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The Alvin Movie
The alvin movie title card
Directed by
Rich Arons
Produced by
Ross Bagdasarian Jr.
Janice Karman
Rich Arons
Executive producer(s)
Steven Spielberg
Screenplay by
Ross Bagdasarian, Jr.
Doug Langdale
Sherri Stoner
Deanna Oliver
Jon Vitti
John Swartzwelder
Based on
Alvin and the Chipmunks
by Ross Bagdasarian, Sr.
Cast
Ross Bagdasarian Jr.
Janice Karman
Linda Cardellini
Brian Cummings
Tabitha St. Germain
Frank Welker
Music by
Ron Jones
Walter Murphy
Studio
Bagdasarian Productions
Paramount Feature Animation
Amblin Entertainment
Distributed by
Paramount Pictures
Country
United States
Language
English
Release date
December 7, 2018
Runtime
85 minutes
Rating
PG
Budget
TBD
Gross
TBD

The Alvin Movie is a 2018 traditionally-animated musical comedy-adventure film written by Ross Bagdasarian, Jr., Doug Langdale, Sherri Stoner, Deanna Oliver, Jon Vitti, John Swartzwelder and directed by Rich Arons. The film is produced by Paramount Feature Animation and Amblin Entertainment. The film is distributed by Paramount Pictures. The film was based off the 1961 series, The Alvin Show, the first TV incarnation of Alvin and the Chipmunks, produced originally by the now-defunct Herbert Klynn's Format Films. The film was released to theatres on December 7, 2018.

Synopsis

Dave Seville and The Chipmunks go off on a trip to New York City to rehearse for their list of new songs and perform them opening night on-stage.

Plot

The film starts where Dave is working on a new song. He plays a few keys to check, but is interrupted by Alvin playing his harmonica. Dave keeps getting interrupted, until he finally yells out "ALVIN!" and Alvin rushes to him with a reply, "OKAY!"

The next day, Dave received a letter from New York City to come and perform at the City Hall. He brings the Chipmunks along with him to do a show. While on their way to New York City in the car, Alvin and the Chipmunks sings Road Trip to the tune of Bicycle Built for Two. When they finally got to New York City, the people actually came for Daisy Belle's arrival, not the Chipmunks'. Alvin is infuriated with jealousy, but Dave suggests the Chipmunks that they should all be gentleman during their trip. Dave and the boys check into a hotel to stay in for the night. As Dave and the Chipmunks got in, they met up with Sam Valiant again after his last job was a private nose detective. As they went into their rooms after checking in, the boys get ready for bed. As they went to sleep, Alvin dreams about Daisy Belle stealing the show, which causes his popularity to be sunk. When he woke up, Dave tells the boys that they should get ready to rehearse for the list of songs they should sing at City Hall. Dave dials on the telephone for a royal order of room service. The massagers and cooks came into the hotel room to massage the three Chipmunks and Dave Seville. Dave is served bacon and eggs, Simon is served a bagel with strawberry cream on it, Theodore is served hard-boiled eggs, and Alvin is served a large cheese omelette with garlic.

After their nourishment and hearty, healthy breakfast, Dave insists that the boys should rehearse the first song "Christmas, Don't Be Late". When they started rehearsing, they were interrupted by a cat who came in their hotel room window during the middle of rehearsal. Dave wonders what the cat came from. When someone rang the doorbell, Dave comes to check and see who it is. Daisy Belle was at the door, explained why her cat came into the Sevilles' hotel room and asked politely if she could have her cat back. Dave gave the cat back to Daisy Belle. The Chipmunks were shocked that the cat was Daisy Belle's cat after all. Both Simon and Theodore fainted, but Alvin showed some backbone and asks angrily "Your cat?!". Daisy Belle explains to Alvin that unless he is nice to her, she will not let him take care of her cat. She says goodbye to Dave and leaves the hotel room. Alvin is starting to think that women are nothing but trouble, but Dave reminds him about what he told him and his brothers yesterday: to be gentleman. Alvin agrees to the advice in anger and went to his bed. Dave tells Alvin to come out of his bed so that they can continue their rehearsal, and Alvin does so.

Later, the boys take a break from rehearsal of their songs. Stanley the Eagle comes over to visit his friends, the Chipmunks. Alvin asks why he came here to New York City to come over and visit them. Stanley the Eagle explained it all through pantomime, and then gave the Chipmunks a hug. Alvin asks Dave if Stanley could join in their songs. Dave declines and reminds Alvin that eagles can't sing. Alvin points out that Stanley could still make music with them, even though he cannot sing.

At night, the Chipmunks are about to make their appearance on TV. As they got there, Daisy Belle came in first before them since ladies should always go first. Alvin was shocked of when people adored Daisy Belle more than the Chipmunks. Alvin is prepared to get rid of her, but Dave stopped him just in time. He told Alvin that they should be gentleman during their trip and mistreating a lady would be considered the wrong thing to do. Alvin understood Dave and let Daisy Belle have all of the glory. The Chipmunks went back to their limo sadly. Dave was about to get them out to show their faces on TV, but the limo already drove off with them, much to Dave's dismay. Later, the Chipmunks sunk into a deep depression at a local bar drinking root beer and Stanley the Eagle was with them. Alvin tells the group that they are all washed up and that they should give up their music careers. Simon insists that there should be some way to get their fans back, but Alvin replies sadly that things will never be the same. He got on stage and starting singing The Fool with the chorus girls, including Simon and Theodore as backup singers. After the song ends, Simon convinces Alvin that there is still hope for the Chipmunks and that is performing all of their songs on television. Alvin said while looking weary, "You're right, Simon. You're always Simon." Simon replies, "Close enough, Alvin." The three Chipmunks believed in each other and went off happily.

The next morning, Mrs. Frumpington came to visit the Sevilles. She told Dave that there is going to be a singing contest on TV. Dave was thinking of entering the Chipmunks into that contest, and assured her that if the boys win the singing contest, the audience will have the chance to fall in love with the Chipmunks again. Mrs. Frumpington then leaves the room as she said "good bye" to Dave. Dave then tells the boys the news that there is going to be a singing contest and the Chipmunks are very excited about the idea. Dave then tells the boys to practice their songs in their room. Alvin and the others agreed to do so.

As the boys practice their new song, Clyde Crashcup and his faithful lab assistant, Leonardo, dropped by to see the Chipmunks. Crashcup heard about the contest and wondered if he could add special effects to their performance. Alvin and his brothers spoke about it in private, and Alvin told Crashcup that they have agreed with the idea of special effects. Simon and Theodore also knew that they haven't used special effects in their performances, and became interested in it too. Clyde was pleased with their agreement and drew up a new special effects machine that can create effects, such as explosions, dynamite, pyrotechnics, and dust clouds. After he explained it to them, the Chipmunks were pretty hep to the new use of special effects. But Simon stopped for second thoughts on what if Dave would have been very uncooperative with the special effects. Alvin insists that they shall use it in their performances and see how it plays out. Theodore agreed with Alvin. Simon hated to admit it, but that would be a great idea.

At night, the singing contest was in full swing. While Daisy Belle was finishing her song, the Chipmunks are looking out the curtains backstage to see so many contestants. Simon still wondered if Dave wouldn't like their act with special effects, but Clyde told them that he will like it as long as the special effects spice up their songs. Then he told them "good luck" as the Chipmunks went on-stage. the Chipmunks started off with The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late), then Alvin brings out his harmonica as they go off with the next song, Alvin's Harmonica. As the special effects were in full swing, the Chipmunks do The Alvin Twist and the people joined in on the groove. Then they started to sing My Wild Irish Rose, as Alvin brought out a green-colored rose. Later, the three sing the song Chipmunk Fun while moving and shaking their bodies. Dave was terrified of what would affect with the audience. The Chipmunks then commence with Alvin for President, as Alvin wore a top hat representing the American flag. Then they sang The Little Dog, as they try to find Theodore's dog, until they found him on the bushes. The next one was the Swanee River, where the Chipmunks dressed up in their top hats and bow ties. And last but not least, Home on the Range where the Chipmunks are dressed as cowboys. The audience applauded and Dave realized that they actually liked the Chipmunks with their special effects. He then scolds the audience for applauding the show, claiming that the show is an example of pure trash. He seemingly embarrasses the boys, but as Theodore walks off he made a pratfall on stage that everyone sees, and they clap again, completely ignoring Dave, and making the Chipmunks one of the most popular people in New York City. Later, the Chipmunks come back from a celebration party, but thanks Dave for giving him the chance to express himself and making the show possible. Dave, feeling a bit guilty for the way he acted, admits he was not supportive of the special effects in their performances, and also admits that the show must have been good in the way that people found it entertaining.

The next day, the Chipmunks pack up their things with Dave and said good-bye to New York City. The people in New York City waved goodbye to The Chipmunks as they headed back to their home in Los Angeles, California in the car. As they drove back to their home in Los Angeles, Alvin immediately asks, "Hey, were you there when Theodore made a pratfall?" and the film ends.

In a post-credits scene, Clyde Crashcup is inventing the voice alternator and tests it on Alvin giving him a deeper voice. Alvin told the other kids, "Hey, fellas. What's up?" The other kids thought that Alvin sounded less helium-ish and sounded more like a normal person. Alvin was impressed with Clyde's invention and would treasure it as long as forever. Both Clyde and Alvin hugged each other afterwards.

Characters

  • The Chipmunks: the main characters of the film.
    • Alvin: the talented troublemaker of the group.
    • Simon: the intelligent realist and the most responsible of the group.
    • Theodore: the cute and innocent member of the group who likes to eat a lot.
  • David "Dave" Seville: the Chipmunks' adoptive father, songwriter and manager, Dave's patience is tested nearly every day by Alvin, usually to the point where he yells his trademark yell "ALVIN!!!". Despite all this, he loves all of his boys equally.
  • Clyde Crashcup: a scientist in a white coat who tended to "invent" things which had already been invented and whose experiments invariably failed. He usually invented by penciling the concept in air, with the picture becoming the actual object.
  • Leonardo: Clyde's lab assistant. He tends to whisper about some ideas in Clyde Crashcup's ear.
  • Daisy Belle: a girl who tends to be more popular and attractive than the Chipmunks. She lost the singing contest when the Chipmunks did their act with amazing special effects.
  • Mrs. Frumpington: a woman who informs Dave about a singing contest. She tends to misname Dave and the Chipmunks mostly.
  • Stanley the Eagle: the Chipmunks' pet eagle.
  • Sam Valiant: A fast-talking owner who established the Valiant Estate.

Voice cast

Soundtrack

A CD soundtrack for The Alvin Movie was released on November 17, 2018.

Production

Development

After the successful Alvin and the Chipmunks live-action films made by 20th Century Fox, Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. decided to make an all-animated film based on his father's characters. The Alvin Show was the Alvin and the Chipmunks first animated incarnation which came around in 1961 on CBS, and Bagdasarian decided to make a film based on the 60s' animated series. Several animators, such as Rich Arons, came around to work on the movie and tried their best to make it the same as the original 60s' incarnation.

A team of writers were called in to help as well. Doug Langdale (who had previously worked on Earthworm Jim, Project G.e.e.K.e.R., and Dave the Barbarian), Sherri Stoner and Deanna Oliver (both had previously worked on Animaniacs and Casper), Jon Vitti and John Swartzwelder (both had previously worked on The Simpsons) were all brought in to beef up the quality of the writing. There were some funny moments borrowed from the same shows they've worked on, such as Alvin doing the "EAT DIRT!" line but altered to "EAT LASERS!" for a reason. Alvin is a talking chipmunk and Earthworm Jim is a talking worm in a robotic supersuit.

Production on the storyboards took 2 to 3 months. Storyboarding and re-storyboarding the movie was a different matter completely. Artists such as Travis Cowsill, Neal Sternecky, Spike Brandt, Tony Cervone, Jeff Siergey, Keith Tucker, Curt Walstead, Sean Bishop, Llyn Hunter, Dave Krocker and Alan Gibson were working on the storyboards for the entire movie. Sometimes, if the scenes are not like they intended them to look from the original script, retakes will be called. In an interview by Ross Bagdasarian Jr., he said "There was a deleted scene from the movie. Alvin and Daisy Belle were brawling and beating each other up like it's Dragon Ball Z. We had to cut that out, because people were going to think that boys will hit girls and it will cause complaint letters to come flying right into the studio."

The animation of the film took 6 to 12 months. Bagdasarian hired many former Disney animators to work on the movie. The animators did follow some timing corrections and animation directing. The result was very fluid and lifelike, comparing to the original Alvin Show (which had limited animation). Eric Goldberg and Jamie Oliff, two of the animators from Disney did very amazing animation of the dancing sequences. There were also some corrections that had to be done before it was ready for editing.

Writing

The writing in this film stayed almost exactly the same as in the original Alvin Show. 90's pop culture references, in a similar manner to Earthworm Jim and Animaniacs, were intended to spice things up, but ultimately failed to do so.

Voices

Ross Bagdasarian Jr. and Janice Karman reprised their roles as Dave Seville and the Chipmunks for the film. Others, including Linda Cardellini and Tabitha St. Germain, were cast as Daisy Belle and Mrs. Frumpington. Brian Cummings reprised his role as Clyde Crashcup. Andrea Romano was the voice director for the movie.

Animation

Rich Arons was the main animation director and timing supervisor. He hired away many former Disney animators to work on the movie. The result was full traditional 2-D high-quality hand-drawn Disney-like animation. It really lacked the usual limited animation style used in the original Alvin Show, because of its lavish budget. John Kricfalusi and his team of animators from Spumtwo were commisioned to draw some layouts of the characters powerfully distorting their faces and bodies, which mixes in with the conservative, calmer, on-model style of The Alvin Show.

Music

The music in the movie was composed by Ron Jones and Walter Murphy. The music stayed close to the original Alvin Show as possible. Randy Newman used his rejected song he originally wrote for Disney/Pixar's Toy Story entitled The Fool, for the scene on stage at a bar where Alvin sings about how he used to be worshipped, but was turned down in favor of Daisy Belle being more popular than him in New York City.

Reception

The Alvin Movie had received mixed-to-positive reviews. Critics praised for the animation and humor, while others had criticized for the use of 90's pop culture references and "ruining" the image of the original Alvin Show. The film didn't play well at the box office (even though the animation, songs and humor are the only ones to be praised for), and was considered to be Bagdasarian's second box office failure, after 1987's The Chipmunk Adventure. Despite all that, fans praised it for being true to The Alvin Show's art style and voices and its amazing storyline.

Home media

The film was released to DVD and Blu-ray on March 4, 2019, after its short run in theatres.

Tropes

See The Alvin Movie/Tropes

Trivia

  • This was the first Paramount Feature Animation film based on a TV series not to be distributed by Nickelodeon Movies.
  • Because the film was based on The Alvin Show, the Chipmunks reverted to their 60s' pre-Ruby-Spears era designs, even Dave Seville.
  • Most of the songs were recycled from 1958-60s' Chipmunks albums, which are archival recordings.
    • The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)
    • Alvin's Harmonica
    • The Alvin Twist
    • My Wild Irish Rose
    • Chipmunk Fun
    • Alvin for President
    • The Little Dog
    • Home on the Range
    • Swanee River
  • Bagdasarian and Karman were disappointed with the 90s pop culture references (when it was supposed to be 60s pop culture references), but the songs were pretty much the only things they liked in the film. They even liked Randy Newman's song The Fool, a blues song which was originally written for Disney/Pixar's Toy Story.
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