Animating Halloween: ALVINNN!! and the Chipmunks – Switch Witch

AHAATCSW

Plot: Alvin, Simon, Theodore, Brittany, Jeanette and Eleanor enjoy their Halloween until their candy is suddenly switched with fruit and books thanks to the evil Switch Witch.

Breakdown: Ooh yay! Another Alvin and the Chipmunks Halloween special! I don’t remember there being more, but let’s……Oh….Oh it’s from the latest reboot…

Look, I have nothing against ALVINNN!!! and the Chipmunks besides, holy hell, that name is dumb. I’ve watched a couple episodes before and it’s something I like to call a ‘coma show’ as in, when I watch it I feel as though I’ve entered into a coma. The time is gone, I might feel like I’ve heard things during it, but I don’t remember anything.

We get such gems like this:

Theodore: “I got a rock.” A failed, but appreciated, Charlie Brown reference, that they decide to ruin by doing this.

Theodore: “Oh no, it’s a candy bar that fell out of its wrapper.” *bite* “Ow…No it’s a rock.”

Any idiot could see that’s a rock. It’s not even a brown rock. Why would you think that’s a candy bar? I know Theodore’s a little dim, but he’s not Patrick from Spongebob stupid.

Granted, it’s not like Alvin and the Chipmunks ever had groundbreaking stories or anything, but they typically had some fun, memorable moments and good songs. This reboot is about as ‘meh’ as it gets. Even the animation is boring. I feel like I’m watching something made by the people who made the CGI Barbie movies. Everything’s so plastic. Who would’ve thought I’d long for the days when the boys basically wore nightgowns all day.

You want to know how benign this special is? You remember how Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman had the boys worried they might have to shoot their brother with a silver bullet? Or how the Frankenstein monster nearly got killed by an angry mob? And how both movies had fairly action-y climaxes?

Here, the ‘monster’ is someone called the Switch Witch.

She is a witch who steals your candy and replaces it with fruit and books.

That’s it. That’s all. She doesn’t attack you, she doesn’t kill you, she doesn’t turn you into a frog or something – she just steals your candy and replaces it with fruit and books.

There is absolutely no reason the kids should be even the least bit afraid of this woman, especially considering they believe she already stole their candy by the end of the first act. All tension is drained before we even realize the conflict.

And, gee, the chipmunks thinking their neighbor is a supernatural being and trying to trap them. I wonder where I’ve heard that before. At least in that movie they were right, and Mr. Talbot turned out to be a legitimate threat. This whole plot is so blindingly transparent.

By the by, who gives out candy canes for Halloween? This looks less like Halloween candy and more like someone mixed Valentines and Christmas candy together.

And, dear god, the size of those candy bars. I know the chipmunks are small, but Dave was eating one earlier and he might as well have been eating a brick. Damn King Size – that was like Galactus size.

AHAATCSW2

Oh, I’m gonna give you a second to notice what’s wrong with this shot of the kids setting up a trap for the Switch Witch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yup. They have a giant bowl filled with candy. They’re using this giant bowl of candy to lure out the Switch Witch…..so they can get their candy back………..They established earlier that none of them had a drop of candy, even Dave ate the leftovers from the Trick-Or-Treater bowl he had….but they have a bowl full of candy at the ready.

So….even this incredibly lame “conflict” isn’t the slightest bit a conflict because they do indeed have plenty of candy.

Wonderful writing, guys. Top notch, really.

This whole story seems like it’s leading up to a dose of karma to the chipmunks and chippettes, but they royally screw up the moral to the point where there is none anymore.

Why do they need a dose of karma, you may ask?

Well, they got a good deal of their haul by tricking the aforementioned neighbor, Ms. Crooner. She’s elderly and has memory problems so they just kept ringing the doorbell over and over and getting candy over and over because she didn’t remember them coming to the door. They kinda felt bad when they came home….well, the girls did a little, but even they literally said they didn’t feel bad enough about it to give up their candy. Then it’s just dropped…entirely.

Ms. Crooner dresses up in a cheap witch outfit and heads to a cabin in the woods. The kids follow her, because that’s always smart, supernatural being or otherwise, and she does a dumb ‘flashlight over the face to make it ‘scary’’ trick, has Dave hang upside down in a bat costume and then they immediately show them the massive load of candy they can now have.

Even when Ms. Crooner and Dave pull the prank on Alvin and the others, they don’t mention what they did to her. The kids don’t feel bad about it, the adults never point out that this prank was retaliation nor do they have the kids apologize – all Dave said was he was trying to make Halloween scarier for them like Alvin wanted.

In summary, they take advantage of an elderly woman’s memory problems, milk her of candy, don’t feel bad about it, at least not enough to give up the candy, don’t even think about apologizing, and what they get in return is a fun Halloween prank, a mountain of candy and a Halloween-themed cabin to spend the rest of the night in.

Good. Parenting. Dave.

All I’m getting from this episode is a vanilla Halloween story that already feels like it’s been done before, and much better (by its own franchise, even!), as well as a screwed up moral that basically says ‘take advantage of the elderly and you’ll have fun and lots of candy!’

Look, I know kids don’t want fruit and books on Halloween, but this special is also kinda saying ‘fruit and books are terrible. Suck down that candy!’ Even when Ms. Crooner tells the kids they’ll have even more fun by reading the books she left, in addition to eating the candy pile, the kids all basically just groan and roll their eyes.

They didn’t even set up the plot properly. Where did Theodore hear about this Switch Witch? In the Werewolf movie, Alvin was obsessed with supernatural creatures and his obsessions lead him into looking too much into Mr. Talbot, who, in all fairness, was a werewolf. Here, Theodore just knows about the Switch Witch from the start with no explanation as to where this story came from. If it came from Dave, they didn’t show it or imply it.

Also, apparently, there’s a new bully character in this show, at least that’s what I think they’re going for because he’s clearly made to be an idiot and calls them ‘losers.’ His name is Cheesy…..Kay. He’s very annoying, but he was only in one scene.

I would’ve easily written this off as a harmless and boring Halloween special, but that moral, if you can even call it that, was screwed up so badly I can’t give it such a pass. Not to mention that I don’t think 11 minute holiday specials work well from the starting gate. Their plot was way too thin to stretch further, but specials always feel a bit hollow when they’re basically half episodes.

The only shining spot of this special is the music number, which was good, but it only lasts about thirty seconds and the lyrics are strange. The song is playing during a scene where they’re setting up the trap for the witch, and the lyrics…..

Well, in context, it seems like they’re singing a romantic song to the Switch Witch….for some reason.

Out of context, this song couldn’t be more stalker-y if you tried.

Alvin:

Come out, come out, wherever you are

The Chipmunks:

Why do you run from me?

I just want you next to me

You got me chasin’ you ’round and ’round, yeah

I don’t know what to do

I just want to be with you

It’s got me huffin’ and a puffin’, yeah

Come out, come out

Come out, come out, come out

Wherever you are (wherever you are)

Come out, come out

Come out, come out

This has gone too far.

What the hell is this even? I couldn’t hear half the lyrics because the music drowns them out (Poor sound editing in Alvin and Chipmunks? Mr. Bagdasarian, please have words with your staff), but then I found the rest on the Wiki and was instantly creeped out. At least the melody has a really nice beat, but wow those lyrics.

This episode is flat out not good. The ending ruins what otherwise would’ve been a boring but passable Halloween special. Even the ‘Alvinnn!’ yell at the end was forced. Watch one of the other Alvin and the Chipmunks Halloween movies I’ve reviewed instead. At least those provide more story, fun, music and even some slightly dark moments.

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