According to Yahoo! this morning, they’ve gone and made a live action-with-CGI movie based on…. get ready for this noise… Alvin and the Chipmunks.
The prospect of this movie amuses/excites me more than it probably should, and not just because it co-stars Banky and Mr. Show. When I was a tot, I lurrrved the Chipmunks, which I guess makes sense – if you combined the personalities of Alvin, Simon, and Theodore, you’d pretty much wind up with someone who was a lot like me as a kid: hyperactive, brainy, and adorably naive.
The Chipmunks, as their official website tells us, were invented by songwriter Ross Bagdasarian (aka Dave Seville) when he was flat broke, as songwriters will be. In desperation, he wrote a silly novelty song called “The Witch Doctor” which seemed like a hit, so long as he could find a distinctive voice to sing the “ooh-eee-ooh-aah-ahh, ting tang walla-walla bing bang.” After some really very impressive high-tech audio trickery that is too complex to describe here*, he created that distinctive high-pitched voice. After a chance encounter with a defiant chipmunk who refused to get out of the way of his car, “Uncle Dave” created the Chipmunks that we know and love. This led to three animated series (the one you remember was the totally 80s one where they sang sped up versions of “Pressure” and “Mony Mony” whilst having all sorts of wacky adventures, but there was also one back in the ’60s which featured, among other things, the brilliant mad scientist Clyde Crashcup. That’s “Crash” as in “crash”, and “Cup” as in “cup,”) several more hit records (the now-classic Christmas “Chipmunk Song”) and an animated movie.
This is probably the most famous scene from The Chipmunk Adventure. Their rivals, The Chipettes, are laying claim to being bigger rock stars than Alvin and the boys, and you can just cut the sexual tension with a knife. This was the ’80s, when a girl cartoon character acting all coquettish and sassy made you think of Madonna and not JonBenet Ramsey, mind you. It should be noted, however, that while the girl chipmunks and the boy chipmunks are obviously made for each other, they remained strictly platonic throughout their careers.
Right. And my name’s Dave Seville.
The fact of the matter is, Alvin and the Chipmunks are seriously awesome and seriously underrated, and serve as a pretty decent satire of the music biz. Alvin’s the prima donna bad boy, Simon’s the real talent/brains behind the operation, and Theodore’s the drummer.
Theodore is so the drummer. If Alvin and the Chipmunks were a nu-metal band in the late ’90s, Simon would be Wes Borland, Alvin would be Fred Durst (he’s even got the red hat), and Theodore would be… the drummer. This isn’t too much of a stretch, as the ‘Munks are portrayed as preternaturally adolescent and their clothes are unnecessarily baggy. They’ve even got their patient manager, watching over them, making sure that Simon does his homework and Theodore doesn’t eat too many cookies and Alvin doesn’t try to date rape Christina Aguilera.
*-meaning: he sped up the tape.
This one’s for my hip theater friends, right here:
….aaaaand here’s the old Alvin ‘toon from the ’60s. Witch Doctor. Old school.