Alvin and The Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman is a Scary Good Time

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Ethan Taylor, Writer

Alvin and The Chipmunks Meet the Wolfmana Universal Animation Studios film released in 2000, is phenomenal Halloween movie. 

October is a wonderful month for many reasons. Ghoulish decorations, vibrant fall leaves, elementary school Halloween parties and most importantly, movies. Whether you get your adrenaline pumping with movies like Halloween or It, or you watch family classics like Nightmare Before Christmas, each film has its own chilling or charming aspects. When I was elementary school age, my parents threw on the cinematic masterpiece Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman and I adored it. I would watch it whenever I had the chance, even in the middle of March.  

The film was directed by Kathi Castillio, who has worked as a character layout artist on SpongeBob SquarePants and The Simpsons Movie, among many other projects. Her experience with animation is made clear in this film. Alvin and the Chipmunks have had assorted designs throughout the years, some of which fall into the uncanny valley. Their designs in this movie, however, strike a perfect balance between animal and child. They are larger than an average chipmunk, but they have many of the same physical traits as one. They behave exactly like human children, which works to the film’s advantage since they feel like a part of the world they inhabit, unlike later adaptations.  

 The plot follows Alvin, Theodore, and Simon Seville, who form the iconic trio dubbed Alvin and the Chipmunks, as they prepare for their school’s performance of Jekyll and Hyde. After exploding the school’s auditorium, Alvin is reduced to playing the butler, while Theodore replaces him as Mr. Hyde. This proves to be a challenge for him, since he is famously the most kindhearted of the 3 brothers. Meanwhile, Alvin becomes paranoid that there may be a werewolf among the townspeople, and he specifically suspects their neighbor, Mr. Lawrence Talbot. He recruits Simon to help him find evidence, using a book he purchased from a “psychic.” The film begins to pick up when Theodore is bit by a large “dog” and begins to become more aggressive towards his friends and family and begins to thrive in his role as Mr. Hyde.  

Obviously, no film made by lowly humans about the divinity of the Chipmunks is perfect. Each chipmunk has one main personality trait that dictates his actions. Simon is smart, Alvin is funny, and Theodore is nice. The best character by far is Dave. He provides a typical fatherly role, being caring and compassionate but he does discipline his kids when necessary. This is perfected by his voice actor, Ross Bagdasarian Jr., who brings a gentle warmth to the character while still capturing his sternness. Watching as Dave encourages Theodore to be more confident in himself is touching to watch and gives the movie its heart. One of the downsides of his character, however, is that he treats Alvin more harshly than Simon and Theodore. He is much more unwilling to listen to Alvin than his brothers. Even if all Alvin talks about is ghosts and werewolves, it would be much more in character for him to at least hear Alvin out.  

Of course, the one-note stereotypical characters that are ever-present in 2000s movies can be found in this one too. The most infuriating example of this is Nathan, the school bully. He bullies Theodore for no reason whatsoever, except that Theodore must have a character arc where he learns to stand up for himself. In the film’s defense, that is the most that can be expected from a Halloween movie about chipmunks made for small children. What really matters is the scares, so how does it fare in that category?  

There are genuinely unnerving moments in the movie, such as in the opening when Alvin is fleeing from a werewolf during one of his nightmares. The scene with a closeup of the wolf’s eye is especially chilling.  

Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman has ample amounts of love behind it, especially regarding the relationship between Dave and the Chipmunks. With gorgeous animation, expressive voice acting, and even some spooky moments, it has everything anyone could wish for in a kid’s Halloween movie. It deserves to have a place in the hearts of more people. Out of every gory and spooky movie, this one has the most heart.  

  

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