By CAINE GARDNER
It's hard to believe that 50 years ago that three furry troublemakers would blossom into international pop superstars. The brainchild of Ross Bagdasarian, Alvin, Simon and Theodore debuted in 1958 and have transcended generations to bring a delightful story to the screen.
Alvin and the Chipmunks follows the singing trio as they make their way from their forest home and into the life of struggling songwriter Dave Seville (Jason Lee). After discovering the rambunctious rodents, Seville quickly sends them packing, but just as quickly lets them back in his life when he hears the voices that become his muse.
After his initial attempt to bring the chipmunks to his "friend" and record producer Ian Hawke (David Cross) doesn't go over well, Alvin, Simon and Theodore take matters into the own paws.
Dave finally gets what he wants, but at the cost of what he needs. Seville races to keep his boys safe and, lucky for us, we get to go along for the ride.
Being a huge Jason Lee fan, I was pleased to hear that he was going to be involved with the film and thought it would provide him a vehicle to display his comic prowess. For the most part he achieves this, but it is Cross who steals the show. Cross has that innate ability to offend yet at the same time keep you in stitches.
The voice talents of Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney are top notch. Long, who plays the "Mac" guy in Apple commercials, is superb as Alvin. His delivery of one-liners and his ability to capture Alvin's mischievous side is wonderful.
Embraced by fans worldwide, Alvin and the Chipmunks pulled in $360 million worldwide from a modest budget of $60 million. Not bad for a trio of Tamias striatus.
If you own the original version of the film, there's little reason to run out and pick up the Special Edition. If you're into bonus features, the addition of a digital copy of the film and a very fun "Funk Mixer" feature are some of the coolest extras. I also liked Behind the Nuts Munkumentary and The Dudes Behind the Munks featurettes, but one that is strictly for the kiddies is Chipmunks Live on Tour! I love fuzzy, cuddly characters as much as the next person, but when they stand eight-feet tale it's a little creepy.
Final Cut: The disk boasts some cool extras, but the film itself is the chief reason to purchase Alvin and the Chipmunks if you don't already own it. A wonderfully imagined story with solid performances leaves us asking one question -- When are we going to get more Alvin and the boys?
Film: 3 out of 4 stars
Extras: 3 out of 4 stars
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Digital Copy Special Edition
Dir: Tim Hill
Writers: Jon Vitti, Will McRobb, Chris Viscardi
Starring: Jason Lee, David Cross, Justin Long (voice), Jesse McCartney (voice), Matthew Gray Gubler (voice)
* Deleted scenes
* Music Videos
* Behind the Nuts
* The Dudes Behind the Munks
* Get Munked
* Chipmunks Live on Tour!
* Interactive Funk Mixer
* Digital Copy of Alvin and the Chipmunks