Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (Blu-ray Combo Pack)
Directed by Mike Mitchell
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 1080p AVC codec Running Time: 87 minutes
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 French, Spanish
Subtitles: SDH, Spanish
MSRP: $ 39.99
Release Date: March 27, 2012
Review Date: March 27, 2012
Before the Chipmunks and Chipettes appear at the International Music Awards, David Seville (Jason Lee) takes his “family” on a cruise where, as usual. Alvin (Justin Long) just can’t help getting into trouble. His latest stunt finds him hang gliding against Dave’s stringent wishes and getting dragged away from the boat by an air current pulling the rest of his chipmunk brothers and sisters with him. Similarly, Dave sees it happening, grabs an adult-size glider, and he, too, along with the guys’ former agent Ian (David Cross), now a pelican-suited entertainer on board, gets pulled off the ship into the air. They all land in different places on an uncharted volcanic island. The Chipmunks make friends with Zoe (Jenny Slate) who says she’s been shipwrecked there for a decade, but she’s actually searching for a buried treasure. Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler) is bitten by a spider whose venom transforms him into the continentally suave and adventurous Simone (Alan Tudyk), and he stumbles on the treasure. But the volcano on the island is proving itself very unstable, and it’s only a matter of time before it explodes.
The formula for the films has always been the same: the boys get into lots of trouble but are always there for one another when the chips (or in this case Chipmunks and Chipettes) are down. Likewise, Dave may lose his temper and be pushed to the end of his rope, but the genuine caring and their specific family feeling always rises to the surface and saves the day. Thus, the only surprises these movies can offer us are variations on these familiar themes. This entry in the series offers beautiful tropical locations (some of it was filmed in Hawaii and some in studios in Vancouver) and with the introduction of the very appealing Simone, Simon’s alter ego, a new personality to add to the mix of familiar rodents. Of course, in order to stay current, writers Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger have tried to cram in some current touchstones. There are three Jersey Shore girls who have a dance off with the Chipettes to “Conga,” and there’s a very obvious allusion to Tom Hanks’ character in Cast Away with the soccer ball Wilson who is his only friend on the island. (Of course, Cast Away was long enough ago that many may not get the reference when Zoe gathers all of her “ball friends” around her to converse.) The movie is wall-to-wall music so expect to hear the boys and girls wailing away with popular tunes of the last few years including Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” and “Born This Way” and Katy Perry’s “Firework” just to name a few more obvious examples.
Characterizations of the humans in the cast are fairly simplistic. The villains like Ian and Zoe either aren’t too bad or get redeemed by their interaction with the boys and girls, so David Cross and Jenny Slate aren’t taxed too hard to give their sarcastic characters life. Jason Lee makes a welcome return full-time to the series, and his exasperated cry of “Alvin!” continues to echo Ross Bagdasarian’s original exclamation to good effect. The Chipettes are still weak links through no fault of Christina Applegate, Anna Faris, and Amy Poehler who voice them; they’re just not very interesting creations. But Justin Long is fine as Alvin, and Matthew Gray Gubler’s very distinct vocal cadence is just right for Simon. Jesse McCartney has less to do as Theodore in this outing. But Alan Tudyk completely steals the show whenever he appears as Simone. Always gifted with accents and vocal nuance, he’s a most welcome addition to the film during the half hour or so that his character exists.
The film’s theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 is faithfully replicated in this 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Though the first third of the movie isn’t as sharp as the final two-thirds (once they get to the island), there is plenty of detail to be seen in sand, rocks, and faces in the film’s second half. Color is nicely saturated with no fear of excess, and flesh tones are natural and appealing. The film has been divided into 24 chapters.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix uses the surround soundstage mostly for the onslaught of music throughout the movie. Ambient sounds only occasionally travel into the rears with much less swooping and panning than the visuals imply ought to be there. However, the mix gets the bass right with lots of power once the volcano erupts. Dialogue has been well recorded and though usually in the center channel, the mix contains a couple of instances of directionalized dialogue.
Unless otherwise noted, the video features are in 1080p.
The Munk Music and Dance Machine offers sixteen song and dance selections from the film which can be played with or without sing-along lyrics.
“Going Overboard with the Chipmunks” features married producers Ross Bagdasarian and Janice Karman. They discuss various episodes of other Chipmunk stories and how bits and pieces from them accounted for ideas for this new adventure. This runs 7 ¾ minutes.
“Munking Movies in Paradise” discusses the location shooting in Hawaii and Vancouver, told as a comedy riff about Alvin’s getting them tossed off the island and their having to retreat to Vancouver to complete the shoot. This runs 6 ¾ minutes.
“Everybody Munk Now” introduces us to the movie’s two choreographers who describe how the “Conga” number was filmed with the Chipettes having to be added later in CGI. We see behind-the-scenes footage as various variations of the rodents are positioned to give the human dancers something to focus on in this 7 ¾-minute featurette.
“Alan Tudyk, Chipmunk Apprentice” is the best bonus feature in the set: 6 ¾ very funny minutes of the actor describing how he prepared for his role as a rodent.
There are three music videos which can be watched together or separately. They are “Vacation” (3 minutes), “Survivor” (4 minutes), and “Bad Romance” (4 ½ minutes).
“Fox Movie Channel Presents “Growing Up Alvin” features producers Ross Bagdasarian and Janice Karman giving a history of the Chipmunks from his father’s original novelty tunes to the new cartoon series in the 1980s and these new film adventures.. They also introduce us to their two now-grown children who may very well continue the Chipmunk legacy. This 480i feature runs 10 ¼ minutes.
“Fox Movie Channel Presents In Character with Jason Lee” finds the actor discussing the plot of the film and his preparation for his role in the movie. This runs 5 ¼ minutes in 480i.
There are eight extended scenes which may be watched separately or in one 5 ¼-minute grouping.
There are three promotional featurettes featuring "Chipmunk Survival Tips" (2 minutes), "Rules for Behavior" (1 ¾ minutes), and a “Jingle Bells” music video (½ minute).
There is one teaser trailer and two theatrical trailers.
The disc offers the very funny “Scrat’s Continental Crack-Up Part 2” and promo trailers for We Bought a Zoo and Mirror Mirror.
The second disc in the set is the combination DVD/digital copy of the movie.
3.5/5 (not an average)
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked is a family film that’s not too hard for adults to take this time around. While there’s nothing terrifically innovative or fall down funny with this entry in the series, it’s a genial time passer, and the younger members of the family are likely to love it.