This is one of those series, much like the "Twilight Saga" and "Transformers", that no matter what I say, it doesn't matter.


The first film "Alvin and the Chipmunks" was an experiment to see if the world was still interested in the high pitched rodents. The experiment cost $60 million and produced $217 million domestically and another $144 million on the foreign market. As you already know, that according to Hollywood (and pure capitalism) rules... that called for a sequel.


The sequel, appropriately title "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakqel" cost $75 million to produce and grabbed $219 million domestically and $223 million on the foreign market. Yes you read that right, an uptick on the global market had it grossing more overseas than domestically. That means only one thing. A third.

Voila! "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked" is released by Fox and Bagdasarian Productions (the son of the originator). this time helmed by Mike Mitchell who directed "Shrek Forever After" and "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo". Yes he is the guy responsible for putting an end to the "Shrek" series by making one so bad it ruined the name. I need not make any comment about "Deuce Bigalow", we all know what a mess that was.


He takes over for Betty Thomas (the Squeakquel) and Tim Hill (the first in the series); both returned to sanity and moved on. This may be a result in the change of producers from Ross Bagdasarian Jr. (son of the creator) to Neil A. Machlis whose last success was "Dr Doolittle 2" - if you want to consider that a success.


The change in the leadership seems geared toward destroying the franchise - which for me would be a blessing.


This time Alvin (voiced by Justin Long whose career is otherwise logical) and his pals Simon (Mathew Gubler), Theodore (Jesse McCarthy) and the Chippettes Eleanor (Amy Poehler) Jeanette (Anna Farris), and Brittany (Christina Appplegate) get a free cruise to the International Music Awards where they are suppose to perform.

Their "father" Dave (Jason Lee) is worried about Alvin causing trouble and sternly warns him not to. Of course, that falls on deaf ears as Alvin creates havoc almost immediately.


His goofing around leads him to para-sailing with a kids kite while Simon and Theodore hold the line. A gust of wind gets the better of them and, even with the weight of the Chippettes, the Chipmunks are blown off the ship.


Dave goes after them with the accidental help of the now former manager Ian (David Cross) who has a vendetta with the Chipmunks.


The all wind up on a remote island with another stranded castaway named Zoe (Jenny Slate) who is there secretly looking for a lost treasure. From there, the film nborrows heavily from Tom Hanks' "Castaway" with Zoe keeping company with Spaulding, Calloway, Rawlings and other sports balls with painted faces.

All the parties hook up and it becomes a race against time when the now volcanic island begins to bubble. Yadda, yadda, yadda... the movie ends 87 minutes later with a bunch of song covers and dancing. Somehow, once again, the Chipmunks with their incessant squeals are not eating by a sake, cat or dog. They are not caught in a mouse trap. they some how survive for what will probably be a fourth part. We are to believe that the passengers would not be appalled by the sight of rodents running free around a ship.


I never understood the logic in hiring top flight actors as voices when he voices would be synthesized beyond recognition anyway... but what do I know?


"Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked" is strictly for kids, like the one sitting next to me who really got into it; especially the ending! Otherwise it's yet another case of vermin gone wild.   -- GEOFF BURTON