Issue: 9.01
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Hi Gang, and greetings from Hollywood!

Shalom, gang!

It’s a mekheye for me to be able to start a brand new year’s worth of columns with something positive for a change, (kanehora,) so let’s hope this is a good omen and 2008 beings me many more opportunities to do this.

I do a lot of kvetching about the over use of computer generated imagery. Actually, my issues are more with the misuse of the technology, as a way to attempt to conceal weak storylines, bad writing, or fardrek acting. But once in a while, something comes along that blends good writing, passable casting, and CGI in such a way that one’s disbelief is suspended as if my magic.

Such is the case with “Alvin and the Chipmunks.” I grew up with David Seville and his rascally rodents, and loved them. I don’t know how many copies of “Christmas with the Chipmunks” I wore out as a kid. The shrill cry of “Aaaaaalviiiiiiiiiiiiiin!” became almost a rally cry for kids from coast to coast.

Okay, I admit, I had misgivings at first, considering what a disappointment “Underdog” was, (they could at least have gotten someone to imitate the voice of Wally Cox for the superpooch, instead of making him sound like Michael J. Fox on Prozac.) My fear was that like so many attempts before it, this one would make the crooning critters too realistic thereby making their hijinks implausible. But what might have had Ross Bagdasarian spinning in his crypt, has left him to rest in proud peace, because “Alvin and the Chipmunks” is, as we said in the seventies, “Outta Sight!” The screenwriters, John Vitti and Will McRobb, did an admirable job in translating cartoon to live action, and Jason Lee was superb as the updated version of David Seville. But the real kudos go to the voices behind the images. Justin Long, (Alvin,) Matthew Gray Gubler, (Simon,) and Jesse McCartney were amazing in how they were able to pull off the voices, using the same technology, (archaic by today’s standards) to make their voices sound like the originals, all of whom were done by Ross Bagdasarian himself. Likewise, Alberto Abril, (the chief animator,) who somehow managed to flawlessly combine the realistic qualities of live chipmunks with the cartooning charm of his three legendary stars.

This one is a must see for anyone who grew up with the Chipmunks, and for anyone who wants to once again feel the warm fuzzies of their childhood. Ross Bagdasarian Jr. did his father’s legacy proud with this film, (Ross Bagdasarian Sr. passed away in 1972 from a heart attack,) and I’ll wager bucks to bagels that the senior Bagdasarian is shepen nakhes in heaven.


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