My understanding is that Ross Bagdasarian, the original creator of The Chipmunks, was involved in some way with this reincarnation, although that's only a guess, because these three episodes are missing their end credits (only the show's opening title sequence is present). Bagdasarian, who in addition to supplying the voices (mechanically altered, of course) of The Chipmunks, also performed as his alter ego, David Seville, the adopted father of the three Chipmunks and the straightman for little stinker Alvin's frequently smart-assed jokes. That dynamic worked spectacularly well for Bagdasarian (he sold millions and millions of records over the decades), but it's nowhere to be found here in this updated version.
Dave Seville does show up in two of these episodes, and he does yell at the boys, but these little moments only act as framing devices for the true focus of these particular shows: sticking The Chipmunks into famous movie parodies. And while the parodies stay fairly close to the originals, with some reasonably detailed backgrounds for this kind of cheap animation (the Star Wreck episode looks particularly good), the writing is depressingly flat, with little or no jokes to remind us of past Chipmunk glory. Particularly sad is the M.I.A. Alvin, that annoying little bastard people still laugh at when he snottily demands a hula hoop in his Christmas song. Clearly the main attraction of the group, Alvin's the bright, wise-ass kid from Hell that every parent dreads, but shoe-horned into these restrictive parodies, he becomes just another straightman. Worse, in the Batmunk parody, Alvin is cast as the villain Jokester, playing it mean, not funny, which can seriously confuse kids (as it did with my little daughter).
It doesn't help either that these episodes look pretty bad, with major dirt and picture anomalies, along with color shifting and a soft focus. Obviously, not a lot of care was put into this collection; with the end credits missing, these little shorts are over after about twenty minutes. Featuring only three shows on the whole disc, that's just over an hour of Alvin and The Chipmunks Go To the Movies - not exactly a compelling reason to shell out fifteen bucks and change for something your kid probably won't like anyway.
Paul Mavis is an internationally published film and television historian, a member of the Online Film Critics Society, and the author of The Espionage Filmography.