The Chipmunk Adventure is a 1987 American animated film featuring the characters from NBC's Saturday morning cartoon Alvin and the Chipmunks. It was directed by Janice Karman. Produced by Ross Bagdasarian (Jr.), the movie was written by Karman and Ross Bagdasarian (Jr.). The film score was composed by Randy Edelman and performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The film stars the voices of Karman, Bagdasarian and Dody Goodman.
This marked the first appearance of the Chipmunks in a feature film since their 1958 debut.
While Dave's away on a business trip, Alvin enters himself and his brothers in a hot-air balloon race around the world against the Chipettes, with a prize of $100,000 for the winning team. Unbeknownst to them, however, the race is a front for diamond smuggling.
The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics but, although not having any confirmed or even estimated budget, was a box office flop, taking in just under $7 million. Nonetheless, it has quite a following from 80s and 90s kids who grew up with its frequent showings on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.
NOTE: Tropes under here are specifically for the 1987 animated film.
- Tropes exclusive to the whole franchise go in Franchise.Alvin and the Chipmunks;
- Tropes exclusive to the '60s cartoon series go in The Alvin Show;
- Tropes exclusive to the '80s cartoon series go in WesternAnimation.Alvin and the Chipmunks;
- Tropes exclusive to the Direct to Video films go either in:
- Tropes exclusive to the live action/CGI film series go in Film.Alvin and the Chipmunks;
- Tropes exclusive to the 2015 cartoon series go in ALVINNN!!! and the Chipmunks.
The Chipmunk Adventure provides examples of the following tropes:
- Actor Allusion: At one point, Miss Miller badly sings "C'mon a-my House"...a tune co-written by Ross Bagdasarian, Sr.
- Adult Fear: When Dave sees Alvin being forced into the car at the airport. Imagine being him and seeing your kid being driven away by strangers while calling out to you for help.
- Animation Bump: Bagdasarian Productions picked up a lot of the Disney animators who were laid off after The Black Cauldron flopped. Particularly of note is the "Girls (and Boys) of Rock and Roll" sequence, which Glen Keane helped to animate.
- Award-Bait Song: "My Mother", to a certain extent.
- Artistic License Geography: It's mostly averted, the countries the characters visit are portrayed relatively accurately. Instead, the artistic license lies in the characters being able to traverse the globe in a hot-air balloon, which, while certainly possible, would be incredibly dangerous and difficult, and take much longer than portrayed here.
- Bare Your Midriff: Chipettes in their belly dancer outfits and although it is winter, Eleanor doesn't seem to mind that her winter outfit also bares her belly button and lower back.
- Bedlah Babe / Belly Dancer: The Chipettes get dressed up like this. Not to mention that they also bare their midriffs.
- Big "NO!": By Alvin when he loses the arcade game.
- Big "WHAT?!": Claudia does this (while making a mess of the nail polish she's painting her toenails with) when she's informed that the Chipettes have gone way off course.
- Big Damn Heroes: The Chipettes for The Chipmunks. See That Reminds Me of a Song below.
- Big Damn Movie: Well, we got a round-the-world trip, diamond smuggling, and international intrigue...
- Bittersweet Ending / "Shaggy Dog" Story: The bad guys are arrested, and the kids make it home safe, but the question of who won the race is left unanswered, they receive no reward of any kind, and it's implied they'll be grounded for a while.
- BrotherSister Team: Klaus and Claudia are a villainous example of this.
- Butt-Monkey: Klaus has his moments of this, usually at the hands — er, paws — of Sophie. Simon gets a lot of misfortune piled on him as well, especially in the first half.
- The Cover Changes the Gender: "The Girls of Rock and Roll". They changed every other recitation of the chorus to "We are the boys of rock and roll," so that the Chipmunks and Chipettes could have a Battle of the Sexes song.
- Chase Scene: There are a lot, but the most notable is probably the climax.
- Comically Small Bribe: When Alvin needs his brothers' help to trick Miss Miller into letting them leave for the race, Simon utterly refuses. And Theodore?Simon: I can't believe you'd deceive Miss Miller for a package of Tutti-Frutti, Theodore.
Theodore: Two packages!
- Continuity Snarl: By the time the film was released, the Chipettes were adopted by Miss Miller in the show. However, in the film, Miss Miller doesn't interact with the girls at all, and vice-versa, never clarifying if this is set before or after the episode in question, "Help Wanted: Mommy". This is most likely due to production delays.
- Covers Always Lie
- In the original poster with the Chipmunks and Chipettes in their balloons, Alvin and Simon are in normal clothing, but Theodore was shown wearing his Prince of Plenty outfit, Simon was shown wearing the sombrero that he got during the drop-off at Mexico, and the Chipettes were in their Egyptian clothes. This is also prevalent on the DVD covers.
- The 1998 VHS cover. While it depicts Alvin, Simon, and Theodore about to be sacrificed to the crocodiles, on the VHS cover they're wearing their usual outfits, while they were all wearing something different during that scene in the actual film. And the same applies to the Chipettes, who are also wearing different outfits at this particular moment in the film but are depicted wearing their normal outfits on the VHS cover. Finally, on both the DVD and VHS covers, Brittany's hair is blonde.
- Taken to the extreme with the 2008 re-release cover. It shows the main baddies riding another hot-air balloon. They didn't ride one in the film.
- Dedication / In Memoriam: It was dedicated to both Ross Bagdasarian Jr. and Janice Karman's dog, Tiger Lilly, who was killed by a car.
- Determinator: Claudia is hellbent on seeing that their latest smuggling operation goes off without a hitch, and after several failed efforts by Klaus takes command of the scheme herself. Too bad for her it leads to her and Klaus finally being caught and sent to prison for life.
- Disappointed in You: She never flat out says it, but Miss Miller's reaction when she learns the truth about the Chipmunks' deception is clearly this, but towards one Chipmunk in particular.Miss Miller: (sobbing) I can understand this deception from Alvin, but not you, Theodore!Theodore: (also tearful) I'm sorry, Miss Miller.
- Distressed Dude: All three of the Chipmunks, who nearly end up as croc food but are saved by the Chipettes Just in Time.
- Drives Like Crazy: Miss Miller. This time though, it ends up saving the Chipmunks and the Chipettes when she inadvertently drives the Furchsteins off the road.
- Epic Race: The main plot see the Chipmunks against the Chipettes in a hot-air balloon race around the world.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Klaus does initially appear to have some reservations about sending children off on a diamond smuggling operation, noting that it is too dangerous. Claudia overrides him, though.
- Everything's Better with Penguins: The sheik gives Brittany a baby penguin as an engagement present, which the Chipettes then decide to take back to his family in Antarctica.
- Fan Disservice: Klaus's shortie bathrobe near the end.
- Faux Affably Evil: Klaus and Claudia can certainly turn on the charm when they want to, as seen when they first meet the kids in the cafe, but as the viewer already knows, they're criminals and completely ruthless at that.
- Foreshadowing: The arcade game that Alvin and Brittany play in the beginning is full of this, containing elements that they'll encounter when they take the trip for real. Could also double as a Rewatch Bonus. Especially how Alvin loses the game.
- Floating Head Syndrome: Claudia gets this treatment in the DVD cover art.
- Funny Afro: The Chipettes, of all characters, inadvertently gain them after a run-in with a hurricane offscreen.
- Gagging on Your Words: Brittany can't bring herself to say she was wrong about the aforementioned hurricane Simon warned them about, and changes the subject instead.
- Girls vs. Boys Plot: The Chipmunks and their Distaff Counterpart trio have a competition to see whether the boys or the girls can win a race around the world first. Both get repeatedly sidetracked and nearly die, and in the end, the winner is left ambiguous.
- God Guise: Theodore is mistaken for a god by jungle natives, and they force his brothers to be his slaves. Until all three are almost made a Chipmunk Sacrifice.
- Go-Go Enslavement: Both the Chipettes and the Chipmunks in different ways. Bonus points with the Chipmunks because two of them actually were made slaves.
- Gold Tooth: Cuomo, one of Jamal's henchmen has one, which is constantly accompanied by an Audible Gleam.
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Klaus and Claudia can be seen smoking cigarettes, a sure sign that they are villains (alongside their German accents). Claudia even coughs from her cigarette at one point into her dog Sophie's face, making her cough as well. Jamal also smokes, as he seems to be villainous... until he's revealed to have been an Interpol Inspector.
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: Alvin and Brittany place a bet to see which group can "out rock and roll" the other, which leads up to "The Boys / Girls of Rock and Roll".
- Hollywood Natives: The Chipmunks are taken by an Amazonian tribe who wear grass skirts and big floppy headdresses. They make Theodore their Prince of Plenty and plan to sacrifice him to a volcano.
- Homesickness Hymn: The Chipettes try to comfort a homesick baby penguin by singing the song My Mother, which is set over a montage of said penguin chick remembering its happy life in the wild before captivity.
- Human Sacrifice: Well, talking chipmunk sacrifice to be exact. The Chipmunks are taken prisoner by a Fijian tribe that, later, attempt to sacrifice them to a volcano.
- Incest Subtext: Klaus and Claudia are siblings, but sometimes they make you wonder if there isn't anything more going on between the two of them. Though they're probably just that close. Alvin and Simon are probably worse about this, if we're being entirely fair.
- Intercourse with You: The song "Getting Lucky". Here the Chipettes have to get past a swarm of snakes and charm them with this song (that sounds as if it has them propositioning snakes!).
- Interspecies Romance
- The Egyptian sheik falls in love with Brittany and intends to make her one of his brides.
- The Mexican girl who kissed Alvin◊ in their "I, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi (I Like You Very Much)/Cuanto le Gusta" number.
- Kick the Dog: Klaus to Claudia after the duo are finally caught by Jamal:Klaus: (raises his wine glass) Here's to ''you'', Claudia.
- Laser-Guided Karma: The Chipmunks and Chipettes both sign up for the race set up by the very obviously shady European duo not just to win the money but also to outdo each other. This reckless decision winds up nearly getting them kidnapped and whisked away by the Furschteins when they return home, already having discovered the plot behind the diamonds. Unsurprisingly, they are not awarded any money when the villains are finally arrested, and Dave and Miss Miller clearly don't intend to let their foolish actions go unpunished.
- MacGuffin: The dolls.
- Made a Slave: The Fijian natives force Alvin and Simon to become slaves, to Theodore.
- Manipulative Editing: The 'Munks use this through recording Dave's phone call to trick Miss Miller into thinking Dave has to meet them in Europe, so they can sneak out of the house and make it to the race.Dave "recording": Hello, Miss Miller? I want Alvin, Simon, and Theodore to meet me in Europe. Bye-bye!
- Mineral MacGuffin: The diamonds hidden in the dolls.
- Missed Him by That Much: During "The Boys and Girls of Rock and Roll" showdown in Athens, the kids come remarkably close to being discovered by both Dave and the two shady-looking men chasing them. Dave even gets a hilarious Look Behind You moment at the very end of the song.Dave: I could've sworn... No, it couldn't be. The boys wouldn't. Would they?
- Mister Muffykins: Claudia's unpleasant little dog Sophie.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg:Klaus: Allow us to introduce ourselves. My name is Klaus Furschtein, and this is my sister Claudia.(Sophie's head pops out of Claudia's purse, growling. Klaus pushes her back in)Klaus (with clear disdain): ...And Sophie.
- The Mole: The Furchsteins' butler, Mario, secretly works as an informant for Jamal, who appears to be a major rival to the Furchsteins' criminal empire. We learn later that the two men are actually police officers working for Interpol.
- Near-Villain Victory: Dave shows up at the exact moment the Furschteins were about to take the 'Munks and 'Ettes away. And the Furschteins would've escaped as well if it weren't for Miss Miller accidentally running them off the road.
- Never My Fault: Brittany refuses to acknowledge Simon's warnings about a hurricane forming near Bermuda (believing it to be just a lie to deter her and her sisters). Sure enough, that's exactly what the Chipettes run in to, much to the chagrin of Eleanor and Jeanette who scold Brittany on her arrogance. Brittany however refuses to admit her mistake and simply changes the subject.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Jamal's orders to have the Chipettes' balloon brought down in Egypt almost led to the girls being enslaved and a Forced Marriage for Brittany.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Claudia's orders to have the Chipettes apprehended when she discovers they've gone off course, fearing that the girls have discovered the diamonds and are trying to escape with them, leads to the Chipettes discovering the diamonds after one of the dolls is damaged in the ensuing attack.
- Not Helping Your Case: Even after nearly getting kidnapped by the Furschsteins before being rescued by Dave and Jamal, Alvin insists that he and his friends are still entitled to the $100,000 they were promised at the start of the race, saying they had just busted a huge smuggling ring and deserve something for this fact. Dave and Ms. Miller both grow increasingly exasperated until Dave finally snaps and screams his iconic "ALVIIIIIIN!!!"
- Obviously Evil: Both played with and played straight with FIVE characters. The viewers know what the 'Munks and 'Ettes don't know about the rich European "couple", but the two men following the kids, along with their shady employer, are actually cops, from INTERPOL, no less.
- Off-Model: In addition to nabbing a bunch of fired Disney animators after The Black Cauldron flopped, Bagdasarian Productions outsourced the animation to various different animation houses all over the world (Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. even remarks the work went to more countries than The Chipmunks and Chipettes did), and as such, there's a lot of noticeable inconsistencies with the character designs all throughout.
- In one scene, Brittany's underwear is over her tights.
- Only Sane Man: Simon and Jeanette. They're the only ones seemingly aware they're being followed, but were ignored.
- Panty Shot: The Chipettes get lots of them.
- Parental Love Song: Eleanor sings "My Mother", a lullaby about a mother's love, to the baby penguin that she smuggled aboard the Chipettes' hot-air balloon.
- Photo Montage: Briefly seen in "Off to See the World" with the girls taking photos of themselves in the different places they visit.
- Pink Girl, Blue Boy: The two hot air balloons are color-coded like this.
- Police Are Useless: No airport security is summoned when a hot air balloon crashes onto the runway, or when the Chipmunks, Chipettes, and the Furchsteins emerge from the baggage belt.
- Subverted with Inspector Jamal, who works tirelessly from the beginning to ruin the Furchsteins' scheme and who ultimately nabs the two kidnappers with an entire police force in tow.
- Prestige Peril: Theodore is named the Prince of Plenty by a native tribe during the Chipmunks' balloon trip around the world. Simon finds out shortly thereafter that the Prince of Plenty is sacrificed at the full moon.Alvin: "Over my dead body!"(Cut to Alvin, Simon, and Theodore all tied up over a Crocodile Pit)Simon: "You mean over OUR dead bodies".
- Pretty in Mink: The girls wear fur-trimmed capes over their Belly Dancer outfits when they visit Antarctica.
- Product Placement: Rare for an animated film, but Alvin is clearly eating from a box of Honey-Nut Cheerios in the scene where he and Theodore use the tape recorder to trick Miss Miller.
- Quote Mine: In order to cover up their absence to Miss Miller, Alvin records Dave during a phone call, and then quote mines Dave's part of the conversation to convince Miss Miller (via another phone call) that Dave wants the kids to join him on his business trip. Hilarity Ensues when Theodore messes up the tape recording, prompting Miss Miller to question Dave's sobriety.Miss Miller: "David, are you drunk?"
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Jamal turns out to be one, helping Dave to get both the Chipmunks and the Chipettes back and expresses his gratitude for them helping him to finally put Klaus and Claudia away for good.
- Recorded Spliced Conversation: Alvin calls Dave in Paris and records him, then edits the recording to make a fake call giving the Chipmunks permission to leave home under the pretense that they're joining Dave in Europe.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: The baby penguin.
- Riding into the Sunset: The ending, with all six kids in the back of Miss Miller's car, and Alvin lamenting that he never got the prize money, or even a reward for catching Klaus and Claudia. Brittany comments that THEY were the ones who won the race, and an argument ensues, much to Dave's chagrin.
- That Reminds Me of a Song: At one point, the Chipmunks are used as sacrifices for a group of crocodiles at a volcano on a tropical island. So what do they do? They spontaneously break out into the song "Wooly Bully" to entertain the natives and crocs as the Chipettes arrive to the rescue.
- Royal Harem: A young human prince falls in love with Brittany and tries to get her to join his family's royal harem, so the three Chipettes have to get out of there. It certainly explains their Belly Dancer outfits.
- Rump Roast: Happens to the native tribe leader during the "Wooly Bully" number, when another native accidentally sets his rear end on fire while dancing with a torch. The resulting pained scream of the tribe leader as he rockets into the air is left intact on the soundtrack version of the song.
- Say My Name: Dave screams Alvin's name as usual. Only twice through the whole film.
- Scenery Porn: Just look for example at the beautiful scenery in "Off to See the World" or the "Girls of Rock and Roll".
- Shout-Out: See the main shout out page for the franchise.
- "Setting Off" Song: "Off to See the World".
- Siblings in Crime: Klaus and Claudia.
- Sissy Villain: Played with in regards to Klaus, who is at several points intimidated by Claudia's fierce temper.
- The Skeptic: Simon and Jeannette, naturally. Turns out their unease over the race and of Klaus and Claudia's true intentions was completely justified.
- Skewed Priorities: From Alvin and Brittany, this is to be expected. However, it really hits its peak at the end when the two have the gall to demand their prize money even after the villains have been arrested for trying to kidnap them. Luckily, the only thing they earn is a truckload of trouble with Dave and Ms. Miller.
- Skyward Scream: The film closes out on Dave's iconic yell when Alvin continues to press him about the prize money.
- Smuggling with Dolls: Klaus and Claudia trick the Chipmunks and Chipettes into bringing their stolen goods by disguising it as a hot-air balloon race around the world, using the dolls meant as markers for each leg of the race to hide the diamonds.
- Spanner in the Works:
- While escaping Egypt, Eleanor smuggles the baby penguin into the balloon and convinces her sisters to take him back to his family in Antarctica. If she hadn't, they wouldn't have run off course and attracted the attention of the villains, and in turn, might never have found out about the diamonds and the true motive behind the race.
- Miss Miller as well — it's thanks to her running the Furchsteins' car off the road (while on the way to pick up Dave from the airport) that Klaus and Claudia are finally apprehended at the end.
- Tempting Fate:Claudia: What a brilliant idea this was of mine!
Klaus: It's not over yet, Claudia.
Claudia: What could go wrong? (smokes) Where's my coffee?
[We cut to the kitchen, where their butler Mario is calling Jamal.]
Claudia: In a few minutes, we'll be on our private jet to Costa Rica!
- Then during their escape from Jamal with the Chipmunks and Chipettes as their hostages:
(The Chipmunks and Chipettes gasp in fear as the Furschteins laugh at their Near-Villain Victory)
Claudia: Here's to me!
(Cue the screeching of tires as the Furschteins gasp and see Miss Miller coming up the highway, going the wrong way, straight towards them! Cue Oh, Crap! looks on Claudia and Klaus before their car swerves to avoid Miss Miller and crashes into a lamppost. Afterward, once Jamal arrives with police reinforcements...)
Jamal: Well...if it isn't my old friends Klaus and Claudia...
Klaus: (as he's cuffed) Here's to you, Claudia.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: A Running Gag has Theodore ordering food, only to be pulled away for some reason before he can eat it.
- Threatening Shark: The girls encounter one in Bermuda when dropping off their first doll.
- Tickle Torture: Happens with a feather.
- Two Scenes, One Dialogue: Shortly before the race begins:Alvin: A hundred...Brittany: ...thousand dollars!
- Undercover Cop Reveal: Throughout the film, we're led to believe the intimidating, swarthy Jamal is a rival villain with his own agenda. Turns out he's actually an Interpol agent and a good guy, which comes in handy during the climax.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Absolutely no alarm is raised when a passenger jet slams into the Chipettes' hot air balloon, which is also ferrying the Chipmunks as they return to the States. The balloon can be seen getting clipped by the plane's wing right outside Dave's window, who doesn't notice a thing. In reality, such a collision would almost certainly compromise the plane's descent and send it crashing down.
- Unwitting Pawn: None of the kids have any idea that the race is just a front for diamond-smuggling.
- Voice Actors: Charlie Adler, Nancy Cartwright, Ken Sansom and Frank Welker.
- We Have Your Babysitter: At the film's climax, Klaus and Claudia capture the kids by telling them they have Miss Miller hostage. It's a lie, of course — at that very moment she's driving to the airport to pick up Dave.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The Chipmunks' balloon, which was last seen marooned in the jungles of the South Pacific the last time we see it. For all we know, it is still there.
- What the Hell, Hero?: When Klaus and Claudia make the fake threat to the kids of handing over the dolls in exchange for Miss Miller's safety, Alvin has to stop and think over whether it'd be better to just run or get Miss Miller back, whom none of the kids are very fond of as a scatterbrained babysitter despite being a nice woman. Simon calls him out on this.
- Miss Miller gives a tearjerk variation to Theodore, because he helped Alvin trick her. Something she'd never suspect Theodore would do. Theodore apologizes, already having felt guilty for tricking her.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Claudia is completely convinced that Jamal would never suspect the six children of being in on their latest diamond smuggling scheme (albeit, unknowingly). It's quickly made clear to the audience that Jamal has put nothing past these two, and is already fully aware of the duo's intentions...though it is ambiguous whether or not it's only thanks to his informant.
- You Are Grounded: Dave stops the argument between Alvin and Brittney near the end, by leading them away and saying they have a lot to talk about.
- You Got Spunk: Why the Egyptian sheik took an interest in Brittany.
- You Have Failed Me: A little more than halfway through the race, Jamal runs out of patience with Sisvan and Cuomo, who had failed to obtain any of the racers' dolls.Jamal: You imbeciles! I ask you to take candy from a baby, and you fail me!
- Your Size May Vary: The Chipettes constantly change size whenever the inside of their balloon basket is shown.