Alvin and the Chipmunks appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie consistently looked very good.
Only a few minor sharpness concerns appeared. A few shots demonstrated light softness, usually in wider images. The vast majority of the flick looked well-defined and accurate, though. No jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained minimal. I saw no source flaws either during this clean presentation.
Though I expected a candy-colored palette for Alvin, the flick actually went with a moderately subdued set of tones. Hues stayed on the natural side, with a mild golden tint to things. Within those parameters, the colors looked fine. Blacks were dark and firm, while shadows appeared clear and well-developed. The mild softness was the main reason this transfer fell to a still strong “B+”.
Not a lot of action came with the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Alvin and the Chipmunks. The soundfield stayed pretty subdued through much of the flick. The forward speakers brought out general atmosphere as well as a few minor examples of movement. Elements wound up in logical spots, but they just didn’t have a lot to do. Music showed good stereo imaging, at least, and the surrounds added moderate ambience. This wasn’t what I’d call an active mix, though.
Audio quality was fine though also unexceptional. Speech seemed concise and crisp, without edginess or other issues. Music seemed clear enough, though the score and songs didn’t come with a lot of oomph; low-end was somewhat lackluster. Effects sounded fairly accurate and distinctive, though they also didn’t pack a lot of punch. All of this was good enough for a “B-“, but I wouldn’t call this a memorable mix.
How did the picture and audio of this Blu-ray Disc compare to those of the original release? Audio seemed about the same. This was a low-key track and I didn’t think the lossless DTS mix managed to bring out anything not heard on the old DD version.
Visuals got the usual bump, however. The Blu-ray boasted the standard improvements in terms of clarity, definition and color reproduction. I thought the DVD was fine, but the Blu-ray worked better.
The Blu-ray replicates the extras from the original DVD. A featurette called Hitting the Harmony runs eight minutes, 54 seconds and presents movie clips, behind the scenes shots, and interviews. We hear from executive music director Ali Dee and producer/vocalist Alana Da Fonseca. We learn about the songs for the flick and the recording process. Much of this seems fluffy and promotional, but I really like the bits that show how the do the Chipmunk vocals; it’s a hoot to watch the performers sing in half-time. Those parts alone make “Harmony” worth a look.
Chip-Chip-Hooray: Chipmunk History lasts 12 minutes, 18 seconds and features thoughts from producer Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. and producer Janice Karman. Bagdasarian discusses the career of his dad and how the Chipmunks came to exist, and we also hear how the younger Ross resurrected the franchise in the 1980s. We learn a fair amount about how the Chipmunks started and developed over the years.
Some Previews appear under “Fox on Blu-ray”. This includes ads for Ice Age – The Meltdown, Night at the Museum and Eragon. No trailer for Alvin shows up here.
Alvin and the Chipmunks became a major left-field hit, but I can’t figure out why. The film offers mild amusement but nothing much to make it stand out from the crowd. The Blu-ray gives us good picture, ordinary audio, and some mediocre extras. This is the best presentation of the movie on home video, but its lack of substantial extras – and the absence of a particularly entertaining film – makes it hard for me to recommend it to anyone not enthralled by Alvin.
To rate this film, visit the Widescreen Edition review of ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS