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Is this cartoon revival worth it?

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*There are spoilers in this review.*

Alvin and the Chipmunks is about the story of Dave Seville and three unexpected permanent house guests, Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. The trio of chipmunks ends up in a boy band.

If you're wondering about the answer to the question above this review, allow me to answer it with a big N-O. While Alvin and the Chipmunks was a box office success thanks to reviving an old property adults grew up with and making it pander to children, it all comes at the expense of quality. Alvin and the Chipmunks is another one of those high-grossing-yet-terribly-unfunny kid's movies like Cat in the Hat and Shark Tale, and when you sit through the movie, you're just angry that a movie like that did so well in the box office.

There were three writers to this movie. Two of them, Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi, both co-wrote forgettable films like Snow Day, The Tale of Despereaux, and My Boss's Daughter. The other one, Jon Vitti, wrote mostly children's films with varying quality (I'd hate to use "varying success" in this sentence because it can apply to both critics' reactions and box office sales). While he wrote the surprisingly great The Simpsons Movie, he also wrote mediocre films like Ice Age 2 and Dinner for Schmucks.

Keep this in mind. Three writers wrote Alvin and the Chipmunks, and it ended up being the worst movie (quality-wise) of each of their writing careers.

The plot stinks with every cartoon adaptation movie cliche ever created. Takes place in our real world? Check. CGI? Check. Banal human characters? Check. Love subplot for two of those human characters? Check. Lowest-common-denominator pandering towards children? Of course.

There are two plots of this movie: the plot revolving around Alvin and his chipmunk pals landing a singing career but eventually regretting it, and the plot with Dave and his love interest, Claire. The plot with the chipmunks is forgettable, unfunny, and cliched, consisting of terrible jokes centered around yelling, pop culture and potty humor. In other words, typical kid's movie fare. The chipmunk plot feels like it should be in an episode of Alvin and the Chipmunks instead of a feature-length movie. The other plot with Claire is even more cliched, forgettable, and unfunny, and on top of that, it fails to be the least bit romantic. You'll find better romantic subplots in cartoons on Nickelodeon that air at 7 in the morning.

However, this film has some redeeming qualities to it. The CGI looks great, save for a few scenes (such as when Alvin is showering in the dishwasher). The animation for the chipmunks is very expressive and achieves to make the chipmunks cartoony while keeping them out of the Uncanny Valley. The chipmunks' voice actors (Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney for Alvin, Simon and Theodore, respectively) manage to make the chipmunks sound like they should sound when they are talking or singing. Unfortunately, these are the film's only strong points, and kid's probably won't notice or care for them.

I do not recommend Alvin and the Chipmunks to anybody who was a fan of the original cartoon, as they're better off watching old episodes of the show on DVDs or VHSs instead. As I said before, no one over ten will enjoy Alvin and the Chipmunks. Still, unless you really need to keep your children quiet for an hour and a half, do not show this to children, as their is far better children's entertainment out there.

2/10
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Added by Oporkchops
4 years ago on 5 January 2013 21:44




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