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Don't kid yourselves.
I didn't really go into this movie with any expectations one way or the other. On the one hand, I don't really care for James Rolfe's more recent AVGN episodes, but on the other hand, the script for this movie was supposedly written several years ago, during a time when his episodes were in my opinion better. So I decided to watch it, with a completely open mind, out of curiosity's sake more than from being a die-hard fan.
It was a noble effort and a great practical and technical achievement, and I respect James as a filmmaker and artist for all the work he put into it, but objectively speaking it just isn't that great of a movie. Not because of cheap practical effects, which I didn't mind; not because of the acting, which was mostly passable, but for two more important things: the script and the humor.
Plain and simply, this movie is not funny. I hardly cracked a smile through the entire thing. I think the one or two laughs I got were of the "Wow, they seriously included something that dumb??" variety. I also spotted multiple instances of jokes recycled from old AVGN episodes (e.g. "It's better to be p*ssed off than p*ssed on"), but even many of the original jokes were stale and lame. I actually cringed when they did the old "It sounds like people are having sex, but oh wait, they're doing something else entirely! Hilarious!!" bit. I suppose it could also be that my sense of humor is different now compared to seven years ago when I became an AVGN fan, but it all boiled down to an unfunny comedy.
The script in this thing has issues. The whole thing is a bit confusing an convoluted. There are several annoying and uncompelling "new" characters. The plot is too dense and should have been kept simpler. There's a scene early on where Cooper (AVGN's out-of-nowhere sidekick) talks about all kinds of insane thing he believes in, and we get a sequence illustrating it; this scene is jarring an awful and took me out of the film completely. There's no tension in any scene with the villains, not only because they're played up as goofballs, but because the heroes are inexplicably not afraid of having guns pointed at their heads. The romantic payoff at the end is unearned. Etc etc. All in all, it's not a tightly written story and could have used a lot more editing.
The only other thing I'll say is that I did not see this movie in theaters, I rented it and watched it alone. People have been saying that it's the kind of thing that's best seen in a group, and maybe that's the case, but by the same token, being a hardcore fan in a packed theater full of other like-minded people likely creates a blinding euphoria that hinders objectivity. I'd advise everyone to watch it again at home, and I won't be surprised if the novelty of the experience wears off and you come away with a different impression.
The Chipmunks have seen better days
I am normally a fan of Alvin & the Chipmunks, but the Universal direct-to-video movies (this and also "...Meet the Wolfman") are not high points in their career, and this one is surely the worse of the two. To be fair I haven't actually seen the whole thing... I started watching it on TV a while ago, but lost interest at a certain point and stopped. No other Chipmunk film has ever lost me that completely, not even the 2007 live action movie, of which I'm not a fan.
Plain and simply this one is boring, gimmicky, not particularly funny and contains no memorable music. Right from the beginning I had a bad impression, because Alvin and his brothers don't even appear until about 10 minutes into the film, which to me was an indication that more focus was being put on the clichéd Halloween-related elements of the story than on the Chipmunks themselves. The film suffers from poor writing and was just a bad concept overall.
A&TC Meet the Wolfman, another similar film released a year later, is slightly more enjoyable, but neither of them are the Chipmunks at their best. It will be unfortunate if these films are the last appearance of these memorable characters in traditional cartoon form.
Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007)
Pretty vacuous really
When I finally got around to seeing this film recently, it turned out to be exactly what it looked like to me at first glance... yet another Hollywood CG/live-action rehash of an established cartoon franchise. Nothing special or memorable whatsoever. Designed in every way possible to appeal to very young children and very immature adults, making heavy use of comedic devices such as farts, poo-eating, and the size of Theodore's butt.
This film would bother me a lot less if it weren't such an obvious step down for the Chipmunks. Even their characters I found were changed for the worse for this movie. While in the past each one of them had a very distinct personality, here they all behaved like immature, smart-alecky children with ADD, constantly bouncing erratically off the walls. It especially bothered me to see Simon portrayed in this way... He's supposed to be the smart, serious nerd who acts as the "straight man" to Alvin's crazy antics. But here he's pretty much a carbon copy of Alvin. One joke in the film even implies that Simon only *thinks* he's smart but really isn't... and honestly if I had never heard of the Chipmunks before seeing this film, I would have agreed.
In my opinion, this film is just another obvious cash-grab, and I'm more than a little sorry it was even made. The fact that it's a "kid's" movie doesn't excuse its flaws... To excuse a stupid movie that degrades a classic franchise just because it's for children is insulting to children, and any kid would deserve something more intelligent than this film.
Pretty standard direct-to-video fare
To start off, this is a children's film, and that being said, I was probably already getting too old for it the first time I saw it. Of course as a longtime fan of the Chipmunks, I still enjoyed it for the lighthearted script, clever dialogue and cute, dynamic characters that always made the Chipmunks a great cartoon series. My major complaint, however, is that this movie feels exactly like what it is: a lowish-budget direct-to-video deal.
To elaborate: The whole monster-movie parody idea was, in my opinion, a strange and unnatural direction to take this series, and it feels more like a gimmick than anything else. Plot-wise, the film's weakest point is probably its climax, which is obviously a shame. Last but not least, the music. You just can't have a decent Chipmunk movie without great, memorable songs, and on that point this film doesn't quite pass the test, as I found the songs generic, uninspired and repetitive... exactly what you'd expect in a cheaply made derivative work that tries (but never quite succeeds) to recapture the spirit of something older and better.
Overall, if I had to compare this movie to something, I'd say it's about equal to an episode of the '80s Chipmunks TV series stretched to movie-length with updated animation... in other words it's okay, but not great. If you're looking to see the classic cartoon Chipmunks (and Chipettes) in their prime, I recommend giving this a miss and watching 1987's The Chipmunk Adventure, which was a full theatrical release with excellent production values and a great original story.