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Alvin and the Chipettes in Cinderella, Cinderella DVD Review

Buy Alvin and the Chipettes: Cinderella, Cinderella DVD from Amazon.com Alvin and the Chipmunks (1986-88)
Show & DVD Details

Writers: Diane Dixon, Sean Roche, Barry O'Brien / Creators/Producers: Janice Karman, Ross Bagdasarian

Voice Cast: Janice Karman (Theodore Seville, Brittany Miller, Jeanette Miller, Eleanor Miller, Miss Pinch), Ross Bagdasarian (Alvin Seville, Simon Seville, Dave Seville), Dody Goodman (Miss Miller), Thom Watkins (Chazz Fleming, Jeweler)

Running Time: 68 Minutes (3 episodes) / Rating: Not Rated (TV-Y equivalent)

1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Broadcast Ratio), Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 (English)
Subtitles: None; Closed Captioned
Episodes Originally Aired October 1986 - December 1988
Suggested Retail Price: $16.99 / DVD Release Date: March 30, 2010
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5) / Black Eco-Friendly Keepcase

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Alvin and the Chipmunks have truly been given a new lease on life. Two weekends ago, the big screen outing Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel passed the final domestic gross of its hit 2007 predecessor.
Even if that didn't happen, Squeakquel would still be deemed wildly profitable. The live-action family film with CGI rodent stars has earned over $435 million worldwide and on the modest reported production budget of $75 M. Who can blame Fox for firmly scheduling Alvin and the Chipmunks 3D for theatrical release on December 16, 2011?

Likewise, who can blame Paramount for doing the best equivalent they can: exploiting the franchise's renewed popularity with yet another basic DVD release of the 1980s' "Alvin and the Chipmunks" animated TV series. The studio began releasing cartoon compilations back in 2005 and have turned up the volume since the 2007 movie created a whole new generation of Chipmunk fans. On the same day that The Squeakquel comes to DVD and Blu-ray, Paramount gives us Alvin and the Chipettes: Cinderella, Cinderella, with the girl characters "introduced" in Squeakquel prominently featuring on the cover art and in the selected episodes.

Salvaging an otherwise disappointing night, Prince Alvin enjoys a dance with the mystery girl (Cinderella, a.k.a. Brittany the Chipette). Alvie's Angels (Eleanor, Brittany, and Jeanette) strike a pose with deadly hair dryers and killer fashions.

The titular Season 4 episode, actually called "Cinderella? Cinderella!" according to online episode guides, is one of three supplied seemingly at random. The other two, taken from the sixth season -- which retitled the show simply "The Chipmunks" -- seem almost shrewd in their timeliness. "Alvie's Angels" spoofs the '70s female cop show "Charlie's Angels." "The Brunch Club" tackles The Breakfast Club. Both targets seem unusually topical following last week's Oscar ceremony, which paid tribute to late Breakfast director John Hughes but not deceased "Angels" star Farrah Fawcett. The atypical memorial given (an Estevez shy of a full Club reunion) and the inexcusable one denied (which the Academy was foolish enough to defend) both received a fair amount of media coverage.

Admittedly, that doesn't really have much to do with the DVD at hand, but then it's a bit of a challenge to discuss these straightforward 70-minute discs without repeating myself.

By now, you really should know if the '80s Chipmunks cartoon works for you or not. The second series born out of Ross Bagdasarian's chart-topping 1950s novelty hit songs, "Alvin" centers on adopted brothers Alvin (the mischievous one), Simon (the brainy one), and Theodore (the fat one). To call the chipmunks anthropomorphic is to understate things. They're just like human kids in size, personality, and interests. And they're treated as such by their peers and elders, including their "father" Dave Seville.

Fairy godmunk Simon demonstrates his magic powers by conjuring up a fancy ball gown for Cinderella, who would rather it wasn't green. Brittany grills witness Alvin while the honorable Simon presides over the Chipmunks and Chipettes' little legal procedure.

Slightly more in the foreground here are the Chipettes, who were actually invented in the first season of "Alvin" back in 1983. They're quite simply the female versions of the Chipmunks, each countering one of the boys in personality, physique, and color preference. Vain, fashionable Brittany wears pink to Alvin's red, bespectacled Jeanette mirrors Simon in blue, and rotund Eleanor opts for green just like portly snacker Theodore.
The Chipettes even have a mother figure to counter Dave in elderly, absent-minded Miss Miller. Like the Chipmunks, the Chipettes speak in squeaky tones, the product of Bagdasarian's stroke of genius: speeding up slowly-recorded dialogue.

The three episodes of Cinderella, Cinderella do not emphasize either the boys or girls' penchant for pop singing, although four songs are heard here in addition to the catchy theme tune.

Illustrating how sloppy this release appears to be, no title cards are provided on the episodes and one of the Season 6 installments has the old "Alvin and the Chipmunks" opening precede it. I guess that's better than having episode openings and end credits cut off, as they occasionally have been in the past.

Without further ado, I give you synopses...

"Cinderella? Cinderella!" (22:05) (Originally aired October 11, 1986)
Forced to do her chores instead of buying a dress for tonight's big dance, Brittany imagines herself as Cinderella. While her wicked stepmother (Miss Miller) and stepsisters (Jeanette and Eleanor) attend Prince Alvin's ball, she's stuck at home... until she gets a visit from "fairy godmunk" Simon who's willing to make her dreams come true.
Songs: "Respect" (written by Otis Redding, made famous by Aretha Franklin, performed by Brittany), "Tutti Frutti" (Little Richard, performed by Alvin)

"Alvie's Angels" (22:34) (Originally aired December 7, 1988)
Bored at the mall, the Chipettes become Alvie's Angels, a team of crime fighters investigating an international jewel theft. On an assignment from their unseen boss, the Angels go on the trail of Chazz Fleming, following the handsome but stupid crook to the Swiss Alps, the African jungle, and Venice.
Song: "Beat of the Jungle" (in the tune of Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger")

"The Brunch Club" (23:20) (Originally aired October 1, 1988)
When their school's statue of namesake Thomas Alva Edison topples and breaks in their proximity, the Chipmunks and Chipettes are put in detention until one will take responsibility. The six spend their punishment time pointing fingers at one another. In search of a motive and means for the destruction, the friends hold their own court trial.
Song: "What Were You Doing at the Time?"

As cool as a nickname "J Bates" would be for then-teenaged Jason Bateman, the letters on the library blackboard next to Theodore merely refer to the first names of the six "Brunch Club" suspects. It's the Angels versus the tigers when "Indiana Joan" and her two partners find themselves pursued in a cave.


The DVD has the look of VHS, although it's closer to a lightly-played official studio VHS than something you'd have recorded yourself 20-some years ago. The picture is always soft and slightly fuzzy. "The Brunch Club" is a bit cleaner than the other two.
If looking for them, you'll notice some other issues like flicker and problematic colors.

The 2.0 stereo soundtrack is adequate, although it also shows signs of age.

The disc is watchable and the unimpressive presentation is redeemed by two things: a fair amount of viewers won't mind and, like other 1980s TV cartoons, even at their best, these episodes no doubt had some shortcomings.


Expectedly, there are no bonus features found here. The DVD opens with a promo for animated Chipmunks DVDs that must be close to two years old now. It's accessible from the menu's "Previews" listing.

As always, Paramount offers a simple, streamlined presentation. The one static, silent menu offers individual episode and collective playback. There are no inserts inside the plastic-skimping black Eco-Box keepcase.

The case fails to warn customers of the Chipette nudity that occurs as wicked stepsisters Eleanor and Jeanette tug at poor Cinderella Brittany. With their fancy headsets on, the Chipmunks and Chipettes rush to save their school courtyard's Thomas Edison statue, producing a clogged doorway.


Though many viewers, especially those who grew up in the '80s, will find this "Chipmunks" cartoon more agreeable than today's new live-action films, another lackluster presentation from Paramount makes the latter much more apt to claim a spot in your DVD collection. While diverting, these three episodes are pretty unremarkable and don't demonstrate how much fun this series often is. To add insult to injury, the price is almost twice what it should be for three episodes effortlessly slapped on a disc. Those wanting to own a taste of this show on DVD would do better with one of the earlier compilations.

More on the DVD / Buy from Amazon.com

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Reviewed March 17, 2010.

Text copyright 2010 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 1986-88 Bagdasarian Productions and 2010 Paramount Home Entertainment. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.