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Alvin and the Chipmunks - Alvin's Thanksgiving Celebration - animated DVD / children's and family DVD review
Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 2 1/2 stars
Actors: Ross Bagdasarian, Jr., Janice Karman, Nancy Cartwright, Tress MacNeille, Frank Walker
Producers: Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. and Janice Karman   Distributor: Paramount
DVD release: 23 September 2008   Feature runtime: 89 minutes
(1 disc)
Format: Animated, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
DVD Features: Audio tracks (English - Dolby Digital Stereo), 4 episodes (A Chipmunk Celebration, Food for Thought, Cookie Chomper III, Dave's Getting Married)

I'll defend my having watched the animated Alvin and the Chipmunks series in the late '80s with the fact that I have a younger sister. Of course, my college roommate and I would sometimes crack out her Chipmunk Punk cover-song album for fun, and I can hardly blame Lil Sis for that. Regardless, my own pre-K and elementary-aged daughters watched me sing along to the series theme song with bemusement. I kept singing - with gusto - anyway.

The Alvin's Thanksgiving Celebration DVD collects four Chipmunks episodes, only one of which actually touches on the Thanksgiving holiday (Food for Thought, in which Alvin and Simon help prep hungry Theodore for an American history test with edible mnemonics). The other three episodes include
  • A Chipmunk Celebration - The brothers invite seemingly every member of the extended Seville and Chipmunk families for the annual community play, only to discover that they've been tapped to play different roles in the production this year. Their fear of trying something new leads them to extreme measures to avoid being at opening night with honor.
  • Cookie Chomper III - The 'munks convince Dave to allow a stray kitten stay on as the family pet despite his severe allergies. When "Cookie Chomper III" makes a dash out the front door and is hit by a car, the boys are inconsolable - until Dave takes them to the local animal shelter to pick out a new puppy, and they pay homage to their lost kitten by treasuring their warm memories.
  • Dave's Getting Married - Despite their resistance, Dave's new steady girlfriend wins Alvin, Simon and Theodore over, but a camping trip meant to help the Chipmunks and their three potential stepbrothers learn to get along has unexpected and hilarious results.
You know you're in for a less-than-impressive animated experience when the trailer for "Go, Diego, Go!" seems less choppy than the feature, but whatcha gonna do - it's '80s-era Saturday morning fare, after all. The four stories play out in varying degrees of amusing and are generally inoffensive, and some younger kids exposed to the recent big-screen adaptation with Jason Lee and David Cross might enjoy the additional exposure to an earlier incarnation of the chipmunk kids despite this DVD compilation's complete lack of extra features.

One caveat: Sensitive children or those who have trouble with the notion of a pet dying may do better if Cookie Chomper III is skipped over (my older daughter was pretty devastated). On the other hand, some parents may find it a reasonable jumping-off point for discussion.
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reviewed by Sharon Schulz-Elsing
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