ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: DVD
The three chipmunks, Alvin (voice of Justin Long), Simon Matthew Gray Gubler) and Theodore (Jesse McCartney), enter the world of people when the tree they inhabit is chopped down and installed in a large shopping mall. They escape and end up in the home of down-on-his-luck songwriter Dave (Jason Lee). After almost destroying Dave's apartment, he tosses them out into the rainy night but has a change of heart when he hears them singing outside his window. He quickly writes them a song, takes it to his ex-schoolmate Ian (David Cross), now a major music industry executive, and in moments, the furry trio is the Next Big Thing. But Ian lures the Chipmunks away from Dave and works them 'til they drop ....
Review by Howie Green:
While watching the new version of Alvin and the Chipmunks, I kept thinking that if you simply replace the chipmunks with Garfield the cat and change the rodents' wrangler Dave to the morbidly obese feline's enabler, Jon Arbuckle, the movie could very easily have been the third live-action Garfield movie. Now I know why. Director Tim Hill, who helmed Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties, also directs this new film about the singing rodents who first burst into pop culture over 50 years ago.
Last seen on the big screen in the 1987 animated flick The Chipmunk Adventure, this new movie nicely updates the chipmunks into the realm of CGI animation and seamlessly places them in the real world with Jason Lee as their songwriter buddy Dave and David Cross as Ian, the sleazy and slightly demented music company dude. Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and teen pop star Jesse McCartney provide the voices for the furry little critters, though due to the nature of the speeded-up voices, it's difficult to tell them apart and often impossible to tell what the heck the Chipmunks are even saying (and subtitles in a family film would be a no-no). But they sure are adorable.
The movie is a total kiddie flick and there is almost nothing here for adults. Jason Lee, best known as the karmic Johnny Appleseed on NBC's My Name Is Earl, manages to not embarrass himself and David Cross is his usual creepy and uncomfortable self, but all the adults take a back seat to the animated animals. The Chipmunks are endearing and well animated and the movie is bound to generate a lot of box office over the holidays (and inevitably, via sequels). In the end, though, Alvin and the Chipmunks is an hour-and-a-half of harmless fun but not much more.
DVD's featurettes include 'Hitting the Harmony' showing how the toe-tapping tunes were created, Chipmunk History, Learn dance moves and Visual Effects.
Published June 18, 2008
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ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: DVD (G)
CAST: Jason Lee, David Cross, Cameron Richardson, Jane Lynch,
VOICES: Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jesse McCartney
PRODUCER: Ross Bagdasarian Jr., Janice Karman, Steve Waterman
DIRECTOR: Tim Hill
SCRIPT: Jon Vitti, Will McRobb, Chris Viscardi
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Peter Lyons Collister
EDITOR: Peter E. Berger
MUSIC: Christopher Lennertz
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Richard Holland
RUNNING TIME: 91 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 1, 2008
SPECIAL FEATURES: Hitting the Harmony (Blu-ray Disc & DVD) - Join the film's Executive Music Director and the 'Dee Town' crew to see how the toe-tapping tunes were created; Chip-Chip-Hooray! Chipmunk History (Blu-ray Disc & DVD) - Meet the movie's producers Ross Bagdasarian Jr. (son of Chipmunks creator Ross Bagdasarin, Sr.) and Janice Karman who talk about the lives and upbringing of the Chipmunks as well as what it took to prepare these characters for their big screen roles;"Get Munk'd" (DVD) - Learn dance moves with Choreographer Rosero McCoy and the 'Chipmunk Dance Crew'; The Visual Effects of Alvin and the Chipmunks (DVD) - Visual effects artists demonstrate how they build the 3-D models and animate the movements of these favorite furry friends.
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
DVD RELEASE: June 18, 2008
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