Graphic Language: None
Strong Sexual Content: None
Sometimes you get the feeling that movie studios are just trying to take money from your kids.
With Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, that’s the audience they’re aiming for, and honestly, the movie is about as fun as a half-eaten surfboard washed up on shore. Picking it up, it looks like it was once something fun, but now has been so used and chewed up that all the thrill’s been left out at sea.
The premise is a simple one: Dave Seville (Jason Lee), the Chipmunks (Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, and Jesse McCartney), and the Chipettes (Amy Poehler, Anna Faris, and Christina Applegate) are on a cruise, en route to an international music awards show. Thanks to Alvin’s antics, they’re carried away on a windsurfing kite to a remote island, stranded and Dave-less. On the island, each of the ‘munks main character traits are flipped—Alvin’s careless, immature, reckless attitude is forced to be “responsible,” Simon’s calculating, careful, follow-the-rules persona is replaced (after a spider’s bite) with Simone, (or SEE-Moan), a French accented daredevil. Theodore’s timidity is soon replaced with bungee-jumping. Dave, teamed up with former-producer-turned-bird-mascot Ian (David Cross) set out to find the pint-sized performers—and wacky antics ensue.
On the island, the chipmunks meet Zoe (Jenny Slate), who’s a bit odd—yes, that’s her character, being stranded on the island for 10 years—but watching the movie, she’s actually really odd, sometimes uncomfortably so. Her character came off as that one person who, when out with a bunch of friends, kills the conversation with a strange comment—forcing everyone to nervously laugh or avert eye contact. Long story short, everyone learns a life lesson and the chipmunks are rescued.
Where Chipwrecked really gets stranded are the massive amount of pop-culture references riddled throughout the 87 minutes—some, if not most, kids won’t even get: James Bond, Castaway, a dance-off with Jersey Shore-like girls, Lord of both Rings and Flies, even a reference to Sarah Palin seeing Russia from her house. They’re not funny even on their own, let alone in a kid’s movie. They just come off flat.
The one (and only) laugh from the 10 and under audience was when Alvin slams spread-eagle into a tree and exclaims, “Oh, my acorns.” When the bar’s set there, it’s hard to go much lower.
Overall, it’s a renter, at best. Alvin does learn lessons about responsibility and asking forgiveness, which would’ve been at least redeemable if that was the final message of the movie. But, with Alvin being Alvin, as soon as he’s past the “I’m sorry” and “I’ll grow up,” he’s back at it again, causing mischief on the plane ride home.
If you’re going to let the movies take your money, at least wait until Chipwrecked is only $1.00 at RedBox.
In Chipwrecked, Alvin is, on the furry face, a cool kid who disobeys. He doesn’t listen to Dave, sneaks out, does what he wants, and really doesn’t care about the consequences. Through the movie, he learns from his tough circumstances that he needs to learn how to be responsible—and he sees how it hurts others in the process. Proverbs 10:1 says, “A wise child brings joy to a father; a foolish child brings grief to a mother.” As a father, nothing warms my heart more than to see my children succeed, to use the wisdom I’ve taught them, to make great choices, and to serve and bless those around them. God is no different—blessed by our choices, and actions, and worship. If there’s one subject to chat with children after Chipwrecked, it’s about choices: wise and unwise ones. God’s wisdom helps us make good choices, plain and simple. And the good news is that God’s wisdom is free…all we need to do is ask! Alvin’s choices were reckless and selfish, worrying his dad and endangering his friends. If nothing else, Chipwrecked is a great discussion-starter. Here are some discussion questions to talk about as a family: • Talk about the movie. What choices did Alvin make that dishonored Dave? • Tell about a time you made a not-so-great-choice—and what you could’ve done better. • What are some things you could do to honor your parents? Or parents, what are some things your kids could do to honor you? • How does God help you make better choices, to honor your parents? , worried his dad, and James 1:12 (from the Contemporary English Version) “God will bless you, if you don’t give up when your faith is being tested. He will reward you with a glorious life, just as he rewards everyone who loves him.” Many of the characters in this film are faced with something that tests their faith, their livelihood, or their resolve. One point that this film nails dead-on is this: to not give up, no matter what circumstances may bring. A perfect metaphor for this struggle is Winter herself. A fish with no tail—no way of surviving, no direction, no forward movement. It’s no doubt that victims of accidents, disabled, or otherwise physically handicapped people can feel the same way. And honestly, everyone can feel, at some point in their lives, that suffocating tests of faith can leave them drowning. We can take heart in this verse, believing that God knows our hurts, knows our tests, and will bless us if we stand fast and stick it out. When life throws us in the deep end, we might just have to learn to swim a little differently to get where we’re going. Questions: With another person, talk about a time your faith was truly tested—and you couldn’t see your way out. How did that test of faith affect you, positively or negatively? During or after this test, how was God present in what happened?