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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Mike Mitchell
Cast:
Jason Lee, David Cross, Justin Long, Jenny Slate, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jesse McCartney, Amy Poehler, Anna Faris, Christina Applegate
Writing Credits:
Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger, Ross Bagdasarian (characters), Janice Karman (characters)

Synopsis:
In the third entry in the popular live-action/animated series, Alvin, Simon, Theodore, their guardian Dave (Jason Lee), old foe Ian (David Cross), and Chipettes Brittany, Jeanette, and Eleanor wind up marooned on a tropical island. Their adventure includes an encounter with a mysterious castaway named Zoe (Jenny Slate), a dangerous volcano, a buried treasure, and a spider bite that brings about an odd change in Simon. Also features the voices of Justin Long, Anna Faris, Amy Poehler, and Christina Applegate.

Box Office:
Budget
$75 million.
Opening Weekend
$23.244 million on 3723 screens.
Domestic Gross
$132.017 million.

MPAA:
Rated G

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 87 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 3/27/2012

Bonus:
• “’Munk Music and Dance Machine”
• “Going Overboard with the Chipmunks” Featurette
• “Munking Movies in Paradise” Featurette
• “Everybody Munk Now!” Featurette
• “Alan Tudyk, Chipmunk Apprentice” Featurette
• Music Videos
• “Fox Movie Channels Presents Growing Up Alvin” Featurette
• “Fox Movie Channel Presents In Character with Jason Lee” Featurette
• Extended Scenes
• “Promotional Fun”
• Sneak Peeks
• DVD Copy
• Digital Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Alvin And The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked [Blu-Ray] (2011)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 4, 2012)

Both 2007’s Alvin and the Chipmunks and 2009’s Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel raked in more than $200 million in the US. The inevitable third entry – 2011’s Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked - didn’t do quite as well, as it snared $97 million in the US.

Will that still be enough to ensure a fourth flick? Probably, and I’ll likely check it out on Blu-ray, though I’m not sure why. The first movie was passable entertainment but no more, and the second was a dull dud. I’d like to say Chipwrecked exceeded my expectations, but alas, it mostly just delivers more of the same.

Will that be enough to ensure a fourth flick? Probably, and I’ll likely check it out on Blu-ray, though I’m not sure why. The first movie was passable entertainment but no more, and the second was a dull dud. I’d like to say Chipwrecked exceeded my expectations, but alas, it mostly just delivers more of the same.

Dave Seville (Jason Lee) takes his chipmunk wards Alvin (voiced by Justin Long), Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler), Theodore (Jesse McCartney), Eleanor (Amy Poehler), Jeanette (Anna Faris) and Brittany (Christina Applegate) on an ocean cruise vacation. Inevitably, mischievous Alvin stirs up some trouble for Dave, and the human also encounters problems when he discovers former record label exec – and now sworn enemy – Ian Hawke (David Cross) on board the ship.

Inevitably, Alvin’s antics cause trouble. When he decides to parasail, the others come with him, and they end up flying away. Eventually they land on a deserted island and need to fend for their survival until rescue comes.

Dave sees this and gives chase, which leads to an entanglement with Ian and their own problems ensue. They also wind up lost at sea and land on an island. We follow all the various adventures as the different characters – animal and human – subsist in the wild.

After three films, I suspect we know what to expect from the Chipmunks movies, and the answer is “not much”. That’s especially true in terms of story. The first one came with a fairly logical natural arc, but the two sequels have seemed more like character bits cobbled together without much real narrative.

With its “deserted island” setting, that seems especially true for Chipwrecked. I’d guess that the story pitch was “Chipmunks lost at sea – shenanigans ensue” and the script didn’t say a whole lot more than that, as the tale lacks much to hold it together. It essentially delivers a whole bunch of little gags and not much else.

If the gags worked better, that wouldn’t be a bad thing, but they tend toward the lame side of the street. Actually, I must admit that some of the humans deliver mild chuckles. That’s mainly true from Cross – who was the first film’s highlight – and Jenny Slate, the stranded UPS deliverer the chipmunks meet on the island. Cross is amusingly sleazy as ever, and Slate brings a fun twist on the Cast Away model.

Alas, there’s only so much they can do. The film remains heavy on cheap chipmunk gags, few of which deliver even mild mirth. As usual, the film tosses in gratuitous jokes meant to appeal to adults – such as bizarre non sequitors that reference Sarah Palin and Charlie Sheen – but these do nothing than remind us of the flick’s lack of inspiration.

Could you do worse for family entertainment than Chipwrecked? Sure – it’s largely uninspired, but it’s not painful. Still, with so many more satisfying fare such as The Muppets out there, why bother with such mediocrity?


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus C+

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a consistently good presentation.

Overall definition seemed solid. A few mild instances of softness occurred, though I suspect that they were an artifact of the combination of humans and animated animals. Whatever the case, the majority of the flick looked accurate and concise. I noticed no issues with jaggies or moiré effects, and no edge haloes appeared. Source flaws were absent in this clean transfer.

Colors tended to be on the natural side, though they were semi-subdued. The hues offered fairly bright tones, though, and were satisfactory. Blacks seemed dark and dense, while shadows showed nice clarity and delineation. Nothing here dazzled but the image was more than satisfying.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it offered a low-key but acceptable mix. Some of the island sequences added a bit of pizzazz, however, as those scenes delivered moderate involvement. Nothing dazzling materialized, though, as the focus remained on the characters and not the situations. Music demonstrated good stereo presence and the track gave us reasonable immersiveness but little that stood out as impressive.

Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed distinctive and natural, without edginess or other problems. Music was peppy and full, while effects came across as clear and accurate. Again, this seemed like a good but unexceptional track.

A moderate collection of extras arrives here. Munk Music and Dance Machine lets you access any of the movie’s 17 musical sequences or run them as one long reel via “Play All” (19:13). You can also opt to run the reel indefinitely. In addition to the movie shots, we see an animated Chipette who demonstrates dance moves when appropriate. This is a cute feature but not one that I’d care to watch again.

Going Overboard with the Chipmunks runs seven minutes, 50 seconds and comes with notes from producers Ross Bagdasarian and Janice Karman, and actors Jesse McCartney, Justin Long, and Matthew Gray Gubler. With this show, we get some inspirations for the Chipwrecked story. This means references to – and scenes from – earlier Chipmunks programs that influenced the movie. Nothing earth shaking comes up here, but the piece is more interesting than expected.

For the six-minute, 43-second Munking Movies in Paradise, we hear from Bagdasarian, McCartney, Karman, Gubler, Long, director Mike Mitchell, visual effects supervisor Douglas Smith, costume designer Alexandra Welker, production designer Richard Holland, “Associate Chipmunk Hospitality Consultant Argyle McCardigan”, and actors Anna Faris, Jason Lee, Jenny Slate, Alan Tudyk, Amy Poehler, and Andy Buckley. “Paradise” examines sets and locations, though not from a particularly serious POV. Instead, it pretends that the Chipmunks are real actors – and difficult ones, too. A couple of minor notes emerge, but the program’s usually just a silly piece of fluff.

With Everybody Munk Now!, we find a seven-minute, 39-second piece that offers notes from Bagdasarian, Karman, Smith, Mitchell, music supervisor Julia Michels, choreographers Tabitha and Napoleon D’Umo, and actors Tera Perez, Sophia Aquiar, and Lauren Gottlieb. They discuss music and choreography as well as challenges involved with human/animation interactions. Despite the clip’s brevity, it packs a good punch, as it delivers a lot of good info about the subject matter.

Alan Tudyk, Chipmunk Apprentice lasts six minutes, 39 seconds and provides info from Karman, Tudyk, Gubler, Poehler, and Bagdasarian. This piece discusses new-to-the-cast actor Tudyk, mostly from a comedic point of view. It’s not especially enjoyable.

Three Music Videos appear. We find these for “Vacation”, “Bad Romance” and “Survivor”. These simply offer little compilations of movie snippets, so they’re pretty forgettable.

Another featurette called Fox Movie Channel Presents: Growing Up Alvin shows up next. It fills 10 minutes, 12 seconds with comments from Bagdasarian, Karman, and their kids Vanessa and Michael Bagdasarian. They tell us about the history of the Chipmunks, their evolution and their effect on the family. It’s a pretty lightweight piece, but it has some decent moments.

In the same vein, we find the five-minute, 12-second Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character with Jason Lee. We locate remarks from Lee as he chats about his character and performance. Like the disc’s other components, it’s not especially meaty, but it’s reasonably interesting and better than expected.

Eight Extended Scenes fill a total of five minutes, 11 seconds. With such short running times, one shouldn’t expect much from these clips. They add some minor bits but nothing much, though at least we get more from Jenny Slate and David Cross; they delivered some of the film’s highlights, so it’s nice to check out additional work from them.

Under “Promotional Fun”, we get a few elements. Survival Guide (1:59) and Rules (1:50) offer compilations meant to promote the film; neither’s especially interesting, but “Rules” is better because it includes some behind the scenes shots as well as unique material from Jason Lee.

A music video for “Jingle Bells” (0:34) is just another short collection of movie snippets. We also get a teaser and two theatrical trailers.

The disc opens ads for Ice Age: Continental Drift - which actually delivers a nearly six-minute “Scrat” short – and We Bought A Zoo. These also show up under Sneak Peek along with a clip for Mirror Mirror.

A second disc offers a DVD Copy and a digital copy of Chipwrecked. If you want to own Chipwrecked but aren’t yet Blu-ray capable, it’s a good bonus.

Three films into the franchise, one knows what to anticipate from a Chipmunks movie, and Chipwrecked lives up – or down – to expectations. It provides occasional amusement but suffers from a general lack of inspiration and cleverness. The Blu-ray gives us good picture and audio along with some decent supplements. If you already enjoy the Chipmunks, you’ll likely dig this entry, but I wouldn’t recommend it to those without a pre-existing interest in the series.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main