In Hollywood, when a movie becomes a franchise, mass production of numerous sequels (and sometimes, prequels) is inevitable. The gullible masses then throng to theatres, hoping to relive the magic of the first movie, over and over again.
Sometimes, they are not disappointed (think X Men: First Class
, Kung Fu Panda 2
), but as this year has so far proved, most franchises are overrated (think Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
, West Is West
, Bheja Fry 2
). Chipwrecked is the latest to join this list of disappointments.
For those who have not watched the first 2 movies, Dave Seville (Jason Lee) was a struggling songwriter, till 3 displaced singing chipmunks enter his life and settle there. They are later joined by their female counterparts, the Chipettes, and life is good, after they overcome all misunderstanding and conspiracy.
In Chipwrecked, the International Music Awards beckon the singers, but first, Dave decides to take a much-required cruise holiday with his adopted kids (the 6 chipmunks). As expected, Alvin (Justin Long) bungles up, and the Captain of the ship warns Dave about dire consequences if this continues. To keep an eye on the Sevilles, there is a man dressed as a pelican, who turns out to be their old enemy, Ian (David Cross).
A completely implausible incident leads to the chipmunks stranded in one part of an island, and Dave and Ian in another. Dave's objective is now to find his precious chipmunks, with Ian (still in his pelican suit, but without the head - for laughs) reluctantly following him.
The chipmunks come across Zoe (Jenny Slate), also shipwrecked for more than 8 years (or so she claims). Her best friends are the various balls (basketball, golf, tennis, ping pong) that she has drawn faces on (a rather unflattering tribute to Castaway). And since there is not enough drama already, a dormant volcano on the island is just waking up.
The script is unbelievably dull. The initial camaraderie between the chipmunks and Dave is missing. There is no zing in their chemistry. At no point is any emotion or dialogue heart-wrenching.
Of course, it is a children's movie, with simplicity at the core of its narration, but there are more yawn-inducing moments than laughs. The story revolves around getting around the island and then getting off it, with a rather contrived plot about some lost treasure. Everything seems forced and unnecessary.
Truth be told, there is no story. A rather flimsy side-story about one of the munks impersonating a Frenchman is just that - flimsy. The castaways do not seem to be as desperate to survive as to sing, dance and impress each other. They are not too concerned with the non-appearance of their master and father either.
Dave, on the other hand, sees the island, guesses
that the munks may have drifted there, and, rather half-heartedly, sets out to look for them.
Jason Lee, who has had an otherwise brilliant career, is tired and disinterested. He does not have the same enthusiasm that he portrayed as a struggler in the first movie. He has the appearance of one who has been forced into a movie he does not believe in.
David Cross, on the other hand, has gone on record to say that this movie was a contractual obligation, and "the most unpleasant experience in my professional life". It shows.
Completely avoidable, Chipwrecked is yet another example of producers more interested in making money than in offering a quality product to the adoring public. To add insult to injury, the production value is below average.
If you have kids who are huge fans of the singing and dancing chipmunks, we suggest you wait for the DVD. Just be thankful that the movie is not in 3D.