In 2007, 20th Century Fox released the live-action Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, based on the venerable animated TV characters. Most movies based on TV characters are big flops but this one was a huge success. It grossed $217 million in North American box offices, $144 million overseas, and was the seventh highest selling DVD in 2008 — earning more than $101 million.
To no surprise, a follow up movie was ordered — 2009’s Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. Incredibly, that outsold the first one and grossed $220 million domestically and $224 million overseas. It’s sold more than $70 million in DVDs.
This weekend, the singing rodents are back for a third movie — Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked. It stars Jason Lee, David Cross and Jenny Slate. Justin Long, Amy Poehler, Anna Faris and Christina Applegate are among the voices.
What do the critics think of the movie? Just about what you might think.
TIME: “This is the third Alvin movie, and at this point I’m so beaten down by the squeakers, now numbering a half dozen since the Chipettes joined the family in movie number two, that I can only look for the positive. Consider the numbers – there is good cheer to be found in them: While it seems as though these movies come out every year, it’s actually only every other year. The first, Alvin and the Chipmunks, came out in 2007, The Squeakquel followed in 2009. You get next year off. Rejoice.” …
“But to get serious about Alvin for a moment, there are worse things for your kid to be into. Liking the Chipmunks seems to go hand in hand with a very lovely time in childhood, when silly things are innocently embraced. Enjoy it now, because when they hit the age of thinking Alvin and his relations are stupid, it will probably be about five more minutes before they decide you’re stupid too.”
The Washington Post: “I’m sorry, is this really necessary? Let’s be honest. Either you’re eagerly anticipating Chipwrecked, the third installment in the lucrative Alvin and the Chipmunks series, or you’ve opted to avoid these films like the plague. Nothing in this review will persuade a non-fan to unleash his or her inner ‘munk, and no opinion put forth could possibly dissuade the substantial Alvin audience – and I do mean substantial – from handing over hard-earned cash to learn which dated Lady Gaga hits the singing rodents cover next… Fans will consider it an early Christmas present. Detractors will be happy to sing a different tune.”
The NY Times: “There is chipmunk gambling. There is seductive dancing by Chipettes wearing only towels. There is a musical gag involving the lyric ‘whip my tail back and forth.’ How Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked ended up with only a G rating is a mystery… No swear words here; just harmless fun. A particularly nice touch: Some of the ‘munks change personalities as a result of a spider bite. Alvin the Responsible? Believe it.”
San Francisco Chronicle: “The story is a jumbled mess – the plot of The Smurfs looks like The Usual Suspects by comparison — but there is something in this film for absolutely everyone.”
LA Times: “With Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, I fear the furry singing sensations may have finally run completely aground. If only they were truly stranded on that desert island… The real tragedy is the music.”
What do you think? Have you seen Chipwrecked? What did you think of it?