Blu-ray Review: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip

By , Contributor
The easiest thing in the world is to be curmudgeonly and beat up on a franchise like Alvin and the Chipmunks. It's unapologetically unambitious, relying on the perceived cuteness of its CG stars to carry it. The fourth film in the series, The Road Chip, is a sturdy-enough slice of kid-oriented entertainment that probably shouldn't be judged under too harsh a critical lens. It's inoffensive, tuneful, and has its heart in the right place. In other words, kids (and families) who enjoyed the previous films are likely to be satisfied.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip is currently available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

In this outing, Dave (Jason Lee) has a new steady, Samantha (Kimberly Williams-Paisley), whose teen son Miles (Josh Green) doesn't get along with Alvin (voiced by Justin Long), Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler), and Theodore (Jesse McCartney). When the Chipmunks find an engagement ring, they fear Dave is planning to take his relationship with Samantha to the next level. Not wanting Miles as a step-brother, they resolve to disrupt the proposal.

Along the way, the Chipmunks wind up on the no-fly list thanks to an overzealous air marshal (Tony Hale), Dave produces music by pop singer Ashley Grey (Bella Thorne), the Chipmunks perform pop hits like "Uptown Funk"—oh, and the Chipettes eventually factor in as well. Basically, director Walt Becker (Wild Hogs, Old Dogs) throws just about anything at the wall in hopes of enough sticking to get us through 90 minutes. The musical sequences are pretty spiffy, the Chipmunk animation is as competent as in previous films, and kids will certainly sit through it. 

alvin and chipmunks road chip BD (307x380).jpg Fox's Blu-ray offers a good 1080p transfer of Peter Lyons Collister's cinematography (this is actually Collister's first Chipmunks since the 2007 original). Fox went all-out with a DTS-HD MA 7.1 surround mix that shows off all the music, including Mark Mothersbaugh's score and all the pop tunes the Chipmunks perform.

The Road Chip is loaded with a bunch of bite-sized special features, designed to keep short-attention spans happy. "Road Chippin' Through Georgia" might be the most interesting featurette (in terms of 'behind the scenes' footage'), but at five minutes it doesn't do much. There are a few other featurettes of roughly the same length, with some even shorter pieces of a clearly promotional nature (including the two-minute "Bound for Georgia"). There's a dance tutorial, a montage of "Alvinisms," and a visual effects demo piece that shows us some of the animators' early reference reel. The Blu-ray package includes standard DVD and Digital HD copies.

For better or worse, based on the box office returns, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip might be the concluding chapter of the big screen adventures of Alvin. Young kids will want to take the trip.

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Chaz Lipp is a Seattle-based freelance writer whose focus is music and film. As “The Other Chad,” he has written for the online magazine Blogcritics since 2008. When he’s not writing, Chaz can be found trolling jazz clubs, attempting to find somewhere to play his sax (whether anyone wants to hear…

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