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Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Chipettes - animated DVD / children's and family DVD review
Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 1/2 stars
Actors: Ross Bagdasarian, Jr., Janice Karman, Nancy Cartwright, Tress MacNeille, Frank Walker
  Distributor: Paramount
DVD release: 13 January 2009   Feature runtime: 66 minutes
(1 disc)
Format: Animated, Color, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
DVD Features: Audio tracks (English - Dolby Digital Stereo), Closed-captioned, 6 episodes (May the Best Chipmunk Win, Operation Theodore, Sisters, The Greatest Show-Offs on Earth, My Fair Chipette, Tell it to the Judge)

Alvin and the Chipmunks was the first musical animated TV series, produced by Bagdasarian Productions in 1961 in a show called simply "The Alvin Show"; it was not known by the more popular name Alvin and the Chipmunks for another two decades. The Alvin Show was offered during prime time and only lasted one season (1961-62.) The founder, Ross Bagdasarian Sr., died in 1972.

His son, Ross Bagdasarian Jr., rejuvenated (in more than one way) the popular chipmunks in 1980 with the song "Chipmunk Punk," which of course generated new interest in the mischievous Alvin, his brainy brother Simon, and his always-eating sibling Theodore. Their manager (and pseudo-father figure, albeit human) Dave Seville's popular cry "Allllvinnnnn!" echoes down through the decades, spawning new series, movies, several hit songs, and an ongoing franchise. Whether known as The Alvin Show or just The Chipmunks, it has been in syndication for many years, although presently not in the United States.

In 2007 the live-action/CGI Alvin and the Chipmunks film hit theaters in time for the holiday rush. This in turn spawned the release, and re-release, of episodes from past series.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Chipettes is one such offering. It contains six episodes dating from 1983-1986:
  • May the Best Chipmunk Win
  • Operation Theodore
  • Sisters
  • The Greatest Show-Offs on Earth
  • My Fair Chipette
  • Tell it to the Judge
As was usually the case in the original series, the songs were charming, using such oldies but goodies as "It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To" (with some lyric changes!) to "Material Girl" and "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody." There was originally written song material as well. The plots are trite, and as is usual for classic cartoons, some of the humor is way over the heads of its intended audience.

The three Chipette sisters are parallel companions to the brothers: Brittany, the vain, outgoing counterpart to Alvin; Jeanette, the bespectacled, intelligent, female Simon; and chubby food-junkie Eleanor as Theodore's sidekick. In each of the episodes included on this disk, some event propels the little darlings into some mix up, confusion or dilemma. The message is always clear - doing the right thing is the right thing! There are certainly some stereotypes - the glasses that Theo and Jeanette wear are overly exaggerated and geeky, the "in crowd" rules the school, bankers are hard-heated thieves - but some of the characters depict some social advancement: there is a child in a wheelchair, minorities are depicted, and right makes might is continually exemplified.

Certainly, whenever something hits it big on the big screen, plenty of fodder needs to be provided to keep the masses content until the next big thing (there will be another Alvin movie in 2009) comes along. The kids watching this DVD will enjoy the stories, songs and silliness, although the adults will probably find it annoying and over-the-top to watch repeatedly.

Recommended for younger kids, say four to eight or so, it will certainly help while away a rainy hour or serve to calm down contentious siblings at home.
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reviewed by Laura Strathman Hulka
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