Old vs New: Alvin and the Chipmunks

Alvin and the Chipmunks were a massive part of my childhood, but I’ve found that I really don’t like the newest adaptions. I’m not sure why, it should be great that an old classic is being brought to the attention of a new audience. But the new movies just annoy me for some reason. So let’s have a look at how the newer Alvin and the Chipmunks movies compare to the old trilogy.

For those of you who don’t know, the original films are The Chipmunk Adventure (1987), Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein (1999) and Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman (2000). Whilst the new ones are entitled; Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007), Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009) and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011). We’ve only gotten to the titles and I already prefer the old ones. Whoever was in charge of those puns should be fired.

In regards to the plots, the original films are a lot more inventive. In The Chipmunk Adventure, the chipmunks end up in in a hot-air balloon race around the world against the Chipettes, but find out that the underlying ploy behind the race was to get them to deliver diamonds for a group of smugglers. In Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein, the Chipmunks are working as singers at an amusement park and Dr Frankenstein decides that the haunted house isn’t scary enough, so creates his own monster. In Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman, Alvin suspects that his next-door neighbor is a werewolf, only to find that Theodore has been turned into one as well. This plots were brilliant, but we were missing a movie. In Frankenstein, Alvin is turned into a toon monster and in Wolfman Theodore becomes a werewolf. So really, there should have been a movie where Simon underwent some kid of wacky personality change, my money was on an ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Dracula’ movie, but alas, it was never meant to be.

The trouble with the newer plots, is the attempted to make the situations more realistic and relatable to their target audience, hence the movies focus on their entry into school and them later becoming pop-stars. Admittedly, the third film Chipwrecked did satisfy my needs so an alternative Simon plot, as Simon was bitten by a spider and becomes the French adventurer Simoné. Although not nearly as wacky and goofy as his brothers’ transformations, it at least means that there’s a full set now.

With the creators attempting to make the chipmunks more hip and trendy, the chipmunks no longer sing original songs, and instead they through in a contemporary pop song regardless as to whether or not it makes sense in the context. Some of their portrayals of the songs are interesting, like Jeanette singing Rihanna’s S.O.S after being kidnapped, but for the most part, they’re just annoyingly pandering. I much preferred the original songs, take a look at some of my favourites;


In the original films, both the chipmunks and the chippettes were given very unique personalities, whereas in the newer versions we see watered down versions of these personalities which depend on you already knowing who’s who. For example, Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman goes into a lot of detail about Alvin’s obsession with horror movies, and how this affects his perceptions of everyday life. It was a really interesting look into what affects his personality, which is unfortunately missing from the newer adaptions.

I’m not sure how I feel about the realistic nature of the newer films. I much prefer the old cartoon-style animation. But the newer films are a lot better at size and scale. In the old films, the chipmunks were the same size as other chipmunks there age, which they can get away with as a cartoon, but the thought of what they’d look like is just a bit creepy…

Lastly… the new films are kind of incestuous. The chipmunks and chipettes are gendered mirrors, which makes it really easy to ship them. However, in the new films, Dave adopts all six of them, which means that they’re adopted siblings. I know that this doesn’t mean that they’re related, but it does make them a bit too much like the Cullens for my liking. Their dynamic worked better in the old movies, the chipmunks lived with Dave (I don’t think if it was ever explained if they were adopted or just his weird hybrid children…) whilst the girls lived with Miss Miller, who was also the babysitter for the Chipmunks when Dave was away and who is, unfortunately, absent in the new movies.

Overall, I definitely enjoy the original movies more, they were incredibly unique, unlike the newer movies in which the chipmunks could easily be replace with real boys and have the exact same plot lines. Anyway, let me know what you think. Do you have a preference? Or do you love the chipmunks in all shapes or forms?

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2 thoughts on “Old vs New: Alvin and the Chipmunks

  1. Stephanie Gallon

    So as a fun fact, I remembered a song from my childhood that I said shaped my understanding of girl power and couldn’t recall a name or context. But it was Girls of Rock and Roll from The Chipmunk Adventure. Turns out I watched that movie as a kid. I was looking on tumblr tags and here you were~ Mon ami ❤

    Anyway, I agree. Ignoring for a second the highly problematic idea of gendered mirror characters at least the characters had a charm. They were simple, but they were spirited and defined. There isn't that in the new movies because of the mash up of music they perform. They can't define characters with eclectic music. Also yeah, weird incest thing going for them…

    Totally Team Chipettes though. Not a fan of the Chipmunks.

    Reply
  2. Diane

    I don’t like the supposedly updated and trendy Alvin either. Alvin has become a character that to me is unlikeable. He is deceitful sneaky and just not nice. I loved the old Alvin and the Chipmunks.

    Reply

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