Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a good but not great presentation.
Sharpness was a moderate concern. Although most of the movie offered good delineation, sporadic instances of mild softness cropped up through the film. None of these examples became terribly distracting, but I thought parts of the flick lacked the expected clarity. No jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained absent. I saw no source flaws either during this clean presentation.
Like the first flick, Squeakquel went with a moderately subdued set of tones. Hues stayed on the natural side, with a mild golden tint to things. Within those parameters, the colors looked fine. Blacks were dark and firm, while shadows appeared clear and well-developed. The mild softness was the main reason this transfer fell to a “B”.
Not a lot of action came with the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Squeakquel, as the soundfield stayed pretty subdued through much of the flick. The forward speakers brought out general atmosphere as well as a few minor examples of movement. Elements wound up in logical spots, but they just didn’t have a lot to do. Music showed good stereo imaging, at least, and the surrounds added moderate ambience. A sequence that involved a remote control helicopter was the only one that threatened to use the back speakers in an exciting manner; the rest of the movie stayed low-key.
Audio quality was a bigger issue, as the movie suffered from drab sound. Speech seemed fine much of the time, but edginess occasionally interfered with some lines; this was especially noticeable during early scenes with Ian Hawke. Music seemed clear enough, though the score and songs didn’t come with much oomph; low-end was decidedly lackluster and close to non-existent. Effects sounded fairly accurate and distinctive, though they also didn’t pack a lot of punch. This merited a “C+” that bordered on a “C”; I wasn’t at all impressed with the soundtrack.
Apparently the suits at Fox assume – probably correctly – that film buffs won’t watch Squeakquel. This means a long roster of kid-oriented supplements, though some of them still offer interesting material. We open with ’Munk Music Machine, a collection of 11 songs from the movie. Actually, this feature simply allows the viewer to jump to the scenes in which those tunes appear. It’s a glorified form of chapter search.
For some behind the scenes info, we go to a subtitle track called Music in a Nutshell: Song Trivia. This mostly conveys details about the many tunes heard in the film, though it also throws out a few other details about cast and the Chipmunks franchise. The material aims at kids, so it tends to be pretty basic, but it still covers the topics well.
With the “A-l-v-I-n-n-n-n!!!” Album Maker, we can create a collection of Chipmunk albums. This feature allows you to decide on album cover, titles and other elements. I can’t say it did anything for me, but maybe the kids will like it.
A few featurettes follow. Munking History: 50 Years of Chipmunk Mischief, Mayhem and Music runs nine minutes, 21 seconds, and includes comments from producers Ross Bagdasarian and Janice Karman and actors Zachary Levi, Jason Lee, Chris Warren, Jr., Kevin G. Schmidt, Wendie Malick, and Anjelah Johnson. The show includes a few details about the development and evolution of the Chipmunks, but mostly it’s a big old mushy kiss aimed at the franchise. We don’t learn much here.
Meet the Chipettes goes for eight minutes, 37 seconds, and provides notes from Bagdasarian, Karman, and actors Amy Poehler, Christina Applegate, Justin Long, Jesse McCartney and Anna Faris. We learn about the origins of the Chipettes, their design, and the vocal performances. Some of this aims for laughs, but we get a smattering of interesting details along the way.
For the next piece, we find the six-minute, 21-second Rockin’ Rising Stars. It includes remarks from Bagdasarian, Malick, Johnson, the band Honor Society, executive music producer Ali Dee Theodore, music producer Jason Gleed, and singer Charise Pempengco. “Stars” introduces us to the various young musicians and tells us they’re awesome. It’s promotional fluff, that I must admit Pempengco does a pretty good impersonation of the various Chipmunks.
Music Mania lasts nine minutes, four seconds and gives us statements from Levi, Bagdasarian, Karman, Johnson, Malick, Lee, Gleed, Theodore, director of photography Anthony B. Richmond, choreographer Rosero McCoy, animation supervisor Chris Bailey, property master Emily Perry, assistant property manager Joy Taylor, costume designer Alexandra Welker, and visual effects supervisor Douglas Smith. The show looks at all the elements that came together to create the movie’s climactic musical performance. Like the disc’s other featurettes, this one tends to split between fluff and facts. Still, it has enough worthwhile content to merit a look.
With that, we head to the nine-minute, 40-second The Chipmunks: Behind the Squeaking. It features Johnson, Schmidt, Malick, Levi, Faris, Poehler, McCartney, Applegate, Bagdasarian, Karman, Long, Lee and actor Matthew Gray Gubler. This offers a mockumentary that views the Chipmunks as real. It offers minor amusement at best.
We dissect the filmmaking process in A-NUT-omy of a Scene. The two-minute, 39-second piece provides remarks from Lee, Bailey, Perry, Taylor, Richmond, Levi, Smith, Bagdasarian and Karman. The program gives us a quick overview of how the filmmakers use props to help the actors interact with non-existent animals. We already learn some of this in “Music Mania”, but I like the additional material available here, especially since we get good before and after shots.
More behind the scenes material pops up with the three-minute, nine-second Meet the Stuffies! and comments from Warren, Karman, Johnson, and Bagdasarian. This piece treats the stuffed stand-in Chipmunks like they’re real. Yeah, that’s a lame premise, and it’s not a very interesting clip.
For the final featurette, we find Shake Your Groove Thing! With Rosero. The eight-minute, 59-second reel shows choreographer Rosero McCoy as he and his dancers teach us how to step like the Chipmunks. I’ll leave it to others to try out the moves, but it could be fun for those with an interest in that material.
Five Music Videos pop up next. These include “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)”, “We Are Family”, “Shake Your Groove Thing”, “You Really Got Me” and “The Song”. The first three consist of nothing more than movie montages accompanied by music, while the other two are closer to real music videos – though dull ones. “You Really Got Me” mixes shots of Honor Society with film bits, and “The Song” does the same with hot chick singing group Queensberry. None of these are particularly interesting. (Note that the first three offer a Karaoke option absent from the last two.)
The disc opens with a few ads. We get promos for Avatar and Marley and Me: The Terrible 2s. Two more clips show up under Sneak Peeks: Tooth Fairy and Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back. No trailer for Squeakquel appears here.
A second disc offers a DVD Copy of Squeakquel. If you want to own Squeakquel but aren’t yet Blu-ray capable, it’s a good bonus.
Finally, a third platter provides a Digital Copy of the movie. This allows you to transfer the film to a computer or portable gadget. Krunk!
I didn’t expect much from Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, and yet the movie still disappointed. While the original wasn’t good, it provides substantially more entertainment than this meandering, moronic follow-up. The Blu-ray comes with generally good picture, mediocre audio, and a roster of fluffy but occasionally interesting supplements. I suspect the film will still entertain its target audience, but parents who’ll be forced to watch should try to find something better.