It’s the showdown of the genders as The Chipmunks seek to find out the true origin of Easter while The Chipettes try to do exactly what The Chipmunks did before them.
When I was a little kid I absolutely loved the Chipmunks. I had their Chipmunk Rock album, their Chipmunk Christmas album and have small memories of watching them on television. When I reviewed a bunch of Chipmunk DVDs last year I was hit with the realization that the cartoons were not as good as I ever remembered. I still loved the Chipmunk Christmas special but the rest was a letdown.
The Mystery of the Easter Chipmunk brings my good memories of The Chipmunks I had as a child back to life. It has all the charm my fuzzy memories remember. The main feature focuses on Alvin’s pursuit of the truth of whether or not the Easter Bunny stole the idea for the holiday from The Chipmunk’s grandfather. His pursuit of justice in the court system brings the possibility that the Easter Bunny is involved in a scheme involving money. The feature is a fun romp that is truly light hearted and sends a great message to the young viewers.
The DVD is rounded out with episodes from the classic television show. The best of the bunch is Special Kind of Champion, where Alvin finds himself unable to achieve greatness at track. When Alvin can’t be the best, he doesn’t have the drive or desire to even try. Given the choice of either failing the class or becoming a coach, Alvin enthusiastically chooses to be a world class coach. He doesn’t realize that he is coaching a young handicapped boy at the Special Olympics. The little boy teaches Alvin how to strive to be the best he can be regardless of any and all shortcomings. It is arguably the best Chipmunks episode I have seen in the regards to the message it send to children.
The final two episodes, Thinking Cap Trap and Luck O’ The Chipmunks have moments of wonder but the over thinking might have done them in. Both involve someone going to extremes to get what they want. In Thinking Cap Trap, Simon creates caps to increase the intelligence of his family to (1) get them to leave him alone and (2) to go onto a genius family game show and win. In Luck O’ The Chipmunks, a new Irish boy in school pretends to be a leprechaun so people will like him. Both have funny moments but I have never agreed with children’s cartoons making it look like you need to do everything you can to make people like you. The end gives it the “message moment” but I still can’t fully get behind these types of episodes.
The Chipettes introduces fans to the female equivalent of The Chipmunks. I feel they are mostly boring with the exception of Brittany who contrasts well with Alvin as two egotistical chipmunks vying for attention. Jeanette and Simon are the brainiac’s while Eleanor and Theodore are the cute, cuddly, fat ones. The first cartoon in the set see the girls transfer to the boy’s school. Brittany chooses to compete for class president and finds she is competing against Alvin. It is clear this is a very old cartoon as the picture quality is piss-poor and nothing was done to improve the video. However, when she loses Alvin makes up for it by combining his victory party with a welcoming party for The Chipettes.
For the purpose of introducing fans to who these female chipmunks are, this is a great addition. However, as the cartoons go on it is clear they are just used as replicas of what fans already had. The only addition to the cartoon they bring is female voices to the songs, and that only matters with the subject matter because they still all sound like helium filled children. Still, we get songs like It’s My Party as well as joint numbers with the boys to add to the musical catalogue.
Looking at the two DVDs side-by-side, it is not even a close comparison. The Mystery of the Easter Chipmunk contains a superior story to anything on The Chipettes DVD. You even get to see the Chipettes on Easter Chipmunk in the episode Snow Wrong, so that DVD trumps the female’s disc in every way. The fact that the better Chipettes episodes have horrid picture quality and sound problems means I can’t recommend it for anyone but completists.
There are no features on either DVD save previews.