If superheroes, boy wizards and space voyagers can have sequels, why can’t chipmunks? Alvin, Theodore and Simon are back with – what else – a “squeakquel” to their 2007 outing, Alvin and the Chipmunks.
The story takes up where the last one left off. Dave (voiced by Jason Lee), mentor to the superstar ‘munks decides that it’s high time the little fellas went to school just like ordinary kids. But Dave has an accident and the chipmunks end up with his cousin Toby (Zachary Levi) instead. At their new school, the Principal (Wendie Malick) ropes them into a singing contest which could lead to a hefty prize, enough to fund her dream arts centre. Their competition? The Chipettes, three girl chipmunks who’re almost as cute as the boy trio! Their manager is the previous film’s bad guy, Ian Hawke (David Cross).
CGI (computer generated imagery) doesn’t add much to this very ordinary film, but its target audience, the under 10s won’t be complaining. The jokes are average, the humans get to contribute little or nothing and the singing is no big deal, either. A bright 11-year-old can see the plot twists coming from a mile away. Box office success though, is a shoo-in, given the reality that small children will lap it all up.
The movie has been roundly criticised by some reviewers for its blatant attempt to drag out the 49 year old franchise without giving back something worthy to its unsuspecting young audiences. Perhaps that’s being too harsh. It’s just that movies like Up, Kung-Fu Panda and the older Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc have raised the bar so considerably for animated films appealing to all age groups, that vapid fare dressed up with CGI doesn’t make the cut.
If you’re a parent of an eager 6-year-old, you will in all probability have no option but to revisit this “squeakquel”. Take heart, it isn’t that long and you can always reward yourself with extra popcorn!