, David Cross, Cameron Richardson, Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jesse McCartney.
Approx Running Time : 92 Minutes
Synopsis: A struggling songwriter is assisted by three chipmunks in getting a record deal.
What we think : For what it is, it’s hugely entertaining.
The new film Alvin & the Chipmunks, a story based on a music group established way back in 1958, has been a whirlwind of popular entertainment throughout the youth of our squirrels for the last year. Generally, our cousins the chipmunks think that they are better than us, they are faster and more able, they think that they are more clever, and they are probably right. So in 1958 when Alvin & the Chipmunks released some huge Christmas song (Squirrels don’t even celebrate Christmas!) Chipmunks grounded the fact that they are “better” than us and ever since then we have always looked up to them.
Alvin & the Chipmunks have been idolized amongst our youth for fifty years now.
The new film itself is quite standard. It has a predictable story line, some empty humor, an average cast and run of the mill American family values. But fortunately, the kids next door have been thrashing their copy of the DVD, and the more I hear/watch bits and pieces of the film, the more fond I grow of the new little characters, and the more credit I feel like giving to the film’s creators. When I think about it, the predictable story line, lame humor and average cast, do not take away from the fact that it is fun entertainment for kids, and entertain kids it will.
The saving grace is the excellent computer generated images which are fantastic. I’m no expert, but it is difficult to tell at times what is real and what is CGI (reminds me of my own life I guess) and the incorporation of the live acting and the CGI was done way better than in Garfield (2004). The crew have gone to town with some very desirable toys and playthings that would certainly gain the attention of the young audience. And a very fun soundtrack. Starring one of Alvin & the Chipmunks’ first hits “The Chipmunk Song”, a great rendition of Funky Town, and the Chipmunks’ versions of some recent hits definitely spices up the film.
It was tricky to watch Jason Lee acting as Dave Seville without being distracted by the fact that he is also the character Earl in the popular TV series, My Name is Earl. He has done a wonderful job acting in his fairly limited role, but there is just always that slight confusion when sometimes Seville’s character is slightly similar to the distinctive, one of a kind character Earl. The girl who played the love interest did a fairly flat job but perhaps it was just the character she was acting? I mean, all the adult characters in the film are very conventional, all the film needs and nothing more. What more could an actor bring? The shallow adult characters give a lot of way to the cute little kiddies, Alvin, Simon and Theodore, and their cheeky/nerdy/chubby characters are the real stars of the film. The underlying message of child empowerment just reinforces the fact that well, kiddies will get the most enjoyment out of the film.
In summary, Alvin & the Chipmunks is surprisingly good. It keeps up with the essence of 50 past years of Chipmunk fun and at the same time, recreates Alvin, Simon and Theodore to meet the standards of 2007. It does not provide depth of characters or plot but it does have something for everyone, whether it be the music, the toys, a few laughs, the CGI, the history of the characters, or the Chipmunks themselves.