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Dave, a down-on-his-luck songwriter, realizes the potential of a singing chipmunk pop act, and becomes an unlikely mentor/father figure to feisty Alvin, brainy Simon, and dopey Theodore. Meanwhile, the threesome causes chaos in his life, leading to plenty of fun, frenetic scenarios. When a devious record executive (David Cross) enters the picture, however, Alvin and the Chipmunks must deal with both the trappings of fame and their loyalty to the amiable, hapless Dave.
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Yes, I realize this is a kids movie, but I was still hopeless bored to tears watching it. There is indeed a cookie cutter formula being followed here, but the problem lies not in the formula, rather the execution of said formula.
The Story: Like I said, there are absolutely no surprises to anyone over the age of 10, and that’s pushing it. The moral superiority of family life overcomes the sacrifices one would make for superstardom and then the protagonists are rewarded…..with superstardom. We all know it’s a lie – one that many stage parents would never let their kids get away with. The problem isn’t so much in what happens, because we’ve all seen it already, it’s just not very interesting in how it’s carried out. I know the movie wasn’t meant for someone my age, but it still could take a chance at some adult in-jokes and a heightened line of action. There’s just a serial blandness that occurs here and it really couldn’t keep my focus.
Acting: I can’t say too much here on part of the acting. I’m really stuck holding the bag as to how Jason Lee and David Cross sunk so low. Two very talented actors showed up for one of 2 reasons – 1) a paycheck. Or 2) My kids are gonna love this. Either way, you are both amazing actors and should be ashamed of yourselves for not putting a little bit more into this. It feels like Lee is just reading off of cue cards the entire film and Cross doesn’t bother to implement his great comedic tone or timing to his delivery. The Chipmunks, well, it’s hard to judge a performance of a CGI character who’s voice is heavily altered. But it does work to some extent as the chipmunks are distinguishable by their voices alone – which could have been the opposite, but thankfully is not.
Directing: Was there directing? I couldn’t tell. Again, I know I’m hating on a kids movie, but damn it man, kids are smarter these days than we think. I was pretty on the ball at a young age and movies back then were way smarter than this. Let’s try for a little more than just a show up, point, shoot, talk and cut approach – feel me?
Cinematography: It really does look nice. I can’t argue that. It’s not too over stylized that it looks cartoony but it does have that very preppy – Disney movie “high school musical” feel to it. While I do grow tired of that look in movies aimed at younger audiences….this is a chipmunks movie so I really can’t fault it. It’s not like they were going to make it look like 8 Mile.
Production Design: Again, clear, brand new and polished. It makes the cartoony related world that we’re in and adds to the visual blend of nice colors.
Editing: Pacing is way off in this film. This goes hand in hand with the story as always, but man, oh man this was one of the longest 90 minutes of my life. As an editor, you have an outside responsibility to look at a film, decide what needs to be trimmed and then do it. It feels as though this aspect got the same treatment as the rest “oh it’s a kids movie. Just do….whatever. They’ll like it.”
Score: The music is Chipmunky. There’s no gray area here folks. You either can dig sped up versions of pop songs or it grates on your last nerve. Thankfully, I can enjoy the cartoons, the CD’s and the incarnations of this film.
Special Effects: For a kids movie, these CGI Chipmunks do look good. I’ll give them that. No, they’re not lifelike by a long shot, but they fit in the world and the lighting and design of them is very intricate. I believe the people who worked on this most likely have dealt with kids movies before and obviously care about what they were doing – unlike everybody else on this picture.
In closing: This movie was not for me. Nor any other critic. But my girlfriend loves it. Little kids watch it and love it. It’s just sad to see the reverse of intelligence in kids films. They can handle so much more and the nostalgia factor wears off fast. If you’re and adult, pop this one in and go do the laundry. The kids will either be totally wrapped up in it or sleeping because they were bored out of their minds like I was.