MFR Rating: ★
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked forms one member of the annual, Christmas ‘animated fluffy animal movie season’, along with companions Puss in Boots and Happy Feet 2. Extraordinarily, up until now I have managed to avoid the Alvin and the Chipmunks series but rest assured, this third installment requires no prior knowledge. Prior Alvin experience is in fact more likely a hindrance, as statistically you will be more likely to be in a mental institution.
The primary idea behind the Alvin and the Chipmunks series is actually quite clever. I remember learning in GCSE physics that kids can hear much higher frequency than adults, hence the decision to make the characters voices so excruciatingly high pitched. The kids can watch and the adults won’t be able to hear it, allowing them a relatively peaceful cinema visit. Wrong. Whoever was in charge of the sound design managed to make sure the pitches were intolerably high, but not quite to the extent it is out of the adult frequency range. The film was obviously never sound-tested to make sure it was silent to adults and that speaks volumes about the laziness that’s gone into this beyond-mediocre kids production.
Alvin and friends are apparently pop stars and goodness knows what kind of dystopia would allow such a thing to occur, but maybe it’s the same one that allows Miley Cyrus to cover Smells Like Teen Spirit? They’re on a cruise ship holidaying with their manager/human ‘dad’, Dave (Jason Lee). It’s all a bit creepy how Dave considers these talking chipmunks his kids, but we won’t go into that. The chipmunks are preparing to ‘perform’ at a music award ceremony but find themselves marooned off the ship and on a desert island.
From the absolute beginning it’s incredibly painful to watch, not just because of the horrendous voices but the lack of anything vaguely resembling charm rather than studio producers trying to milk parents for a dreadful franchise that lacks anything beyond inanity. This film plays so low and plays everything so incredibly safe. 6-7 year olds will consider it babyish and any kids younger will just spend the whole time crying for want of peace and quiet. It’s abysmal for the parents and the silence in the auditorium was absolutely deafening. Or have the inhumane frequencies messed up my hearing? But seriously, for a kids animation I can’t remember hearing a single kid laugh the entire time. How sad is that. Not a single kid.
The kids reviewed it right there. Save yourself, and for goodness sake, if you love your children, let them stay home and play with some Lego instead.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrekced is out now on 16th December in the UK and US. Running time: 87 mins. Certificate U (UK).
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Review by David Rank