The Chipmunk Adventure – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

As a long-time Chipmunk fanatic, I can’t properly review this movie in the typical sense that a critic would review a movie. This movie is too sentimental to me, holds too many fond memories, and has been a part of me for so many years; I can’t bring myself to critique it in a normal fashion. And honestly, who’s going to buy or even watch The Chipmunk Adventure who doesn’t already have the same connection with it as I do? There’s a brand spanking new Chipmunk Movie out for the newbies. The only people buying The Chipmunk Adventure will be the people like me who want to re-visit those memories and share them with the next generation.

When the Chipmunks (Alvin, Simon, and Theodore) are told by Dave that they cannot join him on his business trip to Europe, they seek solace in a video game at a nearby diner called “Around the World in 30 Days”. The Chipettes (Brittany, Jeannette, and Eleanor) join the boys in the diner and have a typical boys vs. girls discussion about who would actually win in a real race around the world. They are overheard by stuffy Klaus, his sister Claudia, and Claudia’s little dog Sophie and are offered the chance to really race around the world, all expenses paid. The first ones back would win $100,000 dollars. The two teams have to make several stops along the way to deposit dolls that look like the members of their team, and have to pick up a doll that looks like a member of the opposing team. In true Chipmunk and Chipette fashion, shenanigans ensue.

Created in 1958 by Ross Bagdasarian, the Chipmunks, an actual Grammy-winning music group, became so popular that they had a successful Saturday morning cartoon show in the early 60’s. The show was brought back in 1983 and ran from 1983 to 1990. During the height of the TV show’s popularity, Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. produced The Chipmunk Adventure. Luckily, the movie was going in to production right after the box-office failure of Disney’s The Black Cauldron and Bagdasarian Productions picked up the newly laid off animators for the movie. The result is extremely high quality animation for the family owned production company.

For those of you worried if this movie holds up over the years, if it still meets your expectations, worry not. While this new DVD release might be flawed in the visual quality (the DVD looks like I remember the VHS looking), I can assure you, you will not be disappointed. The music is just as great as I remember. Especially “The Boys and Girls of Rock and Roll,” the big musical number sung by both the Chipmunks and the Chipettes in Greece, and the song “My Mother,” which still makes me teary-eyed. Speaking of the exceptional music, this DVD release comes with a bonus disc – a copy of the soundtrack! Watching this movie for the first time as a grown-up, I did notice some mistakes in the animation and in the plot that made me laugh a bit, but they still didn’t take anything away from the experience of watching this movie.

The Chipmunks have been a tradition for several generations, with the youngest generation just being exposed to the newest in the Chipmunk legacy Alvin and the Chipmunks released in 2007. This is the perfect time to introduce them to the Chipmunks as you remember them with the newest DVD release of The Chipmunk Adventure.

Like I mentioned before, the video quality is not high quality at all. The movie looks like someone burned their old VHS copy to a DVD. It’s not even in widescreen. The sound quality is excellent though.

The best extra that this release provides is a second disc – the complete soundtrack for the movie! Songs included on the soundtrack that are not in the movie are “Weekend in France, Italy, England, Amsterdam, Greece…” and “Mexican Holiday,” which you’ll recognize as an instrumental heard in the film. This has made it’s way into regular rotation in my car.

The only special feature on the disc is a collection of original artwork from the production that you manually scroll through using your DVD remote.

The Chipmunk Adventure is one of those treasures from your childhood that stands the test of time and technology. If you missed out as a kid, now is the perfect time to get to know the Chipmunks.

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Paramount presents Alvin and the Chipmunks – The Chipmunk Adventure. Directed by Janice Karman. Starring Ross Bagdasarian Jr., Janice Karman, Nancy Cartwright. Running time: 76 minutes. Rated G. Released on DVD: April 1, 2008. Available at Amazon.com

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