It all began in the 60s with a novelty song, and it ballooned into a 3-decade-long craze. I speak of Alvin & The Chipmunks, of course. With the 1980s, the 'Munks were bought back to life, with significantly different looks and songs. They also gained 3 female counterparts, The Chipettes. Put together, they bought 80s music to Saturday-morning-cartoon viewers for quite a few years. When Hollywood came calling, this was the end result... "The Chipmunk Adventure".
It all begins innocently enough, with the group's manager/father figure Dave Seville packing for a trip overseas. Alvin, naturally, wants to go along...he always has been rambunctious. Dave says no, and tries to get him to understand that he'll be well cared for during the trip. Unfortunately, when your caretaker is the accident-prone Miss Miller, you start to feel a little worried.
Accompanied by Simon and Theodore, Alvin competes against Brittany (his Chipette counterpart) in a cafe's arcade on a game called "Around The World In 80 Days". Theodore asks why he's doing this, and Simon says "Because he feels this is the closest to world travel he's ever going to get". Not so fast, Simon...
Viewing the squeakers at the console are two chain-smoking, wine-swilling Eurotrashy creeps named Klaus and Claudia Furschstein. These "only-in-the-80s-could-they-exist" villains have an offer for the Chipmunks and The Chipettes. Simply put, they'll put them up in an around-the-world contest for the prize of $100,000, (a pretty sizable sum in 1987). Competing by balloon and seeing the world, with the promise of good money for the winner...what could be better? A lot of things, as the groups will find out.
Dialing up Dave in France, The Chipmunks, with the assistance of some recording equipment, get Dave to give them permission for the trip. After some faulty audio work by Theodore the next morning, the boys are on their way to the Furschstein mansion to board the balloon. Simon and Theodore have conscience attacks, but they have to be put aside when Simon almost drops from 50 feet above Klaus and Claudia's mansion.
In one of the side plots, a shady-looking fellow sends some men out to track down the Chipmunks and Chipettes for reasons to be soon revealed.
The first stop for the Chipmunks is Mexico, where, after swapping a Chipmunk doll for a Chipette doll, they end up in the middle of a fiesta, leading them to (of course) sing, as they party with Mexican citizens to the tune of "I Yi Yi Yi Yi I/Cuanto Le Gusta" (a song performed by, among others, Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters). The Chipettes, meanwhile, have crash-landed near a marina in South America. Boarding the boat "The Flying Surprise", they end up encountering a madman with a harpoon and a man-eating shark. They escape both, and swap a Chipette doll for a Chipmunk doll.
Klaus and Claudia, resplendent in a mansion that's a monument to the conspicuous consumption of the Greed Decade, are getting reports on the groups' progress, while at the same time, those reports are being leaked by their cook to the shady fellow from earlier.
To the musical number "Off To See The World" (an excellent original song), we see the Chipmunks and Chipettes swapping dolls in various locales, all the while avoiding weapon-toting thugs (why they're after the kids I've yet to say).
In a comedy routine that's (as one Internet critic put it) straight out of Abbott and Costello, Dave and Miss Miller talk about the boys and where they are. Due to the audio screw-up from earlier, Miss Miller closes the conversation with a deadpan "And Dave... get some rest!".
Now we come to my favorite part of the movie...the Chipmunks and Chipettes meet in Greece at a fruit stand. When Alvin claims he leads the best group, Brittany contests that point. To that end, the groups take to the Greek ruins for a smoking, show-stopping number entitled "Girls/Boys Of Rock 'N' Roll". The song has brilliant insturmentation, with excellent guitar work and synthesizers, as well as a red-hot saxophone solo. Getting back to their balloons, they narrowly miss Dave, who's also in Greece at the time as well.
Klaus and Claudia are still learning more information, but the bell will soon toll for the team. Following the Chipettes' trail, we see them avoid engagement to an Arabian Prince and a devouring by snakes, as well as the rescue of a baby penguin. Eleanor gets the idea to go off the path and return the penguin to his mother, thus leading into an emotional song entitled "My Mother (That's Who I Need)". It's rather poignant, especially to followers of the 80s TV series, who would know that the Chipettes started out in an orphanage. When the penguin is returned to safety, we go to the Chipmunks again. Somewhere in an overseas jungle, we find the group dealing with hostile natives (even going so far as to take the shirt off Alvin's back). They aren't exactly primitive...they wander around with ghettoblasters and they're very familiar with the works of Sam The Sham and The Pharaohs. This leads the Chipmunks to perform "Wooly Bully" before they're rescued from near-sacrifice by the Chipettes.
Klaus and Claudia haven't heard anything in days, and now all Hell is breaking loose. Their loose-lipped cook is kidnapped, and the airport is the setting for a final confrontation.
I've kept you in suspense long enough, so here's the hinging point...it turns out the Chipmunks and Chipettes are pawns in an international diamond-and-cash-smuggling ring. Upon this brutal discovery, they land at the airport to go face to face with the Furschsteins. Dave's arriving there, too...so is Miss Miller.
So, will the ring be destroyed? Will the Furschsteins go to jail? Just what does the individual who sent out the henchmen want, anyway?
There's only one way to find out... rent "The Chipmunk Adventure" for an exciting evening. "You'd better believe it... yeah, yeah, yeah!"
This is the closest a non-Disney animated project can come to perfect. The plot is suspenseful (in its own unique way), the songs are exciting, and the animation is of good caliber (It should be... Glen Keane, one of the animators on the project, would go on to do some great work for Disney).
I should warn you, though... this movie contains mild drug/alcohol content and slight violence.Notice any mistakes? Review
The movie is great all around. The songs and design are superb.
Definitely a product of its time...and good luck trying to find it on video!Our rating:
9.5 out of 10Review Written by John Edward Kilduff: Contact | More Reviews by John Edward Kilduff