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THE CHIPMUNK ADVENTURE

From the June 3, 1987, Deseret News

THE CHIPMUNK ADVENTURE — Alvin & the Chipmunks, the Chipettes; animated feature; rated G.

Imagine 75 or 80 minutes of listening to 33-1/3 – RPM records being played at 45, and you get an idea of what it's like sitting through "The Chipmunk Adventure."

And as to its target audience? Well, my 9-year-old became bored about halfway through, my 7-year-old began asking when it would be time to go home and my 6-year-old started playing marbles with his Reese's Pieces.

My 4-year-old seemed to enjoy it. Until he fell asleep.

Based on the Saturday morning cartoon, which is based on the old records from the late ‘50s and early ‘60s (remember their first one, that Christmas ditty called "The Chipmunk Song"?), "The Chipmunk Adventure" pads out to feature length what wouldn't look all that good on TV for 30 minutes.

Filmmakers, particularly animators, could use a lesson in the obvious: Just because you can get away with it in a 2-½-minute record or a half-hour television program (that is broken into every 10 minutes to pelt young minds with ads for cereal that has more sugar than the average cookie), doesn't mean it will hold up as a theatrical feature.

At any rate, "The Chipmunk Adventure" has to do with Alvin, Simon and Theodore getting into a hot-air balloon for an around-the-world race against the Chipettes – Brittany, Jeanette and Eleanor. They think the race is for a $100,000 prize (greed seems to be the main message here) but they are actually being duped by smugglers whose dolls-filled-with-diamonds they will drop off at various spots around the globe. Meeting ethnic stereotypes along the way.

But plot doesn't matter in a film like this. What matters is humor, artistic style and snappy tunes. "The Chipmunk Adventure" has none of these ingredients to any great degree.

Each time they land, our heroes (who are drawn more like children than animals) find the cities virtually deserted. At times it looks like an animated post-nuclear holocaust future. Actually, it's just cheaper not to have to draw crowd scenes.

To say "The Chipmunk Adventure" could take a lesson from Disney is to exaggerate its importance. This picture could take a lesson from "The Care Bears." And if you remember how I felt about "The Care Bear" movies, you know that's not a compliment.

Where are Chip ‘n' Dale when you need them?