Originally characters from cartoons first created in 1958, Alvin And The Chipmunks are, as you may have guessed, a group of chipmunks that can talk and sing. Alvin’s the cheeky one, Simon the serious one and Theodore the impressionable, cute one, and together they have won Grammys for their novelty songs, as voiced by their creator Ross Bagdasarian (he sang and then sped up the playback to get the squeaky chipmunk sound).
They got their own movie in 2007, too, a mixture of live action and CGI animation, and it became a smash hit, making over $350 million worldwide. Part of the appeal, especially in the US, is that adults remember the cute critters from the TV specials from their own childhood so wanted their kids to see the movie, and the movie also appealed to parents looking for a film even very young children would enjoy. Hence, the story is pretty simple and aimed at the under sixes.
The tree that Alvin, Simon and Theodore live in is cut down and driven to Los Angeles. Once there, the trio meet struggling songwriter Dave (Lee) and reveal that they can sing, so he offers them a deal: they can live with him if they record the songs he has written. There’s a bad guy, of course, in the form of David Cross’s greedy record executive, but this is really inoffensive stuff peppered with chipmunk cover versions of songs like Funkytown, Bad Day and, for fans of the original TV series, The Chipmunk Song.
Is Alvin And The Chipmunks suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...