Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Alvin's Christmas Carol: Review by William Mortensen Vaughan

TitleAlvin's Christmas Carol
My Rating****

AdaptationStarring Alvin and the Chimpmunks

Date/Year of Release
Wednesday, September 29, 1993

FormatVHS, animated
, feature-length comedy 

Is this adaptation reverent?  No, this adaptation is not particularly reverent.  There doesn't seem to be any emphasis on Christ or God, but plenty of emphasis on commercialism, and family and friends.

Does it include the phrase "God bless us...?"

Does it mention "God" or "Christ"?  No, this adaptation does not mention God or Christ, except in the word "Christmas."

What does my wife think of itMy wife cried when Mr. Ferrell explained to Ebenezer how much his newspaper meant to him.

How closely does this adaptation follow the original novel, by Charles DickensThis adaptation does not follow the original novel very well.  The whole dynamic between a Scrooge and a Cratchit, Belle, Fezziwig, Fred, and Marley are all missing.  Alvin the Chipmunk is "the Scrooge," but he's essentially a schoolboy with a newpaper route.  He selfishly writes a long list of items he expects his human grandparents to give him for Christmas, and is disappointed when his human "father" makes him deliver his newspapers, and he fails to make it to the mailbox in time to mail his Christmas wish list to his grandparents so they'll be able to get him what he wants in time for Christmas.

He has procrastinated writing an essay for school about the true meaning of Christmas, so, on Christmas Eve, he starts writing, but passes out before completing the task.  

While Alvin is asleep, Dave, his human father, appears to him in a dream, as the Spirit of Christmas Past.  Then his chipmunk brothers appear to him as the other Spirits of Christmas Present and Yet to Come.  No one appears to him in lieu of Jacob Marley.

Mr. Ferrell, an elderly man on Alvin's paper route, has a cat named Ebenezer.

Alvin fails to ensure that Mr. Ferrell has his newspaper on Christmas morning.  But, after his dreams, he has a change of heart, and starts putting everyone else first, and delivers a newspaper to Mr. Ferrell.  

What dialect is used?  A Chipmunk dialect of English.

When and where does this adaptation take place?  A small town, circa 1990.

Is this adaptation a prequel or a sequel? 

Is this adaptation supernatural? 
No, this adaptation is not supernatural; the spirits are merely elements of Alvin's dreams.  It is somewhat odd, however, that these chipmunks, Alvin, Theodore, and Simon, talk and sing.
Is this adaptation "framed"

What original musical numbers and/or dance routines are includedThe Chipmunks sing "The Christmas Song" and "Christmas Time Is Here," which are apparently written especially for them to sing.

How attractive is the visual art?  The art is adequate.

How creative and instense are the transitions, especially when "the Scrooge" is taken from one time and/or place to another?
  The transitions are adequate. 

What is the most remarkable thing about this adaptation?  The most remarkable thing about this adaptation is, perhaps, that Alvin is the only "Scrooge" who is a child with no employees, previous engagements to be married, or wealth.  He's merely a selfish brat.

What extras are included on the tape or DVDThe VHS tape has an ad for a half dozen other Alvin and the Chipmunks' videos.

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