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Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
DVD Released: 3/15/2016
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 3/14/2016
If you've ever spent any time with children, then you know what an enigma they can be. Just when you think that you've gotten then figure out, WHAM! they go and change things on you. For example, children are incredibly curious and love to explore and learn new things. This usually amounts to getting into things that they aren't supposed to and having to be watched every second. But, conversely, children are also creatures of habit and crave routines and monotony. So, they want new stuff...but want it to be the same as the old stuff. This is why we see so many series in children's entertainment. The powers that be know that children will devour their favorite characters...until that character is no longer popular. That may be the only reason to explain why we have Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip begins an unspecified time after Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. As the film opens, Alvin (voiced by Justin Long), Simon (voiced by Matthew Gray Gubler), and Theodore (voiced by Jesse McCartney) throw a huge party, complete with Redfoo (how did they get him?), and, of course, get into big trouble with Dave (Jason Lee). Dave is dating Samantha (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) and the Chipmunks are quite distraught when they are introduced to Samantha's bratty teenaged son, Miles (Josh Green). They get even more distraught when Dave announces that he is taking Samantha to Miami, where he is going to work with a singer named Ashley Grey (Bella Thorne), and the Chipmunks find an engagement ring. Determined to not have Miles as a stepbrother, the Chipmunks decide to head to Miami to stop the proposal. But, traveling from Los Angeles to south Florida isn't easy when you're a Chipmunk.
I realize that I shouldn't nitpick with continuity in a movie like this, but Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip raises a lot of questions. I was under the impression that the Chipmunks were a successful and popular singing group. The size of the party in the opening scene and the presence of Redfoo (?!) certainly implied that they are doing well. And yet, throughout the movie, people act as if they've never heard of the Chipmunks. Of course, they also don't seem to be fazed by the existence of talking rodents, so we may be doing with an alternate universe here. Conversely, the Chipettes -- Brittany (voiced by Christina Applegate), Eleanor (voiced by Kaley Cuoco), and Jeanette (voiced by Anna Faris) -- are very popular and they are serving as judges on American Idol. At one point, Dave does mention something to the effect that he's banned the boys from performing, but that shouldn't cause the world to forget about singing Chipmunks, should it?
Anyway, that aside, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip is pretty basic stuff. If you've seen one Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, then you have a good idea of what is going to happen here. The Chipmunks will do something with good intentions, Alvin will come up with a scheme, said scheme will go wrong, Dave will yell "Alvin!". The difference (and I use that term loosely) is that it's a road trip movie in which the main characters' first choice of transportation doesn't work out and thus, they must visit various locales in an effort to reach their final destination. Of course, there has to be a villain of some sort, and here we have Tony Hale playing a frustrated Air Marshall.
Movies like Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip are essentially review-proof, as their target audience is going to find them one way or another. Having said that, for today's climate, this is fairly harmless entertainment which should be OK for kids of all ages. There is one moment in which a character is in danger which may frighten some of the smaller ones, but otherwise, this is free from violence and the sort of crude humor which can dominate kids movies. However, I must say that the scene in which the Chipmunks spray sparkling cider while "Turn Down for What" plays was pretty disturbing. The movie also carries a very positive message about blended families and acceptance which should resonate with some audience members. And I feel certain (and judging by the film's surprising box office) that there are sill those kids who find Alvin's hijinks hilarious.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip shouldn't taunt other movies with all of its Redfoo on DVD courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is sharp and clear, showing no noticeable grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look fantastic, most notably the reds, blues, and greens (!), and the image is never overly dark or bright. The picture is a smidge soft at times, but the depth is pretty good for a DVD. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. In the past, I've found that some family films goes light on the subwoofer effects, but it's obvious from the opening party scene that this one does not. We also get some good stereo and surround sound effects during crowd scenes, as there is an obvious amount of audio coming from the rear.
The Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip DVD contains a pawful of extras. "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Story So Far" (5 minutes) is simply a video montage of footage from the first three movies, with no narration. "Ultimate Playlist", offers three components -- "Music Machine" (20 minutes) is simply eleven music scenes from the film edited together; "Music Videos" offers three songs from various movies, which can be viewed with "Sing-Along" subtitles; and "Lyric Videos" offers music videos for five songs, which offers animated on-screen lyrics. "Bound for Georgia" (2 minutes) uses on-set footage to show how Georgia doubled for the various cities portrayed in the film. "Road Chippin' Through Georgia" (5 minutes) actually reuses some of the footage and comments from the previous featurette to again reinforce the use of locations in Georgia, but with more detail. Finally, we have two THEATRICAL TRAILERS for the film.
Review Copyright 2016 by Mike Long