Alvin and the Chipmunks is box office gold. Even if you yourself have not seen either film, you know 20 people who have. The first film brought in over $200 million dollars in the US when it came out in 2007, only to be surpassed by the Squeakquel with $220 million earlier this year. With a third film on the way in 2011, in the luxuriously priced 3D format, Fox absolutely has a winner on it’s hands. Even better, with the quick turn around for the sequel from theaters to DVD and Blu-ray, we now have the movie in our hands. So how does the film hold up in the home edition?
The Chipmunks series, now a franchise, is a good piece of family entertainment which, unlike many Disney films, tends to skew much younger. The little critters are ramped up and excited after celebrating a 50th anniversary, refitted with modern tunes and hip clothes. The Squeakquel picks up shortly after the original film left off, with the trio of Alvin, Simon, and Theodore living a life as international pop stars. When their famed leader / owner / father figure Dave (played by Jason Lee) gets injured, the singing rodents turn to David’s cousin Toby to hold the reigns.
As their life gets shaken up, the three boys are faced with the reality that they might not be the superstars they thought they were. How? They’re told to go to school like regular kids! As if that wasn’t bad enough, Ian (David Cross) is back to terrorize the Chipmunks, and this time, he’s armed with a powerful weapon: Brittany, Brittany, and Eleanor as the Chipettes! While you’d think they’d all get along without issue (I mean, they are the only animals in an all-human high school) the pair of singing groups ends up in a musical war in the school’s “Battle of the Bands” contest.
With the recent success of High School Musical, Glee, and a number of other audio-related projects, it’s no wonder Alvin and the Chipmunks has hit it’s stride with audiences. This film takes that baton and continues to run with it, bringing in a younger generation of kids to the field — perhaps a little too young for parents or even older fans, but as long as the kiddies are digging it, no one seems to mind.
However, that might not be such a good thing, as multi-layered films that appeal to various audiences have a much longer lasting appeal to them. Compared with the first film, the Squeakquel is a bit flat. The original had a wider appeal that, while not perfect, was able to adopt for various demographics — to make sure that kids, teens, and parents could enjoy it on at least some level. Despite some great efforts from the voice performances (which includes Justin Long, Amy Poehler, and Anna Faris, amongst others) the Squeakquel feels a bit forced, overall. But if the goal is simply to munch on some popcorn and spend the family time together, the film gets the job done – and, really, isn’t that what you were expecting anyway?
The discs also come jam-packed with a number of extras, including:
* ‘Munk Music Machine
* Music Mania
* Sneak Peek (including Avatar!)
* Munking History – 50 Years of Mischief, Mayhem and Music
* Meet the Chipettes
* Rockin’ Rising Stars
* Music Mania
* A-Nut-Omy of a Scene
* Meet the Stuffies!
* Shake Your Groove Thing!
* Music Videos
* The Chipettes – Behind the Squeaking: a pretend behind-the-scenes look at how difficult the chipmunks are to deal with