Monday, February 23

Defending Alvin and the Chipmunks the movie

I know I am late but I thought I'd review and defend Alvin and the Chipmunks, the critically panned and 80's fan despised movie. I admit I was one of those playerhaters and didn't have high-expectations but that turned around after watching the movie. It actually is quite good. The main premise is Dave Seville (Jason Lee) is a struggling songwriter and discovers three talking and singine orphan chipmunk children. The three are voiced by 3 uber-hotties but you can barely tell: Alvin is Justin Long (Mac commercials, Accepted, Waiting, etc.), Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds) as Simon, and Jesse McCartney as Theodore. It doesn't make sense to me that a heartthrob would play the chubby hungry one but whatever. The characters are more fleshed out, Theodore is the heart and gentle one of the group and more absent-minded than in previous incarnations. Alvin is not as annoying as he is in the commercials. The subtle things before getting clothes, the chipmunks have colored eye pupils, Alvin has brown while the others--Theodore has green and Simon has blue. My mom lvoes the movie and was confused about their size but I explained to them that because they are suppose to reflect the real world in some way--that is why they are small and chipmunk height. The puppetry is good (to emulate the CGI characters moving the chairs, planes, door, cups, etc.), some is show-off-y but the best is when you don't notice. I like how Alvin sucks in helium from a baloon and his voice gets deeper.

When Dave goes to show off the Chipmunks to big record producer Ian (David Cross), who doesn't become a big villain until the end, the trio's stage freight faces are hilarious and priceless. David Cross is very funny, sometimes annoying but doesn't ham it up. Jane Lynch makes a cameo but doesn't contribute much. The movie is subtle and genuinely funny, the fart and poo jokes are to a minimum. But yes Alvin steals the show (most of what he says is kid pleasers), but he isn't invincible to be in a butt in jokes--like being sucked by a vacuum. As for Dave's 'ex-mate' Claire doesn't add anything--she is the flat actress. I love the animation in their faces, like when Theodore tells Dave that he had garlic breath, his face looks so concerned. It is also great where there is no big explanation to why they can sing or talk. As for their parents, they say their parents were hippies and went early to commune which is not believable at all sicne it is the late 2000's and they are children. That would be a funny joke in the 80's. Most of the movie is predictable (the cofee scene was awesome!) but I love how the note he writes to get rid of them when he is tense and then they discover it later. I love how the movie is about Dave getting accustomed to the idea of being a family and becoming a father for the trio.

Favorite Quotes:
(Once discovering Dave knocked out thinking he is dead.)
Alvin: "Wipe everything down! I'll need three garbage bags, a shovel, some disinfectant, some latex gloves, and oregano. Go!"

David: "They're savings bonds. In seven years you will get enough money from them to buy something nice."
Alvin: "Do you have any that you bought seven years ago?"

The cast returns for the sequel--I don't like the name 'Squeakuel' but they have confirmed that the Chipettes (Brittany, Jeanette and Eleanor) will be in it. I love them and I hope it is as good as the first one and they are treated with the same respect for storytelling as their male counterparts. The story: "The Chipmunks are fish out of water in school where Dave sends them. Meanwhile, Ian (after the Chipmunks dealt him a serious blow) is freed from jail and searches the world for animals who can sing and dance. He finds the Chipettes and can't wait to make them famous and get back at the Chipmunks." It will be bit hard with the Chipettes since they were first and only seen in the cartoon and were tied with the characters from the cartoon. So I guess they will have their own new storyline. Although [Janice] Karman has provided the voices of the female chipmunks in the past, she said that she'll happily pass the torch to new actresses. "I think we'll probably get famous actresses," she explained. -MTV

[The Chipettes] represented equality for little girls; to others, they were the lame equivalent of Star Wars’ Ewoks or Cousin Oliver from “The Brady Bunch.” The stars of the new film, however, insisted that they’re eager to get their characters some chipmunk lovin’. “I have a big crush on all of them,” insisted Gubler. “I want to see them naked…I’d pay to see that.” Long says, “I’ve got a great tagline, by the way, for the Chipettes movie if they do come out in the sequel,” he grinned. “It’s ‘This spring, the Chipmunks get vaginas." -Another MTV blog post