ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE SQUEAKQUEL (Blu-ray Edition)
20th Century Fox | 2009 | 88 mins | Rated PG | Mar 30, 2010
Written by Jason Flick
April 4, 2010
International rock stars... Check. Awesome music selection... Check. Furry High School Students...double check. Alvin, Simon and Theodore are back in style in their new appropriately titled Squeakquel to give us more music and mayhem than ever before. I grew up with Ross and Janice’s beloved franchise when I was younger and it still today rates as one of my favorite cartoons of all time. One of my favorite things about the TV series was the creation of the Chipettes, which at the time I liked for nothing more than seeing more singing chipmunks on the screen. As I grew older I gained an appreciation for the music that was incorporated into the show, especially when The Chipmunk Adventure first came out.
When I first heard that they were making a second Chipmunks film I was definitely looking forward to seeing it despite my immediate first impression cringe upon hearing the subtitle for the film. But like anything featuring the Chipmunks, it grew on me and I often refer to it as simply “The Squeakquel.” Sadly I was never able to see the film in theaters for some reason or another, so when I got a hold of my review copy of Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel on Blu-ray I couldn’t wait to watch it.
Their second feature film kicks off to no surprise with a concert that after some really cool Alvin-antics puts Dave Seville in a French hospital. After a rather speedy talk with Dave, the Chipmunks are back State side taking a break from their stardom to enroll in High School. Along the way, mishap befalls Aunt Jackie and the Chipmunks are in the analog stick controlling hands of Toby Seville (Zachary Levi from “Chuck”) and let’s just say that things don’t get much better on their first day of school. Not only do they get in a fight in one of the funniest parts of the film but they also get roped into competing in a music competition to save their school’s music department.
Now while we never see the other performers, till the end of the film, you know that the Chipmunks will most undoubtly win. That is until they meet their newly enrolled counterparts, The Chipettes, lead by the conniving Ian Hawk. In classic fashion he lets his ego get the better of him and ends up letting down the school and more importantly his brothers. Brittany, and her sister Jeanette and Eleanor, have their own troubles to deal with as they start to see that Alvin’s warnings about Ian were correct.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel reminds me of the 1980s TV series that Ross and Janet created. On several occasions they would show the Chipmunks attending school and attempting to live a semi-normal life. There are also hints spread throughout the film of Alvin and Brittany’s trademark rivalry that fans of the animated feature and the show are accustomed to. The rivalry events in Squeakquel even reminds me of one particular episode where the Chipmunks and Chipettes meet in school for the first time.
The Alvin and the Chipmunks franchise as a whole has always found great ways to incorporate music and pop culture icons into their material and that is one of the things that I love about them. I laughed or chuckled every time some reference or another was mentioned. I absolutely loved the references to Green Acres and Silence of the Lambs in the film. I also really liked the witty dialogue that comes out of the Chipmunks mouths. The first live action Alvin film was a huge success so Ross, Janet and director Betty Thomas obviously had their work cut out for them to make the next film even better. Luckily I can say that they succeeded brilliantly.
I’ve always been fan of films that blend CG animation and real-life actors and environments, because if it’s done right you can almost believe it’s real. The people that brought the Chipmunks to life, with the aid of Ross and Janet, the first time around laid the groundwork that was much improved for the seqel. The facial expressions and body animation are much more fluid this time around. The furry detail on the Chipmunks is even better, but the Chipettes are what really make this film. The design of the Brittany, Jeanette and Eleanor are amazingly fresh but still have that recognizable look that we all know and love. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel features sharp visuals and great character designs presented in glorious 1080p High Definition.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel features some of the most popular songs of the last few years as well as some oldies. While the movie title has the “Alvin and the Chipmunks” in it the real stars are The Chipettes. The songs they sing, which include, “Hot N Cold” and “Single Ladies” are simply the best in the film. Christina Applegate, Amy Poehler, and Anna Faris are perfect for the roles of Brittany, Eleanor and Jeanette in the film. The whole presentation especially the musaical numbers all sound amazing in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel has a lot to offer in the value department. First off the Blu-Ray edition is packaged with a copy of the standard DVD version as well as a Digital Copy for those movie watchers on the go. I know mine hasn’t left my iPhone since I put it on. If that isn’t enough for you, there are plenty of other features contained on the 50GB Blu-ray disc. Viewers can watch the movie with the “Music in a Nutshell Song Trivia” enabled and learn things that you may of and may not known about the songs and actors featured in the film.
For those curious about the history of the Chipmunks you can watch the “Munking History” documentary, which was really cool and probably my favorite out of all of the featurettes. I also enjoyed watching how they created a scene between the real actors and the CG chipmunks. It has to take a lot of hard work to blend the real and fictional worlds together and it’s cool to see how they do it. There are a couple of features that were kind of wacky but perfect for younger audiences to view. For those that like the sing along to the music in the film you can check out the included music videos with optional Sing-Along lyrics.
I still am a big fan of the phenomenon that started over 50 years ago and that love hasn’t faltered. I found Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel to be highly addicting and an awesome sequel. Filled with memorable quotes, great pop culture references, high quality animation, and some of the coolest music to date, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel is a must have on Blu-ray.