When we get in kid movies I usually use the same three reviewers to help me out; Natalie, Sara and Mallory.
Unlike many reviewers out there, I believe that if you've got amovie geared towards kids you really need to find out how much kids love it.
For example, Coraline was a HUGE hit in the household. That Blu-ray was worn down to the point where it didn't want to play anymore. I'm talking about nearly 100 viewings of that since September 2009. Nuts? Yes. Kids loved it? You bet. Good review? Yes. Why? Because the kids loved it. As a 30+ year old adult it would be rude and wrong to solely judge a kid's movie on my taste. As a reviewing, I'm jaded and bitter (just kidding); what do I know about kid movies? I know a lot about proper production values, but seeing how the kids react to the film (three very different kids) is something a reviewer of my age simply cannot rival.
So, let's begin.
Sequels can make one squeamish
Our famous trio of chipmunks decide to take a break from singing and enroll into school. When they think they're taking a 'break' they meet some stiff competition with the Chipettes. Half falling for the girls and half competitive, the Chipmunks end up taking their skills to the next level.
For me I felt like this was a forced sequel. In the first film the story was a bit stretched, but it worked. Jason Lee made the perfect counter to the cute Chipmunks and helped drive everything. Not to mention, the Christmas theme during the Christmas release helped out a lot. Most movies that you see on Christmas generally are Academy Award nominees (or wannabes), so that also helped it become mildly successful as it offered more to families.
Well, this time around the new movie seem to rely more on gimmicky lines and 'not so cute' moments to try to put together the same goodness the first movie offered, regretfully it just doesn't cut it. The biggest problem that most fans (young and old) always had was the emergence of the Chipettes. I won't say much, but I understand why Fox and Regency chose to go that direction (you want to make sure you get that young female crowd into it -- that was the original concept for the cartoon as well), but they just seem to compete for cuteness and in the process it creates too much 'cute' onscreen and in turn clutter up the story a bit. Add this to really cheap laughter and just a very large wasted amount of talent brought in and it just simply ends in a miss.
Now, to shift gears, my kids watched this film about twice; once in the theater and once at home. Ultimately, they lost interest in it after the second go around. I'm not trying to harp too much on the failure of the film with my kids, but to give a counter-view, they loved the first film. They loved it so much that they own the soundtrack and recited lines weeks after they watched it in the theater.
Simply put, they didn't have the same experience.
As for the Blu-ray, it looked and sounded great. The visuals, including the CGI, looked great on Blu-ray. The music, while not as good as the first film, sounded great on Blu-ray. Regretfully, this is one of those moments where the film really let the quality of the Blu-ray down. It's great, but it doesn't make up for the film's failures.
The features are as follows:
· Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel Blu-ray
· Munking History: 50 Years of Chipmunk Mischief, Mayhem & Music
· Munk Music Machine
· Meet the Chipettes
· Rockin’ Rising Stars
· Music Mania
· Meet the Stuffies
· Shake Your Groove Thing! with Rosero
· Music Videos & Sing-Alongs “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” “We Are Family,” “Shake Your Groove Thing”
· Music Videos: (“You Really Got Me” featuring Honor Society & “The Song” featuring Queensberry)
· A-l-v-i-n-n-n-n!!! Album Maker
· Live Lookup
· Music In A Nutshell: Song Trivia
· The Chipmunks: Behind the Squeaking
· A-NUT-omy of a Scene
Fox made sure to pack this Blu-ray with some good features. What you get with it are 'good' features. There are plenty of things, including the music videos, that make the features great for kids. Again, Fox knows who their audience is and they deliver with the features. Is it enough to make up the film? Not for this reviewer, but my kids really liked them, so I have to give the features some huge props.