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Alvin and the Chipmunks 3: Chipwrecked(2011)
Chipmunks ahoy! It's a tidal wave of toe-tapping music and unfurgettable fun for the whole family as Alvin and the Chipmunks return in their greatest adventure yet! While on vacation aboard a luxury cruise liner, Alvin, Simon, Theodore and the Chipettes can't help rocking the boat with their unique brand of 'munk mischief. But things get really squeaky when the gang winds up stranded on a remote island - and they soon discover their new tropical playground is not as deserted as it seems. Subtitles: English, French, Spanish. "Munk Music & Dance Machine", "Munking Movies in Paradise".
For more about Alvin and the Chipmunks 3: Chipwrecked and the Alvin and the Chipmunks 3: Chipwrecked Blu-ray release, see Alvin and the Chipmunks 3: Chipwrecked Blu-ray Review published by Casey Broadwater on March 28, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Director: Mike Mitchell
Writers: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger, Janice Karman, Ross Bagdasarian, Sr.
Starring: Anna Faris, Jason Lee, David Cross, Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jesse McCartney
» See full cast & crew
Alvin and the Chipmunks 3: Chipwrecked Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Casey Broadwater, March 28, 2012
Yes, there's a third Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, yes, it's called Chipwrecked--which is only marginally a better title than The Squeakquel--and yes, the franchise is now officially as stale as an opened box of forgotten crackers that's been sitting for years in some dark dank cupboard. And yet, this latest singing rodent adventure has grossed over $300 million in ticket sales worldwide, proof positive that the big studios will keep slinging out unimaginative "family" fare so long as parents keep schlepping their kids to the multiplex to see it. Now, I don't want to be the guy that rags on children's movies for being immature--there's definitely a place for juvenile goofiness--but I just think these kinds of films could be so much better. The best kids' movies stimulate the imagination and prompt feelings of awe and wonder and even a little fear; in contrast, these recent Alvin and the Chipmunks films distill the worst in pop culture, pitch-shift it until it's unbearably shrill, and wrap it in a pre-fab CGI package. Kids eat it up, but then again, left to their own devices, kids will eat dirt on the playground or cake for breakfast. They don't know any better. And Chipwrecked is very much the movie equivalent of cake for breakfast--all sugar and no substance.
This time around, adoptive dad Dave Seville (Jason Lee) has had the not-so-bright idea to bring the 'munks on a Carnivale cruise headed to the International Music Awards. Irresponsible Alvin (Justin Long), egg-headed Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler), and tubby, donut-eating Theodore (Jesse McCartney) share a first-class berth with their female doppelgangers, the Chippettes--Brittany (Christina Applegate), Jeanette (Anna Faris), and Eleanor (Amy Poelher)--and it doesn't take long for them to get in all kinds of trouble, crashing the casino and facing off on the dance floor against a trio of Jersey Shore rejects. When Alvin commandeers a ginger kid's kite on deck and takes his furry brethren parasailing, the string suddenly snaps, sending the whole gang out into the open ocean. Taking chase on a hang-glider, Dave and the chipmunks' longtime nemesis, Ian (David Cross)-- wearing a ratty pelican suit as the ship's mascot and "safety monitor"--also kerplunk into the water. At this point, most adults watching might reasonably wish for a U.S.S. Indianapolis-type scenario, with the chipmunks getting picked off one by one by teeming, blood-thirsty sharks. Alas, Chipwrecked owes more to Cast Away than Jaws.
There are Lost and Lord of the Flies parallels too, as the 'munks wash up on a mysterious deserted island and are forced to fend for themselves without adult supervision. (Cue the inevitable high-pitched cover of "Survivor," the Destiny's Child single.) The ensuing hijinks--and there are nonstop hijinks--are accompanied by a strong dose of Lesson Learning. Theodore gets over his fear of the jungle. The uptight Simon loosens up when he gets a personality-altering spider bite that transforms him into "Simone," a French-accented hero who sweeps Jeanette off her paws. And the ever-rebellious Alvin makes strides to be a responsible team player. Way to go, boys. What of the Chipettes, you ask? They're girls, so naturally their purpose in the film is ancillary; they exist to be adored or rescued or offer sassy remarks. The only other female character is the castaway Zoe (Jenny Slate), a downed UPS cargo pilot who becomes obsessed with a stash of pirate treasure hidden behind a waterfall, and who talks to a collection of sports balls she refers to as "The Others." At this point in the story, adults may wish for Lost's smoke monster to sweep across the island, wreaking unholy havoc. Alas, the only carnage comes in the form of an erupting volcano.
There's barely a story here; it's better to think of Chipwrecked as a hurricane of slapstick gags and tired pop culture/social media references. (Charlie Sheen's "#winning" and the "Double Rainbow" guy both get shout-outs.) Of course, this being a Chipmunks movie, you can expect several over-processed musical interludes, from LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" and Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair"--repurposed as "Whip My Tail"--to a Glee-style mash-up of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" and Katy Perry's "Firework." I'd advise parents to invest now in a good pair of noise- canceling headphones.
The famous voices behind the chipmunks are all-but-unrecognizable pitched up several octaves, but there's no such anonymity for the live-action actors, who have to slum through this dreck in plain sight. Poor David Cross probably got a sizable paycheck for his role, but he nonetheless told Entertainment Weekly that the production was "the most unpleasant experience I've ever had in my professional life." Ouch. Jason Lee kept his feelings to himself, but he looks pretty vacant here, going through the motions of pretending to talk with pint-sized woodland creatures who would be CGI'd in later. As for Jenny Slate, you might best remember her for getting fired from SNL for dropping the F-bomb in her debut episode, and I imagine she dropped a few more choice words when she first saw her dopey performance as Zoe on screen.
Alvin and the Chipmunks 3: Chipwrecked Blu-ray, Video Quality
Like it's predecessor, The Squeakquel, Chipwrecked washes up on Blu-ray with a 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer that's bright, crisp, ultra- colorful, and all-around easy on the eyes. Given the amount of CGI that has to be interposed into live-action environments, you'd assume these movies would be shot digitally, but they've all actually been 35mm productions. You'll notice an even layer of grain over every shot, and though it's not always seamless, it's clear that care has been taken to add back film noise over the CG inserts to make them blend better. The level of clarity in the image stops well short of stunning, but there's plenty of high definition detail on display, both in the textures of the actors' clothing and faces and the fur and costumes of the CGI chipmunks. (I seems to me like the image might be kept slightly soft intentionally so the 'munks don't stand out as much.) Not surprisingly--this is a kid's movie, after all--color is vivid and cheery, with the chipmunks' outfits popping nicely off the green jungle foliage. And while there are times when black levels seem a bit washed out, contrast is even-keeled, with no crushed shadows or overblown highlights. I didn't spot any blatant compression-related issues, either.
Alvin and the Chipmunks 3: Chipwrecked Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Let's set aside the fact that shrill, pitch-shifted chipmunk voices are unavoidably ear-grating. Otherwise, Chipwrecked's lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track sounds great, with some surprisingly beefy effects, frequent real channel engagement, and consistent clarity. I knocked The Squeakquel down a mark in the audio department for not using the surround speakers as often as it could've, but Chipwrecked mostly remedies that wrong. Along with ocean-y ambience--foghorns and seagulls, lapping waves and the crash of a waterfall--the rears broadcast all kinds of directional effects, usually related to chipmunk hijinks. Alvin swings on a vine through the space behind your head. A volcano blasts, sending chunks of rocky debris spraying in every direction. There are various swooshes and cross-channel movements. It's all handled well, and the effects have plenty of punch and depth. (Especially that erupting volcano.) And then, of course, there's the chipmunk-ified pop music, which sounds as good as it's going to considering how processed it is. My sole concern is that sometimes it's difficult to make out what the chipmunks are actually singing, since their voices are so thin and high and have a tendency to get buried somewhat in the mix. Otherwise, no problems here. The disc includes optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles, along with an English Descriptive Audio track and Spanish and French Dolby Digital 5.1 dubs.
Alvin and the Chipmunks 3: Chipwrecked Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Alvin and the Chipmunks 3: Chipwrecked Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Is Chipwrecked a cynical studio cash-grab with no raison d'etre beyond suckering families just looking for some fun, wholesome entertainment? Absolutely. And in most ways, it's a miserably pointless, bottom-of-the-barrel-scraping experience. But as always with this kind of film, it comes down to one question--will children enjoy it? And I'll tentatively say yes, providing they belong to the very young and undiscriminating 8-and- under crowd. Chipwrecked is shrill, over-caffeinated, and will drive most parents out of the living room with their fingers plugged in their ears, but its hijinks are non-stop enough to keep even the most ADD-afflicted kid occupied. And parents, console yourself with the knowledge that most kid movie franchises cap off at a trilogy. If you're lucky, there'll be no Alvin and the Chipmunks 4: Squeak 'n' Roll. (Knock on wood.) Recommended only for the littlest li'l ones and parents with noise-canceling headphones or a ready supply of cotton wadding.
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Alvin and the Chipmunks 3: Chipwrecked Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked Blu-ray - February 8, 2012
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will bring Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked to Blu-ray this March. The third installment in the Alvin and the Chipmunks franchise, Chipwrecked follows the adventures of the Chipmunks and Chipettes as they become marooned ...
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