A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a mildly entertaining adventure set against a backdrop of international wonders, with little suspense to worry younger viewers. Greed and competition get the action rolling, but teamwork and friendship rise to the top by the end. There are negative stereotypes of Arab thugs, a sheik is infantile and spoiled, and some Africans they meet are cannibals.
What's the story?
In a case of video game competitiveness gone haywire, helium-voiced Alvin (voiced by Ross Bagdasarian Jr.) and his two sidekicks race around the world in a bid to beat their female counterparts in THE CHIPMUNK ADVENTURE. The dastardly Claudia (Susan Tyrell) and her oily brother Klaus (Anthony de Longis) embroil the unsuspecting woodland creatures in a diamond smuggling operation, putting them into the sights of the mysterious Jamal (Ken Sansom). Taking breaks from eluding hatchet-faced thugs to break into rock 'n' roll song, the Chipmunks and Chipettes must find a way to work together as they travel through spectacular international sites like Machu Pichu, Rio de Janiero, London, and Egypt.
Is it any good?
The story moves along at a decent pace, and, along with the lead chipmunks, a few of the smaller characters like daffy babysitter Miss Miller are well rounded. The filmmakers did a service by introducing the Chipettes, tough and brave girl chipmunks who provide some balance for Alvin, Theodore (director Janice Karman), and Simon (Ross Bagdasarian Jr again). Animated scenes of locations like London, Holland, and Mexico City are a nice touch, and the rock concert amidst Greek statuary is memorable. The soundtrack includes some lovely original melodies and old favorites like "Wooly Bully."
But if you're not a fan of the Chipmunks the plot alone will not be enough to hook you. The dialog is dumbed down to make character motivation superfluous, as when Klaus observes "We're quite wealthy and very bored." The plot may be a bit confusing for kids younger than 5, and too predictable for those older than 10.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: May 22, 1987
- On DVD or streaming: May 23, 2006
- Cast: Anthony De Longis, Ross Bagdasarian Jr., Susan Tyrell
- Director: Janice Karman
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 76 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- MPAA explanation: General Audiences
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.