Welcome to a special Sunday edition of the mini-DVD reviews. This week we take a look at Paramount Home Entertainment's Alvin & the Chipmunks: A Chipmunk Valentine. Alvin & the Chipmunks is of course the hit animated series that ran from 1983-1991. It was most popular in the early-mid 80s and this set has a 1984 Valentine's episode and three mini episodes from 1988 and 1989. Cartoonist Dave Seville takes care of three chipmunks: Alvin, Simon and Theodore! See my mini-DVD review of Alvin & the Chipmunks: A Chipmunk Valentine:
Alvin & the Chipmunks: A Chipmunk Valentine (Paramount, $14.99) brings a classic Valentine's Day episode and three additional loved-themed animated episodes. This is the third set from Paramount featuring the Chipmunks. The last set was the Halloween set. Previously we had the Christmas special release. Paramount has also released the Chipmunk feature film from 1987 on a separate set. This set has a 1984 half-hour Valentine's Day episode titled "I Love Chipmunks Valentine" that aired during the original series' run! I'm so glad they put that on here because 1983-1987 or so is the best version of the Chipmunks, I think. DiC took over after that and changed the animation. It was good, but I loved the original. The classic half-hour episode is a music-filled adventure as Alvin develops an alter ego after Brittany rejects his invitation to the Valentine Ball. In a dream state, he becomes a dashing Don Juan called Captain Chipmunk. I remember watching this and loving it every time they aired it in the rotation on TV. The set also has three loved-theme episodes from The Chipmunk years, like I mentioned. The classic "I Love Chipmunks Valentine" episode runs 24:03. The other three are mini episodes, meaning each half hour had two episodes when they originally aired, and we get one of them here. The mini-episodes on this set are: "Dr. Simon and Mr. Heart Throb" (11:26), "Dear Diary" (11:16) and "Theodore and Juliet" (11:48). Only one of the three mini episodes have closing credits, as they probably were the first episodes of the half-hour. No chapter stops. Packaging is simple and in the same line as the previous sets--a nice case. The menu screen has Play All and Episode Selection, with a song from the Chipmunks in the background. A colorful menu with the Chipmunks and the Chipettes. When we go to episode selection, the episodes are listed with a screenshot from the episode. The menu is designed quite well and is easy to navigate. The video and audio are decent and very watchable. The classic 1984 special episode looks very good, but not as good as the mini-episodes. I hope we get full season episodes in the future starting with the 1983 episodes. I highly do recommend any fan to pick up this set. New fans might also want to, but I am hoping Paramount (or any other studio) releases the series on DVD in order with the classic episodes, and not just select episodes from The Chipmunks years. I like the old style animation the series had on NBC from 1983-87, and glad to see it for once on these DVDs. So, hopefully we get the series on DVD from the start next, but for now go out and buy this set to make that happen before Brittany doesn't accept Alvin's invitation to the Valentine Ball!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
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Our regular ratings blog will return next Sunday, as I didn't have final numbers and I hate using the prelim fast nationals.