Alvin and the Chipmunks
Alvin and the Chipmunks is a 2007 American live action/computer animated musical comedy film directed by Tim Hill. Based on the characters of the same name created by Ross Bagdasarian Sr., the film stars Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney, with Jason Lee, David Cross, Cameron Richardson, and Jane Lynch in supporting roles. Alvin and the Chipmunks is the first live action/animated film starring Alvin and the Chipmunks since Little Alvin and the Mini-Munks was released in 2003, as that film features puppetry used for the Chipmunks and this film features computer animation used for them. It was released worldwide on December 14, 2007, by 20th Century Fox and produced by Fox 2000 Pictures and Regency Enterprises. A second film titled Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel was released on December 23, 2009.
After the tree they called home is cut down and shipped to Los Angeles, talking chipmunks Alvin, Simon and Theodore find a new home with songwriter Dave Seville (Jason Lee). Despite a rocky start to this new arrangement, Dave eventually discovers that the spunky critters have rare singing talent. When the three perform in front of record executive Ian Hawke (David Cross), he immediately signs them. Although the infectious group rapidly gains in popularity, their loyalty is soon tested.
- It has lots of adult humor and too many fart jokes in a family film.
- In one scene, Simon was forced to eat Theodore's poop by Dave to prove to him it wasn’t poop at all, which is just wrong. This is considered coprophilia.
- Dave hears the Chipmunks farting under a hat.
- The film even relies on some inappropriate jokes, such as the one in the film's climax when once Alvin and his brothers hear Dave calling for them, they tear off their outfits and leave themselves naked, which is very disturbing for younger viewers and even adults.
- Poor grasp of the original source material.
- Too much pop-culture references including films like The Matrix and etc.
- An excessive amount of product placement, like the Xbox 360, SpongeBob, Nickelodeon, VTech, Puma, DHL, Lucky Charms, UTZ, Van's Foods, Apple and Samsung products, Campbell's, Pepperidge Farm, Crayola, Quaker Oats, Snyder's, Barilla, among others.
- While the CGI for the Chipmunks isn't too bad, the other uses of special effects look rather outdated and uncanny.
- While the chipmunks were still wearing their trademark clothing, Alvin's design is wrong: he never wears a cap like he did in the 1980s show, until the end of the film. They also wear poorly made sequin outfits that are just nothing but sequins and that's it.
- Poor acting, particularly from Jason Lee as the chipmunks' guardian, with the exception of David Cross as Ian Hawke.
- Jason Lee pulls off Dave Seville's popular catchphrase "ALVIIIIIIIIIIIN!" poorly, as it sounds very watered down and not angry enough to sound like a normal loud scream.
- Claire Wilson is a pointless and unnecessary love interest, as she is never seen again nor even mentioned in any of the sequels that followed after that.
- The Chipmunks' redesigns are unnecessary and poor. Not only do they look smaller, but they look closer to rats than actual chipmunks, earning them the nickname "CGI Rats".
- A few of the characters aren't portrayed all that good compared to the source material, like Dave for being portrayed as rather unlikable, and Alvin not having much of a personality.
- The Chipmunks' high-pitched voices can become irritating to listen to from time to time. The voice acting is coming from adult actors, but it's hard to tell who is even voicing them due to them being sped up, making it pointless as Fox could have used anyone for the roles and speed up their recordings and it would still be the same.
- Lackluster and generic musical score by Christopher Lennertz.
- The Chipmunks mainly sing covers rather than original songs ("Funkytown" by Lipps Inc. and "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter) which seem more like rip-offs rather than using original songs in the film.
- While their trademark theme song known as "Witch Doctor" is featured, it doesn't sound anything like the original and sounds more like a rap version, which is a poor attempt at being hip and cool.
- Despite Simon being the smart one in the group, he doesn't seem to know much about the animal kingdom, even though he's one himself. When Dave asks whether all animals talk, Simon replies back saying "Well, I believe that fish have some sort of sign language". Not realizing that apes are the only animals to evolve and learn such a skill.
- Terrible direction from Tim Hill.
- False advertising: Simon and Theodore have hats and sunglasses in the poster, but in the movie, none of them are wearing it.
- Alvin and his brothers were excited when Dave mentions Christmas, but the chipmunks have been living in the woods their entire life, so it's impossible that they know what the holiday is that quickly in the film's plot. There's even a scene early on in the film that shows Theodore questioning what the "shiny things" on the tree were.
- A few cute and heartwarming moments.
- Some good jokes.
- There's a low number of pop-culture references compared to its three sequels.
- The chipmunks' clothing is faithful to their original designs, with the slight exception of Alvin's design.
- As mentioned above, the CG for the Chipmunks is pretty decent, despite the poor redesigns.
- The new version of "Christmas Don't Be Late", though modernized, is admittedly pretty catchy.
- David Cross's performance as Ian Hawke is one of the most hilarious and enjoyable parts.
- Unlike most live-action films, this film actually reveals what happened to the Chipmunks' parents.
Alvin and the Chipmunks was met with mixed to negative reviews from critics, audiences and fans. The film currently holds a 28% on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average of consensus that reads, "Though cutely rendered, Alvin and the Chipmunks suffers from bland potty humor and a rehashed kids' movie formula." On IMDb film scored a 5.2/10. On Metacritic, it has a rating of 39/100 based on 23 professional reviews.
Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film a two out of four and stated, "Jason Lee and David Cross manfully play roles that require them, as actors, to relate with empty space that would later be filled with CGI."
The film opened up at #2 on its opening weekend grossing $44.3 million domestically. It would later make a total domestic gross of $217.3 million. It grossed $144 million in overseas territories. Overall, the film made a worldwide gross of $361.3 million against its $60 million budget.
- Development on a Alvin & the Chipmunks film adaptation started in the mid 1990s when Universal Pictures made an announcement that they talked about the idea of a live-action Alvin & the Chipmunks with Robert Zemeckis, (The same director behind Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the Back to the Future trilogy and Forrest Gump) who was chosen to direct, but then it was scrapped in 2000 due to the characters creator's son, Ross Bagdasarian Jr, filing a class-action lawsuit against Universal Studios.
- Ross Bagdasarian Jr was to reprise his original role as Dave Seville, but due to his age, Jason Lee was chosen. Tim Allen, Jim Carrey, Ben Stiller, John Travolta, Chevy Chase and Bill Murray were also offered, but all turned it down.
- The original voice actors Ross Bagdasarian Jr & Janice Karman were to also reprise their roles as the chipmunks but were rejected for promotional reasons. However, Janice Karman's singing was still kept in the film.
- Brian Posehn, Patton Oswalt and Tom Cruise were all considered for Ian Hawk.
- Drew Barrymore, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Selma Hayek and Jennifer Love Hewitt were also considered for Claire Wilson.
- David Cross regretted being a part of the franchise.
- Movie released same day of very first Alvin and the Chipmunks song, Christmas Don't Be Late.
- It managed to have it's own tie-in game on the Nintendo DS, Wii, PlayStation 2, and Microsoft Windows.
- The SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Have You Seen This Snail" is used in the scene where Simon and Theodore were watching TV.