The Chipmunk Adventure

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The Chipmunk Adventure
Chipmunkadventure1987.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Janice Karman
Produced by Ross Bagdasarian, Jr.
Written by
Based on Alvin and the Chipmunks
by Ross Bagdasarian
Starring
Music by Randy Edelman
Edited by Tony Mizgalski
Production
company
Bagdasarian Productions
Distributed by The Samuel Goldwyn Company
Release date
  • May 22, 1987 (1987-05-22)
Running time
78 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $6.8 million[1]

The Chipmunk Adventure is a 1987 American animated musical fantasy adventure comedy film featuring the characters from NBC's Saturday morning cartoon Alvin and the Chipmunks.

The film, directed by Janice Karman and written by Karman and Ross Bagdasarian, stars the voices of Karman, Bagdasarian, and Dody Goodman, and follows the Chipmunks and the Chipettes as they go on a hot air balloon race around the world that is the cover for a diamond smuggling ring.

Plot[edit]

When David Seville goes off to Europe on a business trip, the Chipmunks, Alvin, Simon and Theodore are left at home with their babysitter, Miss Beatrice Miller. While the three are playing an arcade game of Around the World in Thirty Days with the Chipettes, Alvin and Brittany argue over which would win an actual race around the world, since Brittany beat Alvin in the video game. Diamond smugglers Claudia and Klaus Furschtein overhear the conversation and approach the children, telling them that they will provide them with the means for a real race around the world by hot air balloon, with the winner receiving $100,000.

After tricking Miss Miller that Dave wants the Chipmunks meet him in Europe, the Chipmunks and Chipettes meet at the Furschtein' mansion and are given dolls for the competition. In reality, the dolls being dropped off are filled with diamonds, and the dolls received are filled with cash, given to them by the buyers. The Chipmunks and Chipettes are unaware what inside the dolls. Also, the chipmunks are chased by two agents sent by Inspector Jamal of Interpol. Both teams begin their travels; while the Chipmunks go to Mexico City, the Chipettes are caught in a storm and Brittany comes very close to becoming eaten by a shark in Bermuda. Both teams eventually meet up in Athens, where Alvin and Brittany begin bickering. What ensues is a large-scale musical number ("The Girls of Rock and Roll") set at the Acropolis before they part ways in their separate balloons.

The Chipettes then travel on to Egypt, where they are captured and brought to a young Arabian prince. The girls eventually grab the dolls and escape just as Eleanor arrives carrying a small cooler. After learning that the cooler contains a baby penguin, they head to Antarctica and sing the song "My Mother". As the girls deliver the young penguin to its parents, they are attacked by Claudia's henchmen. Afterwards, they notice the torn Chipette doll lying on the floor of the balloon; Jeanette picks it up and diamonds fall out of it. Opening a Chipmunk doll, they find it full of dollar bills, and realize that the whole race was just a set-up to deliver the stolen diamonds. Realizing that the Chipmunks are likely in danger as well, they head off to find them.

Meanwhile, the Chipmunks are camping in a jungle near a native village while taking a shortcut. However, after Theodore goes missing, Alvin and Simon are taken captive by some local natives. They soon learn that Theodore is being worshipped as the natives' "Prince of Plenty". Alvin and Simon are quickly forced to wear loincloths and are made into Theodore's obedient slaves. After learning that they would become sacrificed, the Chipmunks are tied to stakes by the natives, hanging precariously above a pit full of crocodiles. In a desperate attempt to delay their own deaths, they sing "Wooly Bully," which pleases the natives and lasts just long enough for the Chipettes to rescue them.

The Chipmunks and Chipettes return to Los Angeles, where they are met at the airport by Claudia and Klaus. The two groups are forced into a car under the false threat of Miss Miller being kidnapped. Dave is arriving home to the airport at the same time, and hears Alvin's cries for help. Inspector Jamal runs up, identifying himself, and he and Dave begin to make a chase. While it at first appears that Claudia and Klaus will escape, they are accidentally run off the road by Miss Miller as she is heading to the airport to pick Dave up, who happens to drive up the wrong way towards them by accident. The diamond smugglers are arrested, and Brittany and Alvin argue over who really won the race, but Dave breaks up the argument and guides them to Miss Miller's car. Dave tells Alvin that he and the Chipmunks and the Chipettes have a lot of explaining to do. Alvin repeatedly attempts to explain the adventure, causing Dave to yell "ALVIN!" as the film ends.

Voice cast[edit]

Additional voices[edit]

Production[edit]

After the success of his animated cartoon series on NBC, Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. began developing a concept for a full-length feature film. Fortunately for Bagdasarian Productions, the box-office failure of Disney's The Black Cauldron in 1985 had led to the layoff of a number of Disney animators (such as Glen Keane, Dan Haskett and Dave Pruiksma), whom Bagdasarian promptly hired to work on his film. The result was extremely high-caliber animation.[citation needed] The film was planned for a Christmas 1986 release and was to be distributed by Paramount Pictures.

Bagdasarian and his wife Janice Karman decided to finance the project themselves, having generated so much revenue from the Alvin and the Chipmunks TV series. Their decision to work with several overseas studios led to major production delays which in turn caused Paramount to drop the distribution deal. By late 1986, production had fallen far behind schedule, and a shortage of time and money resulted in major cuts being made to the film. One deleted scene had the Chipmunks go to Russia.

Soundtrack[edit]

The Chipmunk Adventure: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by The Chipmunks and The Chipettes
Released May 22, 1987
Genre Children's music
Label Buena Vista
Producer Ross Bagdasarian, Jr.
Janice Karman
The Chipmunks and The Chipettes chronology
Songs from Our TV Shows
(1984)Songs from Our TV Shows1984
The Chipmunk Adventure: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
(1987)
The Chipmunks and The Chipettes: Born to Rock
(1988)The Chipmunks and The Chipettes: Born to Rock1988

The soundtrack of The Chipmunk Adventure was composed by Randy Edelman and performed by The Chipmunks and The Chipettes; Edelman also contributed songs to the film. Several songs throughout the film were performed by both the Chipmunks and the Chipettes. On April 1, 2008, the soundtrack was re-released as a bonus CD with the film's DVD.

Songs[edit]

  1. "Chipmunk Adventure Theme" - Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  2. "I, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi/Cuanto le Gusta" - The Chipmunks
  3. "Off to See the World" - The Chipmunks and the Chipettes
  4. "Weekend in France, Italy, England, Amsterdam, Greece..." - David Seville and the Chipmunks (heard instrumentally in the film)
  5. "The Girls of Rock and Roll" - The Chipmunks and the Chipettes
  6. "Flying with the Eagles" - The Chipmunks and the Chipettes (a shortened instrumental version of the chorus heard as part of a longer piece of music during the start of the race)
  7. "Getting Lucky" - The Chipettes
  8. "Mexican Holiday" - The Chipmunks (heard instrumentally in the film)
  9. "My Mother" - The Chipettes
  10. "Wooly Bully" - The Chipmunks
  11. "Diamond Dolls" - The Chipettes
Songs heard in the film but not on the album
  1. "Underwaterture" - Randy Edelman. Lengthy piece of music recorded for the underwater sequence. Unreleased on record.
  2. "Come On-a My House" - Dody Goodman. Unreleased on record. Sung briefly by Miss Miller.
  3. "A Matter of Fact" - Electric Light Orchestra. Recorded in 1986 by that band as source music for the film's "Wooly Bully" sequence. First released as the B-Side to the UK version of that band's "So Serious" single, four months ahead of the film's release. Unavailable in the U.S. until 1990 in its inclusion on that band's first box set, Afterglow.
  4. "Witch Doctor" - Dody Goodman. Unreleased on record. Sung briefly by Miss Miller.

Release[edit]

The film was promoted one year before its release, at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival.[2]

Though initially scheduled for Christmas 1986,[2] The Chipmunk Adventure opened on May 22, 1987 through The Samuel Goldwyn Company and Bagdasarian Productions. With an opening weekend take of $2,584,720, it ultimately grossed $6,804,312 in North America alone.[1][3]

Critical reception[edit]

In The New York Times, Janet Maslin commentated that the film is enjoyable for both parents and children.[4] In his Family Guide to Movies on Video, Henry Herx deemed the film a "charming, lighthearted diversion for the younger set", and remarked that it resembled "a musical revue of pop tunes".[5] Johanna Steinmetz of Chicago Tribune gave the film three stars out of four, stating that the inclusion of the minor characters (especially the villains) would "[keep] an adult viewer from insulin crisis."[6] In a critical review for the Los Angeles Times, Charles Solomon commented "listening to six little characters talk and sing in speeded-up falsetto voices for 76 minutes becomes a real test of the viewer's endurance." Solomon also said that the villains resembled those from a Ralph Bakshi film and did not fit with the world of the Chipmunks.[7]

In Siskel & Ebert & The Movies, Roger Ebert commented that the animation is slightly better than the TV series, but criticized the film's "dumb and predictable" story[8] while Gene Siskel criticized the plot for being right out of a Saturday Morning cartoon, especially through the film's introduction of the Chipettes.[9] Both Ebert and Siskel also criticized the plot and the chipmunks' voices, with Ebert comparing them to "fingernails on the blackboard".[10][11] Siskel and Ebert ultimately gave the film two thumbs down.[12]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on VHS by Lorimar Home Video in 1988, Warner Home Video in 1992, and Universal Studios Home Video in 1998. On May 23, 2006, the film was released on DVD by Paramount Home Entertainment digitally remastered from the original 35mm film and presented with 5.1 surround sound. A special edition DVD re-release of the film with a bonus CD (which is the same soundtrack disc) was released on April 1, 2008, which matches that of the live-action/computer-animated Alvin and the Chipmunks and another DVD volume of Alvin and the Chipmunks Go to the Movies.[13] On March 25, 2014, the film was released on Blu-ray for the first time.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Chipmunk Adventure (1987) - Box Office Mojo". boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved June 17, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Coburn, Marcia Froelke (May 18, 1986). "Bashes 'N' Cash Amid Fears of Clash; Cannes Fest Lives Up to Its Hot Image". Chicago Tribune. p. 10 (Arts). Retrieved April 12, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Weekend Box Office". The Los Angeles Times. May 27, 1987. Retrieved 2011-01-06. 
  4. ^ Maslin, Janet (May 22, 1987). "FILM: ANIMATED MUSICAL, 'CHIPMUNK ADVENTURE'". The New York Times. Retrieved October 22, 2017. 
  5. ^ Herx, Henry (1988). "The Chipmunk Adventure". The Family Guide to Movies on Video. The Crossroad Publishing Company. p. 54 (pre-release version). ISBN 0-8245-0816-5. 
  6. ^ Steinmetz, Johanna (May 22, 1987). "`Chipmunk Adventure` Circles Globe And Corrals Attention". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 26, 2017. 
  7. ^ Solomon, Charles (May 22, 1987). "'Chipmunk Adventure' Just So Much Hot Air". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 22, 2017. 
  8. ^ Ebert, Roger (May 23, 1987). "The Chipmunk Adventure (1987)". siskelandebert.org. Retrieved October 14, 2017. The animation in this movie is better than the Saturday morning TV assembly-line cartoons, but not by much, and the story's dumb and predictable from beginning to end...about giving Alvin a stolen jewelry caper that seems recycled out of a TV crime show; that's the problem. 
  9. ^ Siskel, Gene (May 23, 1987). "The Chipmunk Adventure (1987)". siskelandebert.org. Retrieved October 14, 2017. The whole thing of the girls suddenly launching into becoming a rock'n roll band is right out of Saturday morning TV...Be very careful about that because some studio might wanna use it [Ebert's comments] in the ads; this is just as bad as Saturday morning TV. 
  10. ^ Ebert, Roger (May 23, 1987). "The Chipmunk Adventure (1987)". siskelandebert.org. Retrieved October 14, 2017. I couldn't stand them [their voices] the first time I've heard them twenty years ago; I still can't stand them, they still haven't gotten any better and in this movie they really got...It's kind of like fingernails on the blackboard Siskel. 
  11. ^ Siskel, Gene (May 23, 1987). "The Chipmunk Adventure (1987)". siskelandebert.org. Retrieved October 14, 2017. I think that...they [their voices] are absolutely aggravating; I don't know that kids will think it's cute. 
  12. ^ Siskel, Gene (May 23, 1987). "The Chipmunk Adventure (1987)". siskelandebert.org. Retrieved October 14, 2017. The Chipmunk Adventure; they're whiny, we've hated them, the brainless story, and the cheap animation. Two thumbs down. 
  13. ^ "DVDizzy.com DVD Release Schedule - April 2008 Calendar". dvdizzy.com. Retrieved June 17, 2015. 
  14. ^ "The Chipmunk Adventure Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved March 24, 2016. 

External links[edit]