Two years ago, civilizations gathered to collectively cradle their shaking faces in their palms, as the never-interesting property of Alvin and the Chipmunks was rehashed into a CG-character driven flick. And, furthermore, one that banked over â€“ wait, $200 million? Really, America?
WIth those numbers, you knew a sequel was coming. And now we get Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squekuel, which qualifies as the single greatest subtitle for a film since last February’s Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li.
So what of this Squeakquel? Is it any good? Are the computer-animated characters believable? Does the movie actually squeak?
Hey, remember every bad sitcom about high school students? Did you like them? Well, if you did you’d be right at home with the Squeakquel, which, for reasons never really explained, has the Chipmunks enroll in West Eastman High (the name of which might be the most clever thing in the entire movie,) and endure all of the High School pressures that Television told us would happen daily – wedgies, swirlies, and soulless jocks who bully without reason – even though I never once experienced throughout secondary education. But if it happens in the movies, it must be true.
With the three guys in school, Alvin (the stud) is somehow discovered to hold a talent for athletics (seriously?) But then Theodore (the fat one) is sad because he feels like his family is breaking up â€“ what with Alvin joining the elite circle of Jocks, who love to make fun of the other brothers, Simon (the dork) and Fatty. Simon tries to cheer Porkums up, but when Alvin skips out on the Chipmunks’ concerts in the name of Football, everyone is really sad. Will they ever prevail in this ever-downward-draining spiral of loss? One can only assume that no, they won’t.
It gets worse when the Chipettes – three more singing, dancing and less importantly, sentient chipmunks – start to steal the spotlight away from Alvin, Simon and Louie Anderson. Worse yet is that the Chipettes’ manager, Ian, is the same guy that screwed the Munks over in the first film, or pre-Squeakquel.
(As a side note, as someone also named Ian, you don’t know true fear until you hear six chipmunk voices screaming your name over and over again.)
But I was taught once that movie review should never discuss only the positive or (in the Squeakquel‘s case,) the negative, rather a combination of both. So, in an effort to silence that woman’s voice in my head, here’s one thing I legitimately liked in the Squeakquel –
As a guy who’s pretty sick of computer animation showing up in more and more frames from every movie out these days (Avatar excluded,) the Squeakquel actually makes a pretty good case for its presence. Not only does the computer animation for Fatts Magoo and the gang look pretty decent, but it allows these three woodland creatures to scurry, swing and hop up and down in ways that traditional animation wouldn’t be able to match. If every use of computer animation felt this justified I wouldn’t have nearly as big a problem with its prevalence.
There you have it, the one nice thing I can say about the Squeakquel.
I could go on putting down the Squeakquel for several hundred more words, but what’s the point? It’d be like making fun of the slow kid in class for getting a D – yeah, it’s bad; but they’re achieving about all they were going for. I hesitate to call it bad just because there’s no way this movie was ever going to be good. Maybe if it had an extreme re-write, one where the jokes were designed to be clever or original to anyone with two digits in the number of years they’d lived.
So yeah, whatever. I might not have enjoyed the movie, but it might have been worth watching if only it gave the opportunity to use the word “Squeakquel” nine times in one review.