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The Chipmunk Adventure(1987)
Alvin has entered himself and Simon and Theodore in a hot-air balloon race around the world against the Chipettes to deliver diamonds for a group of diamond smugglers. The winners will collect a prize of $100,000. Kids and adults will enjoy this film made with musical numbers by the Chipmunks and the Chipettes.
For more about The Chipmunk Adventure and the The Chipmunk Adventure Blu-ray release, see the The Chipmunk Adventure Blu-ray Review published by Brian Orndorf on March 31, 2014 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Ross Bagdasarian, Jr., Dody Goodman, Susan Tyrrell
Director: Janice Karman
» See full cast & crew
The Chipmunk Adventure Blu-ray Review
Alvin should remain in the eighties.
Reviewed by Brian Orndorf, March 31, 2014
The Chipmunks today are not The Chipmunks of yesteryear. There was once a time when the characters weren't completely disagreeable, armed with fecal matter jokes and voiced by Justin Long. There were two previous phases of Chipmunk rule, the first beginning in the late 1950s, which gave birth to the omnipresent holiday tune, "The Chipmunk Song," and the program, "The Alvin Show." The second phase commenced in the 1980s, where the titular group returned to television with a distinct MTV inspiration, riding a pop wave of hits to the delight of Saturday morning cartoon warriors everywhere. Midway through the run, 1987's "The Chipmunk Adventure" was issued to multiplexes, hoping to cash in on a theatrical boom triggered by the surprising success of 1985's "The Care Bear Movie," which managed to out-gross Disney's sure thing, "The Black Cauldron." Suddenly, Alvin, Simon, and Theodore were prepped for big screen stardom, and while the effort didn't take as expected, "The Chipmunk Adventure" eventually acquired a considerable following through cable and television showings, finding the fanbase on a more intimate level.
Stressed-out guardian Dave Seville (voiced by Ross Bagdasarian) is preparing to leave on a trip to Europe, leaving chipmunk kids Alvin (Bagdasarian), Simon (Bagdasarian), Theodore (Janice Karman), Brittany (Karman), Jeanette (Karmin), and Eleanor (Karmin) with daffy babysitter Miss Miller (Dody Goodman). Hungry for travel, Alvin and Brittany compare their hot air balloon flying skills on a video game at a local restaurant, piquing the interest of the nefarious siblings, Claudia (Susan Tyrrell) and Klaus Vorstein (Anthony De Longis). In possession of stolen diamonds, the Vorsteins are searching for a way to distribute the goods to buyers around the globe without raising the interest of INTERPOL's finest, Inspector Jamal (Ken Sansom). Offering the Chipmunks and Chipettes a large cash prize for a race around the globe on hot air balloons, the gang commits to the chase, unknowingly passing around hot ice as they visit far off lands, engrossed in the thrill of this unusual competition.
"The Chipmunk Adventure" is not a prestige Disney picture granted a sizable budget to bring the television stars to an expansive cinematic realm. Creative team Bagdasarian and Karman keep the film modest, mirroring the original cartoon, even going as far as to build commercial breaks into the feature, keeping it accessible for future broadcast usage. However, the production didn't skimp on charm, funneling a surprising amount of effort into the highlights of "The Chipmunk Adventure," making sure to leave the faithful with a familiar display of slapstick and musical numbers, while taking the action around the world, visiting the four corners of the planet as the Chipmunks and Chipettes embark on the most reckless venture of their lives.
Honestly, outwardly creepy strangers offering money to random kids, rodents no less, only to entrust them with hot air balloons and dolls stuffed with diamonds, the whole thing fueling a madcap payment system that depends on precise navigation and pristine weather? And yet, somehow, it works.
Considerable credit for the success of "The Chipmunk Adventure" is due to the animators, some pulled from the mid-eighties downfall of Disney (including legend Glenn Keane). The visuals showcase extraordinary expressions and movement, instilling the movie with gobs of personality, with special attention paid the slink and disgust of the villains, who generate precise tension with their oily mannerisms. The Chipmunks and Chipettes also enjoy a boost in rockstar posture, with the film's centerpiece, an Athenian showdown number called "The Boys and Girls of Rock and Roll," really pushing the limits of style and performance, elevating what should've been a throwaway effort to something considered, making the visual elements exciting.
Vocal contributions also make a difference, with Tyrell and De Longis juicy as Claudia and Klaus, and power duo Bagdasarian and Karmen put their all into Chipmunk and Chipette attitude and mounting concern, making a few emotional beats matter with their attentive work. And for fun, Nancy Cartwright shows up for a scene as an Egyptian sheik, giving the Middle Eastern character a distinct Bart Simpson sound, revealing the origins of the character a few years before achieving icon status.
"The Chipmunk Adventure" takes the gang all over the world, visiting Mexico and African jungles, plunging into the ocean and reaching Antarctica to pay off a subplot that finds the Chipettes in possession of a kidnapped baby penguin. The picture keeps moving along, using montages and musical numbers to bridge between diamond exchanges, hoisting the Chipmunk sound up high with renditions of original songs and famous tunes such as "Wooly Bully." Of course, the music helps to distract from the iffy ethnic stereotypes that greet the travelers, but "The Chipmunk Adventure" is such innocent fun, there's no reason to find offense. Also easing the mood along is a wonderful score from Randy Edelman, introducing a symphonic sway to the work that adds immensely to its cinematic appeal.
The Chipmunk Adventure Blu-ray, Video Quality
The AVC encoded image (1.78:1 aspect ratio) presentation for "The Chipmunk Adventure" allows for an agreeable viewing experience, with a few trouble spots. Some mild filtering has been applied to manage the image, and while it's not a deal-breaker, mild haloing and softness is noticed. Pockets of noise are detected on occasion, but nothing causes much concern. As this isn't big-budget animation, limitations are perhaps more readily observed in HD, but the work is preserved with a clean print and bold colors, making primaries quite vivid and stable. There's no fade to contend with, sustaining the original richness of the global journey. Blacks are communicative, allowing for a welcome dimensional look that's emphasized by the thick-lined cartoon appearance of the movie.
The Chipmunk Adventure Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Perhaps aiming to dazzle young viewers with a full sound of Chipmunk harmony, the 5.1 DTS-HD MA sound mix is surprisingly buoyant, doing a fine job preserving the energy of the movie and its musical reach. Immediately striking is the deployment of pronounced directional activity, with distinct movement and placement that's managed with clarity and accuracy. Music and dialogue connect in this circular feel, with surrounds worked out to satisfaction, opening the scope of the effort. Dialogue exchanges are fresh and prioritized, keeping the chirp of the Chipmunks away from shrillness, while human characters retain a pleasingly lower register. Scoring cues are lush with distinct instrumentation, and musical numbers retain their synth-heavy sound, keeping up with an adequate low-end presence. Atmospherics are generally on point, selling the different stops on the tour with environmental changes. No hiss or distortion was detected.
The Chipmunk Adventure Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Chipmunk Adventure Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Unlike many of the viewers who will purchase this Blu-ray, this was my first viewing of "The Chipmunk Adventure," and I'm happy to report that I thoroughly enjoyed it, even laughing out loud during a sequence where the boys fumble an attempt to play back a spliced tape of Dave's voice, hoping to con Miss Miller over the phone before they take off on the balloon race. What's most striking about the effort is how appealing the mischief is, with Alvin's persistence mildly rattling Dave's existence. Cut to today, where the CGI Chipmunks could technically be prosecuted for their mean-spirited antics. "The Chipmunk Adventure" is a pleasant, entertaining remainder that once upon a time, not long ago, the Bagdasarian legacy didn't have to sink so low to have some rock-out rodent fun.
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