|The Chimpunk Adventure - Special Edition|
Written by Jason Flick
April, 9 2008
People probably though Ross Bagdasarian Sr. was crazy when he first created the famed chipmunk trio in 1958. Who would have guessed that 50 years later The Chipmunks would go on to star in one of the most popular and successful live action movies this past year. But this reviewer isn’t here to talk about the new film starring Jason Lee. I’m here to talk about the film that eventually gave way to the 2007 blockbuster. That’s right I’m talking about The Chipmunk Adventure.
The Chipmunk Adventure originally released in 1987 near the end of the TV series it was based off of. It was also the first full-length feature movie ever to feature both the Chipmunks and their counterparts, The Chipettes. Being a child of the 80’s, I grew up watching the cartoon series and even today I will still pull out some of my recorded tapes or store-bought VHS tapes and watch them. Back in the 80s when cartoons were there for fun, Alvin and the Chipmunks brought something cool and original to the living rooms of thousands of kids.
The Chipmunk Adventure starts with Dave Seville, the ‘munks guardian, setting off for a solo business trip to Europe, much to Alvin’s displeasure. After much pleading by Alvin, they are instead left in the care of Miss Miller the baby sitter that is about as absent-minded as they come.
While at the local soda shop, the Alvin and Brittany are playing an arcade game called “Around the World in 30 Day.” Sadly, Alvin looses to Brittany and, like only Alvin would, say that she wouldn’t beat him if it had been for real. Oh boy. Mush to their pleasure, Klaus and Claudia Furschtien, a brother/sister team of diamond smugglers running out of options; overhear the argument between the two ego-driven chipmunks.
They wager between themselves a million dollars that the Alvin can beat Brittany and vice versa in a hot-air balloon race. The rules are simple the first one around the world and back wins a $100k. Both Brittany and Alvin take the bait and soon Alvin is scheming of a way to get it past Miss Miller. Alvin, with the help of the bribed Theodore, tricks Miss Miller with a phony telephone call from Dave, and soon arrives at the residence of the smuggler duo.
Here, The Chipmunks and The Chipettes are given two different routes and a chest each filled with dolls made in their likeness. Their objective is to drop off on of their dolls in 12 different locations and pick up a doll of the opposite team in return. However unknown to the two teams, the dolls they drop off are stuffed with diamond and the ones they pick up are filled with cash for the diamonds.
The boys and girls head off to their separate destinations and are soon on an adventure beyond anything they could hope for. The Chipmunks first stop is in Mexico City while The Chipettes quickly run into some weather troubles near Bermuda as well as some trouble from one of the two INTERPOL agents assigned to follow them by the tipped off Inspector Jamal.
After that the Chipmunks are off to visit South America and Africa, visiting Machu Picchu, Rio de Janeiro, Angel Falls, Istanbul, and Venice. Viewers are given a bit lengthier look at The Chipettes’ destinations as they visit white cliffs of Dover, the Netherlands, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Germany, Switzerland, London, Rome (where they visit the Colosseum), and the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. All of their destinations can be seen in the “Off to See the World” song performance by both the Chipmunks and the Chipettes.
They then happen to meet up in Athens, and once again start an argument about who are the better rockers. The two rival teams then perform my favorite song in the entire movie “Girls of Rock N’ Roll” where they are almost seen by Dave. With that out of their system they head off once again on their paths.
Ross Bagdasarian Jr., the namesake son to the creator of the Chipmunks and his wife Janice Karman solely funded the production of The Chipmunk Adventure, with the revenue earned from the animated TV series as well as all the merchandise sold. Luckily for Ross, Disney had just had a commercial flop with the release of “The Black Cauldron” in 1985 and ended up hiring the animators that had lost their job because of it. The result as many of us know was a high caliber animated film. It sadly didn’t do so well on the big screen but, later became a cult classic on VHS.
The voice cast for The Chipmunk Adventure was done by none other than Ross Jr and his wife Karman. For those who don’t know already, these two provided the voices of Alvin and the gang for the TV series as well. Actors Susan Tyrrell, Anthony De Longis, Dody Goodman, Frank Welker (voice of Freddy Jones), Ken Sansom as well as Nancy Cartwright (voice of Bart Simpson) round out this cast of amazing cast.
As in many animated shows or movies there are always small goofs in production and this film is no different. However, I will not disclose what these are but I dare you to find them all. Everything from the storyline to the characters screams entertainment. It’s no wonder that the Chipmunks have survived for the last 50 years. This latest release of the film has been Digitally Remastered from the Original 35mm Film. When I put it up beside my trusty VHS copy I could definitely tell a difference.
Honestly I didn’t really catch on to that fact until several years later. A few notable pieces the movie I known for is the “Getting Lucky” piece performed by the Chipettes as well as the sad but, touching piece” My Mother.” The entire movie is also presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound.
As for special features there really isn’t any. The movie disc features Original Artwork from The Chipmunk Adventure. This actually shows a few scenes that were actually cut out of the film due to time and money issues. One such scene shows The Chipmunks being held captive by guard dogs in Russia. This rerelease of the film will cost you around $14-15 dollars at most places. I’m giving this category a 9, because of the added soundtrack.