Alvin and the Chipmunks is one of a few live-action versions of a cartoon that I was legitimately excited to see. You better believe I was geeking out the moment I saw the cryptic teaser. I gasped the moment I heard Alvin and the Chipmunks sing “Funkytown” in their new CGI forms. Yes, my brother and I are just that big a fan of the iconic animated band. It may not look that way on the surface, but Alvin and the Chipmunks is different than most live-action cartoon adaptations. Since it was actually made by dedicated son of the original creator Ross Bagdasarian Jr. and his wife Janice Karmen.
Their voices weren’t used for the sort of pointless reason of having celebrity voices Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, and Jesse McCartney. Not that you’d even hear their voices sped up like that. Unlike the cartoon, Alvin, Simon, and Theodore are the actual size of chipmunks. With designs that are stylized, but still realistic. Their trademark personality traits are there, if a bit watered down. They’re first seen singing in a tree before entering Los Angeles during Christmas time. At least the movie doesn’t fabricate a new character since Dave Seville already acts as the human mediary. Jason Lee is just a bit miscast, has a lifeless romantic subplot, and a very weak “ALVINNN!!!” He may have been picked on for the role, but it’s really David Cross who steals the movie as sleazy record agent Ian.
Alvin and the Chipmunks enter Dave’s life and show off their singing talent. Singing “Christmas Don’t Be Late” (their real first song). Then they’re given decade appropriate hoodies instead of those weird robes, but Alvin is missing his trademark hat. The modern pop covers are obviously dated, the humor skews into poop & fart territory, and the plot is the same old “band let’s fame go to their heads” cliché. Yet I still enjoyed Alvin and the Chipmunks enough just seeing the band in real life and hearing some modulated favorites.
Followed by: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel