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Alvin And The Chipmunks 3: Chipwrecked (2011) Print E-mail
Saturday, 31 March 2012
ImageSnooze alert.  That’s right, here is the third installment in the Chipmunk series.  Funny enough, it wasn’t until I thought about the film (as much as that is possible) after it had ended that I even remembered that this was the third in the series and not simply a sequel to the first.  That is how unforgettable these films are.  As beloved childhood characters I expected more care to be taken with the series.

The Smurfs were given great treatment when it came to its feature film debut.  However, the Chipmunks seem to have been sluffed off as just a cash cow.  Given the reception of each Chipmunks film I am surprised that they keep making them.  It seems that it would be costing them money.

Sufficed it to say, there are plenty of terrible and mediocre critic and fan reviews of this film out.  So I am not going to bore you with how terrible I thought I film was.  It is everything that has been said and more.

One thing I will say about this film though, is that the one thing it has going for it is the chipmunk remixes of contemporary songs.  Unfortunately, the studio doesn’t seem to realize that, and they neglect to satisfy the craving, instead leaving us with snippets of songs here and there and some awkward mash-ups.

As for the Blu-ray release, the third installment lives up to its predecessors.  The video encode is lush and vibrant.  As has been my complaint with the video on the previous transfers, the video is too vibrant.  It sometimes leads to oversaturated colors are burnt fleshtones.  While this may be intentional, it is disturbing.  The films are shot use film and not digitally, so the CG elements are fairly noticeably.  While film grain has been layered over the CG chipmunks it is still readily apparent that the chipmunks are not part of the live-action footage.  Details have increased from previous installments.  The fur on the chipmunks is more defined and lacks any problems with artifacting.  Simply put, “Alvin And The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked” has a solid video encode that will probably captured young viewers with its eye-popping lushness, but for those that like a cinematic feel, you will not get it with this release. The audio is presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1 and is not as forgetful as I would like.  I don’t mean that in a good way.  The audio problems stem from the original design so it is hard to fault the audio transfer.  But since there are problems I will address them.  First, the music is terribly mixed.  The dynamics are flat, voices are buried.  The whole thing is overly compressed.  Not so much a problem in the first two films, but in the third film the chipmunk voices just don’t breathe through the music.  When it comes to final performance at the end of the film, I couldn’t even tell which song they were trying to cover because the lyrics were undefined.  So, naturally you rely on the beat.  Strike two.  The music has been compressed to a degree that is unfathomable.  The final song is some horribly weird mash-up between Lady GaGa’s “Born This Way” and Katy Perry’s “Firework.”  Not too mention, you sit through this stinker just to get to that final performance and it is the shortest segment of the whole film.  Very disappointing and very anti-climatic.  Aside from the worst music mixing, the surround channels are lacking in definition.  They seem to only carry bled audio at times.  The LFE channel is lacking as well, and it is uneven in its use.  For example, a volcanic explosion on the island has barely anything from the LFE, but then the next segment at the performance, and the music over the final credits, has bursting LFE signal.  Ummm, I think the designers need to go back and read what the LFE channel is all about.  Sound effects people, music not so much.  Essentially, the audio track is just a mess.  Many people will overlook the aural pitfalls, but as a sound designer, I cannot turn the other cheek.

There is nothing really captivating in the way of special features.  However, given the quality of the film, that is to be expected.  “Going Overboard With The Chipmunks” is a discussion on original chipmunk episodes.  “Munking Movies In Paradise” is a Hawaii location feature.  “Munk Music & Dance Machine” is a sing-along track.  “Everybody Munk Now” covers the salsa sequence.  “Alan Tudyk, Chipmunk Apprentice” is a voice coaching segment.  The Blu-ray also features three music videos, a couple Fox Movie Presents segments, extended scenes, and BD-Live exclusives.  The package also contains a DVD/Digital Copy disc.

“Alvin And The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked” is a wreck and should be avoiding.  Short of Simon/Simone, I don’t know how much kids are really going to enjoy this film.  The video quality is lush but the audio quality needs some big time help.  Skip it.

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