Making the Grades
Our friends have squirrels in their neighborhood—live ones that scamper up trees and jump precariously from one limb to another. It only takes a few minutes of watching their daredevil antics to know that squirrels (or their chipmunk cousins) are not the kind of critters you would take on a cruise ship—even if they can talk.
So why songwriter David Seville (Jason Lee) decides to invite Alvin, Simon and Theodore (voices of Justin Long, Matthew Gray Bubler and Jesse McCartney) on a boat trip along with the Chipettes (voices of Anna Faris, Christina Applegate and Amy Poehler) is beyond reason. (As if there were anything reasonable about a movie with tiny talking mammals.)
Within hours of boarding the luxury liner, Alvin is responsible for flying the furry little friends overboard. Then they wash up on a tropical island where they meet another castaway, Zoe (Jenny Slate), who’s story about being an abandoned UPS employee is a direct pinch from the Cast Away storyline.
Unfortunately Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked likely has to give the nod to other scripts because on its own, there’s not much. The film is more like a long music video of popular songs including Lady Gaga’s Born This Way anthem and Katy Perry’s Fireworks. The plodding plot only begins to boil when an active volcano threatens to blow its top before the four-legged characters, as well as Dave and their former agent Ian (David Cross), can complete their rescue raft.
Alvin’s inability to obey rules, a few moments of peril, some song lyrics and a brief veiled anatomical joke are the biggest concerns parents may have with this animation. But a lack of content doesn’t necessarily equal an engaging story. This film is pure cartoon fluff that may appeal to very young audiences but will likely leave parents wishing they were on a Carnival cruise instead of watching the singing rodents.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.
How does Alvin’s disregard for rules affect everyone else? What does he learn about responsibility because of his decision?
How do the chipmunks describe themselves? How do we limit ourselves when we use one characteristic (such as beautiful, smart, responsible) to define ourselves? What does each of these little individuals learn about themselves while on the island?
How many times does Dave yell “Alvin” in this movie?