I initially assumed that this was a straight-to-video movie; the dvd is listed as being over an hour long. As it turns out, it's a twenty minute special, padded with four or five episodes from the late-80s Chipmunks cartoon series, some of which are vaguely Halloween-related. I've seen worse jobs of padding video releases; The Great Bear Scare was padded with Popeye cartoons completely unrelated. I grew up watching these Chipmunks episodes, but hadn't seen one in years, so it was nice to revisit them for a few minutes. But that's about as nice a thing as I can say about this release.
It made no sense to assume this was anything but a movie; feature-length "specials" had been the norm for over a decade by the time this came out, and the Chipmunks practically kept the genre of the Halloween special alive in the late 1990s with their fairly cartoon recent movies, in which they meet Frankenstein and the Wolf Man. The Wolf Man one, in particular, was really very good.
Here, though, the Chipmunks kind of falter in a TV special from 1994 that was re-released in 2003. The plot revolves around Alvin wanting to join "The Monster Club," a group of jerks whose main selling point seems to be the cool jackets they wear. They've been starting rumors about a local kid who has some sort of facial deformity.
Theodore finds out, naturally, that the kid is actually really nice, and Alvin sees the error of his ways.
Perhaps no other licensed characters are quite as hit-and-miss as Alvin and the Chipmunks. When they're good, they're good - I'll give 'em credit for that. Someone who sat down and watched everything they've put out over the last 50 years would find plenty to enjoy. But they certainly don't hit it out of the park every time. I'd say that this one was a swing and a miss, but, more accurately, they sort of let the pitch go by here.
Man, would I like to see a Chipmunks "Behind the Music."