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The Chipmunks Go the Movies DVDs Reviewed: Funny, We Shrunk the Adults Daytona Jones and the Pearl of Wisdom Star Wreck

Alvin and the Chipmunks Go to the Movies: Star Wreck DVD Review

Buy Alvin and the Chipmunks Go to the Movies: Star Wreck on DVD from Amazon.com The Chipmunks Go to the Movies (1990) / Alvin and the Chipmunks
Show & DVD Details

Creators/Executive Producers: Ross Bagdasarian, Janice Karman

Writers: Ralph Sanchez, Dianne Dixon, Jack Enyart, Richard Merwin

Voice Cast: Ross Bagdasarian (Alvin Seville, Simon Seville, Dave Seville), Janice Karman (Theodore Seville, Brittany Miller, Eleanor Miller), Thom Watkins, Frank Welker, Dody Goodman

Running Time: 69 Minutes (3 episodes) / Rating: Not Rated (TV-Y equivalent)

1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Broadcast Ratio)
Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 (English); Subtitles: None; Closed Captioned
Original Airdates: September 17, 1988 - November 10, 1990
Suggested Retail Price: $16.99 / DVD Release Date: September 8, 2009
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5) / Black Keepcase

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Thanks to J.J. Abrams and his 2009 blockbuster, Star Trek is cool (again?). Certainly it's the coolest of the seven feature film subjects affectionately parodied in previously out-of-print episodes of "Chipmunks Go to the Movies", the eighth/final season (or, if you wish, short-lived spin-off) of long-running 1980s cartoon
"Alvin and the Chipmunks." Thus, Star Wreck is the title and feature attraction of this new DVD release.

The "Star Wreck" episode was actually one of three spoofs featured on the first "Chipmunks Go to the Movies" DVD all the way back in May 2007. Since then, that disc has been discontinued and Paramount has shown intent to release all thirteen of the marketable half-hour 1990 cartoons. In 2008, six of the episodes were released in two compilations. The number of in-print "Movies" episodes climbs to eight with this, as "Wreck" is now accompanied by Dick Tracy retelling "Chip Tracy."

Instead of including a third "Movies" installment here, the studio provides sixth season episode "Elementary, My Dear Simon." By 1988, still under its original title, "Alvin and the Chipmunks" had moved towards half-hour stories and spoofs of existing media. The Arthur Conan Doyle-inspired mystery may slightly predate its present company, but it's similar enough to fit in. And, with Robert Downey Jr.'s Sherlock Holmes movie opening on Christmas Day, it too has a major motion picture with which to draw parallels.

Captain Dirk (Alvin), Dr. "Moamz" McRoy (Theodore), and Mr. Speck (Simon) are aghast at seeing how Craniums react to a glass that doesn't match the rest. Most coppers would look the other way at illegal root beer, but not Chip Tracy!

For those looking to own the full "Chipmunks Go to the Movies" run (a relatively expensive goal to be carried out by an audience not directly targeted), here is the breakdown of what's now on what: Funny, We Shrunk the Adults holds (#1) "Back to Our Future", (#2) "Bigger", and (#13) "Funny, We Shrunk the Adults". Daytona Jones and the Pearl of Wisdom holds its title episode (#5), (#4) "Batmunk", and (#7) "Robomunk". (#6) "Star Wreck" and (#10) "Chip Tracy" appear on the subject of this review.
That only leaves (#3) "Kong!", (#8) "S.T.: The Space Traveler", (#9) "Irrational Buffoon's European Vacation", (#11) "Gremlionis", and (#12) "Sploosh" unavailable on DVD.

"Chipmunks Go to the Movies" didn't require an abundance of creativity to translate these major movies and universes into terms the Chipmunks and Chipettes could handle. At its laziest, the series basically recast the regulars characters as familiar heroes and villains, merely changing a letter or syllable. Even when the show is less than clever, though, it remains sufficiently entertaining. There are the pleasures gained from recognizing the story elements and personalities adapted. And even if they're removed from their trademark manners, the Chipmunks still show parts of themselves and offer a fun story plus one nifty cover of a pop song from the 1980s or earlier.

Here is a closer look at this disc's contents...

1. "Star Wreck(: The Absolutely Final Frontier)" (22:33) (Originally aired October 13, 1990)
At a sleepover at Nicholas and Alexander's house, the Chipmunks and their friends watch a movie outside. On the U.S.S. Booby Prize starship, Alvin is the irregularly-pausing Captain James T. Dirk, Simon is the logical Mr. Speck, and Theodore is Dr. "Moamz" McRoy. They meet the Craniums, a 2-parent, 2.4-kid alien family who believe that anything different should be sucked up with a vacuum cleaner. When the aliens take Theodore/"Moamz" prisoner, Alvin/Dirk and Simon/Speck set out to show them that everybody's different.
Songs: "Bad Moon Rising" (Creedence Clearwater Revival), "Red Alert" (original)

True to Theodore's own nature (and the Charlie Korsmo-played Kid of the 1990 film), trampish newsboy Kiddo has a big appetite in "Chip Tracy." Sherlock Holmes (a monocled Simon) tries to make sense of this fiddle, while Inspector Seville, a coal salesman, and Dr. Watson (Theodore) look on in the snow. (Don't worry, the pipe is just for blowing bubbles.)

2. "Chip Tracy" (23:06) (Originally aired November 10, 1990)
Alvin takes a break from long-distance "business" calls to portray brave detective Dick, er, Chip Tracy, the only one who will stand up to the big city's crime (racketeering includes cop payoffs, marbles, and -- gasp! -- illegal root beer). Chip tries to take down elusive and mysterious head honcho The Glove by targeting the Glove's goons, like Mumbles Grumbles, Flattop Flatfoot, and Pruneface Prune Whip. Also featuring here are Eleanor as Chip's longtime squeeze Bess Blueheart, Brittany as sultry lounge singer Breathmint Baloney, and Theodore as ragged newspaper boy Kiddo, whose headlines apparently predict the future. The episode plays out complete with the climactic twist from the Warren Beatty/Madonna flick.
Songs: "Real Wild Child (Wild One)" (Iggy Pop and Johnny O'Keefe before him), "It's Clothes That Make the Man" (original)

3. "Elementary, My Dear Simon" (23:34) (Originally aired September 17, 1988)
Simon introduces this special mystery episode and then stars in it as monocled ace detective Sherlock Holmes. Assisted by Dr. Watson (Theodore) and Scotland Yard's Inspector (Dave) Seville, Holmes tries to make sense out of a series of sophisticated break-ins resulting in only trivial thefts. The show quickly reveals the culprit to be one sinister, mustachioed Moriarty (Alvin), but you'll need to see this to figure out his big plans. This may differ from the contemporary regular "Alvin and the Chipmunks" episodes, but it's enjoyable and shows more invention than the "Movies" episodes that accompany it.
Song: "Homeskittlydoobie" (original)

James T. Dirk (a.k.a. Alvin Seville) tries to make this alien family get over its "Different must be vacuumed out of existence" philosophy in "Star Wreck(: The Absolutely Final Frontier)." Moriarty, Alvin's antagonist to Sherlock Holmes, gives his mustache a twirl to demonstrate his extreme levels of sinisterness.


True to their original design, the episodes are presented here in 1.33:1 fullscreen and Dolby Stereo sound. There are a number of minor nuisances, most of which probably date back to production (like awkwardly frozen frames here and there, fluctuating colors on a boat in "Chip Tracy"), but some of which the DVD can be blamed for (such as a dropout at the end of the first episode's theme song, and the lack of end credits on the same episode). On the whole, picture is not too sharp or clean, but it is about as good as you can hope for on such a small-time DVD.
Brightness varies in one scene, volume varies on the second episode from title sequence to show, and if you're looking for them, you'll find occasional wear and tear. But, of course, you won't find subtitles or foreign audio.


No surprises here. Paramount's streak of no bonus features on TV Chipmunks DVDs continues with this release. I guess with the way the title episode is advertised, we should be grateful it's accompanied by two others.

Like Paramount's other 2009 Chipmunks DVDs, this one loads with a slightly outdated general promo for the franchise, which can also be viewed from the menu's "Previews" listing.

The DVD's only menu reformats the cover art to fill the 4:3 frame. Inside the case, a double-sided insert promotes a quartet of other Chipmunk DVDs and, with "Star Wreck" imagery, the official website.

Just like the U.S.S. Enterprise, the U.S.S. Boobyprize is prone to throwing its crew members about upon enemy contact. The closing card on "Chip Tracy" makes a funny at high grosses breeding sequels.


Star Wreck is not the best Alvin and the Chipmunks compilation DVD out there and this is yet another release that's less than conducive to collecting. Unless you have a special fondness for these episodes or are commited to owning every Chipmunk DVD out there, you would be fine to skip or wait to find it cheap.

I can't help but think that Paramount continues to neglect the audience that would gladly shell out $20 for a complete "Chipmunks Go to the Movies" set on two discs. Most studios would probably give it that treatment, especially if they're going to put the money and effort into doing these 3-episode compilations anyway. With the slightest bit of thought, most potential customers must realize the value-to-cost ratio of such "bargain" DVDs is far less than those of more inclusive collections.

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Related Reviews:
Alvin and the Chipmunks Go to the Movies: Daytona Jones and the Pearl of Wisdom Funny, We Shrunk the Adults
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Reviewed September 17, 2009.

Text copyright 2009 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 1988-90 Bagdasarian Productions and 2009 Paramount Home Entertainment. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.