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Alvin and the Chipmunks Chipwrecked

Alvin and the Chipmunks (3): Chipwrecked (2011)
Director: Mike Mitchell
Cast : Justin Long, Jesse McCartney, Jason Lee

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Synopsis; Playing around while aboard a cruise ship, the Chipmunks and Chipettes accidentally go overboard and end up marooned in a tropical paradise. They discover their new turf is not as deserted as it seems.

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Watch Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked Full Movie: For as long as the Chipmunks can be milked to draw in the holiday crowds, the sequels will never stop. After all, the digital templates are there and done up to be recycled countless of times, and the live action characters just jolly well need not be there for things to work. Pop hits between the films serve as the highlights for getting the munked treatment, and while they do sound cute initially, eventually this novelty will soon wear off. Director Mike Mitchell, who sounded the death knell for Shrek with his Shrek Forever After, happened to do the same for Alvin and the Chipmunks in coming up with something so uninspired and clearly going through the motion.

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Watch Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked Full Movie: The first film as expected is the origin film, followed by the sequel which is more or less a mirror image of the first, except with the trio from the opposite sex known as the Chippettes. In the third film, with everyone – Alvin (voiced by Justin Long), Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler), Theodore (Jesse McCartney), Brittany (Christina Applegate), Jeanette (Anna Faris) and Eleanor (Amy Poehler) – all living under the same roof as Dave (Jason Lee) their surrogate dad/manager, you’d expect that perhaps things can get a wee bit more cerebral, but alas all we’re getting is a rehash of characterization not already seen in the films, and done countless of times in their animated series.

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Watch Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked Full Movie: Alvin is still being Alvin, Simon needs to chill and Theodore just needs to be cute. So goes for the Chippettes with vain Brittany, introverted Jeanette and Eleanor just makes a lot of clothes and costumes in this one, since they’re all stuck in an unnamed island (in Hawaii on location so it seems). What was to be a family cruise vacation turned out to be an abandoned island adventure, with Ian (David Cross) the chipmunks’ ex-manager and one time music executive on board as well as the nasty opposition (too weak to be called a villain or the antagonist), and Zoe (Jenny Slate), a woman stuck in the island for close to a decade, and exhibiting the very same signs of loneliness that Tom Hanks’ Chuck Noland did in Cast Away, except that she has more friends other than Wilson.

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Watch Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked Full Movie: Centering around the chipmunks’ fight for survival amongst themselves and with Zoe, as well as Simon and Alvin’s temporal transformation in character – one being French (don’t ask) and more carefree while the other getting all serious and responsible, the story plays out like an extended cartoon episode, with Dave and Ian on a quest to try and rescue their cash cows before something untoward get to happen to them, which in the story, is zilch given a low threat situation, most of the time. Nothing spectacular gets to happen in the film, and it runs like on a plateau without any highs or lows, and soon you’ll feel you may be better off looking at caged animals in a zoo.

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Watch Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked Full Movie: Which is a bit frustrating because the story’s written by both Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, who were also responsible for what I felt were some of the more intelligent animated films in recent years with their Kung Fu Panda and its sequel, having the right elements balanced in terms of story, characters, comedy, action and entertainment for both the kids and accompanying adults alike, but this effort seemed to be written without much heart put into it to cater for the lowest common denominator, and it shows. Granted they also did stinkers like Monsters Vs Aliens, but when you set the bar higher, that’s where you’ll be benchmarked against, and that’s where this proved to be a total Chip-Wreck.

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Alvin and the Chipmunks (2): The Squeakquel (2009)
Director: Betty Thomas
Cast : Jason Lee, Zachary Levi, David Cross

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Synopsis; Pop sensations Alvin, Simon and Theodore end up in the care of Dave Seville’s twenty-something nephew Toby. The boys must put aside music super stardom to return to school, and are tasked with saving the school’s music program by winning the $25,000 prize in a battle of the bands. But the Chipmunks unexpectedly meet their match in three singing chipmunks known as The Chipettes — Brittany, Eleanor and Jeanette. Romantic and musical sparks are ignited when the Chipmunks and Chipettes square off.

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Watch Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel Full Movie: I can honestly say the movie itself was only decent, I did expect better and this is coming from a huge fan of the chipmunks, dating back to the early 80’s when the cartoon series reined. I enjoyed the first 3D chipmunk movie, I watched it a few times and there wasn’t too much with it that I did not like. But this movie… it had me smile a few times, other times it kinda let me down because it did not live up to my expectations.

Watch Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel Full Movie: One of the BIGGEST disappointments to me was the limited interaction the chipmunks and chipettes had with each other throughout the movie. It certainly wasn’t like the old cartoons where they were all together getting into mischief, competing with each other, or just plain having fun doing whatever it was they did. It was always enjoyable watching Alvin and Britney going at it, while the other 4 tried to keep them out of trouble. In this movie their interaction with each other is very limited, and when they do interact, it’s mostly in depressing or angry situations. In the old cartoons, sure they squabbled, especially Alvin and Britney… but it was in a fashion that left you smile cause you know deep down they all cared. In this movie they seemed.. cold to each other, especially Alvin vs. Simon.

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Watch Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel Full Movie: Examples are when Alvin tries to warn Britney about Ian Hawk, Britney turns a cold shoulder to Alvin’s advice and ends up on the floor covered in food, angry at Alvin. Another example is a scene showing a depressed Theodore because of his brothers fought for a good portion of the movie, Eleanore comes over to talk to him. Just when you think she’s gonna cheer him up, the scene ends abruptly in my opinion. Last example is when Alvin misses the music competition and shows up late, Britney just looks at him all sad and says “BTW, I didn’t want to win this way” then walks away.. what the heck is that? There’s also the constant arguing and fighting going on with Alvin and Simon, and Theodore spends a good amount of his time being sad. I was not expecting some chipmunk love story where they all fall for each other and live happily ever after, but I did expect to see them all get along for more of the movie. The majority of the movie was about them fighting and distrusting each other, it’s not the image I remember from my youth.

Watch Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel Full Movie: I understand that the storyline was that Ian wanted revenge on the chipmunks, and didn’t want the chipettes to trust the chipmunks so they couldn’t warn them about who he really was. Simon and Alvin we’re fighting because Alvin was being his egotistical self, and Theodore didn’t like it. The storyline in theory was good; it’s the way it was executed that kinda killed it. It felt like they tried to do too much, and accomplished so little. It’s like the movie was just a bunch of short random scenes that eventually came together in some fashion, but never felt entirely complete. Again, I think I feel this way because you never really see ALL of the chipmunks together in this one, and it seems to focus on Alvin and Simon a lot more than the other four. Because this Squeakuel introduces the chipettes, by the end of the movie you feel like the chipmunks and chipettes never really got to know each other, then they all end up living together in the end?

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Watch Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel Full Movie: Besides the limited interaction with the chipmunks and chipettes as a whole, where was Dave? In a hospital bed almost the entire movie. Don’t get me wrong I’m not a huge fan of Jason Lee, but jeez why cut Dave out of almost the entire movie? He’s part of the Chipmunks franchise, and he made very limited appearances. Instead they put in some nerd cousin of David’s who wants to take no responsibility and play video games. Who is this guy? I don’t ever remember seeing him before, why take out Dave? I did start to kind of like him by the end, but still.. he was no replacement for Dave.

Watch Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel Full Movie: So there’s that, those are my biggest disappointments about the movie. Besides the flawed execution of the story, the limited interaction of the munks, and the lack of Dave.. it was enjoyable to watch. I can honestly say unless you are a chipmunk fan from the past, you probably will not like this movie. I am personally hoping for a 3rd movie just to correct the mistakes of this one, and carry on this wonderful legacy. I want to see all 6 munks running around, laughing and playing, and getting into trouble like the good old days.

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Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007)
Director: Tim Hill
Cast : Jason Lee, David Cross, Cameron Richardson

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Synopsis; In a tree farm, three musically inclined chipmunks, Alvin, Simon and Theodore, find their tree cut down and sent to Los Angeles. Once there, they meet the frustrated songwriter David Seville, and despite a poor house wrecking first impression, they impress him with their singing talent. Seeing the opportunity for success, both human and chipmunks make a pact for them to sing his songs. While that ambition proves a frustrating struggle with the difficult trio, the dream does come true after all. However, that success presents its own trials as their unscrupulous record executive, Ian Hawke, plans to break up this family to exploit the boys. Can Dave and the Chipmunks discover what they really value amid the superficial glamor around them?

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Watch Alvin and the Chipmunks Full Movie: It truly is a shame when cartoon hero’s of your childhood are made into Live action films, it really is, and this is a prime example. Rather than leaving the Alvin and the Chipmunks franchise alone and letting it end on the high note it did with Alvin and the Chipmunks meet the Wolfman, they decided that a live action version had to be done, and this just doesn’t meet the bar that the last animated feature left off.

Watch Alvin and the Chipmunks Full Movie: The first problem appears in the first 2 minutes, the Chipmunks design. I realise the idea of a live action film is to make them look realistic, but the problem is we don’t want to see Alvin and the Chipmunks in a realistic light, we always remember them as the almost childlike chipmunks of the 1980s with their long roll-neck jumpers and Alvin’s signature cap. The idea of separating fiction from reality is to make it look unrealistic, and that’s what the original series did well, made the Chipmunks look more personified and thereby more relate-able, here they just look like the rodents that chipmunks truly are so you can’t exactly relate to them.

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Watch Alvin and the Chipmunks Full Movie: Second problem is the fact that the film doesn’t seem to grasp each of their individual characters. The original series has Alvin as the mischievously egotistical one, Simon as the intelligent pillar of reason and Theodore as the cutesy and innocent one with a heavy appetite. Here, they all appear to be just Alvin, mischievous, egotistical and not really cute at all. The thing that also made the original chipmunks relate-able was the fact that they had individual personalities, rather than just one stereotype like this movie has. Although this does lend itself to some humorous moments within the film, they’re unfortunately few and far between and when they do show up you hardly notice them.

Watch Alvin and the Chipmunks Full Movie: Thirdly and probably the most important problem, the music. As well as having a critical overview on films, I have a critical overview on music, and this film seems to have no effort in giving Dave a chance to be the musical genius he was depicted as in the previous series, being the one who wrote their songs and oversaw their concerts. Also the music Alvin and the Chipmunks were more often than not known for was 50s Rock, 80s Rock, Symphonic Melodies and other Classic Tracks. Here, they just borrow from other artists and make either Rap or Hip Hop tracks, which to my mind requires little to no brain power to sing or make, just talking to the beat of a drum machine about one’s sexual experiences, but that’s beside the point. What was important was that Dave in the original was truly the music man, making the songs whilst sometimes borrowing from existing tracks, but at least the music was enjoyable and had something you could bounce to, here Dave doesn’t write one song nor does he show up that often, its more so the sleazy villain that does the role of what Dave would normally be accustomed to.

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Watch Alvin and the Chipmunks Full Movie: Overall, this film isn’t its best and though you may consider me to have set to bar really too high for this film based on the last feature length chipmunk film, it probably wouldn’t come close to the mark even if I lowered it. It’s got a story (to a point), the humour is there (somewhere) and at least Alvin is his usual up to no good self (at the cost of Simon and Theodore losing their personalities). As for the rest, sadly not my cup of tea.

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