Right off the bat, let me say this: Underdog was fantastic. No one's disputing that. But those halcyon days are quickly fading from my juvenile memory, and I find myself--and I think I speak for my whole demographic here--yearning for something new. Something fresh, yet familiar. Something with Jason Lee.
And I'm not talking sequel or tie-in here. I need something completely and totally original, something so unique and young that it positively screams out to my age bracket. I'm talking franchise rebranding. And as a conscientious ten-year-old viewer, I will accept no less.
But what franchise? What long-discarded premise can be plucked from the dust of antiquity, polished and refashioned into something I, an adorable tyke, will want to see again and again? One thing's for certain: it will need some references to hip-hop culture. You know, to speak to my generation.
By the very Gods, I've got it! Alvin and the Chipmunks! What better franchise to turn into a movie than an irrelevant 80's cartoon sitcom that I've neither seen nor have any understanding of?! Much like the brilliant masterworks Inspector Gadget and Shaggy Dog, it's got the perfect mix of dated characters and plot with the opportunity for garish computer enhancement. By God, it's enough to make me wet my ten-year-old pants.
But there are a few elements missing from the original show. If they're going to make it right, make it "now," they're going to need to jazz it up a bit. And by jazz, I mean a nice gloss of fubu, some 70's funk references to go right over my head, and a healthy dose of x-treme attitude. We're talking Sonic the Hedgehog, Bart Simpson, and other characters I have only a vague understanding of. Yeah, something like that would really get me throwing desperate tantrums.
Oh, and a scene where someone eats poop! As a child, there's nothing I find funnier than fecal play. And upping the ante from a mud pie to animal waste really lets me know that this isn't my grandpa's kids movie. It's a whole new paradigm, one that's not afraid to “go there” and be “in my face.”
Naturally, the parents will need something to keep them in the seats. I can't tell you how often I've had a wonderful film experience ruined when I realized my Mom wasn't having any fun. I'm just empathetic like that, you know? So for her sake, they'd better cast an obscure underground comedian, known almost exclusively for filthy, controversial humor. Did someone say David Cross? I don't know who that is, but I'm sure Mom will find his gentrified, whitewashed bit part extremely satisfying.
So what have we got? Fubu'd out CG animals with whiny, high-pitched voices: check. There's your relatability right there. After all, I'm nothing if not a fan of black culture, and even I have to admit my voice can get a little nasally around nap time.
Next? A single-parent familial relationship that encourages unhealthy acting out and the eating of waste: check. Hell, I'm so suggestible I might just try it myself! Or better yet, I could get Mom to buy me an Alvin and the Chipmunks poop-eating playset! If they don't market something like that, they're going to be missing out on a lot of merch revenue, I can tell you that much.
And finally? A soundtrack evenly divided between classic rock and funk songs with no nostalgic significance for me and sly snippets from sexually suggestive contemporary hip-hop that I won't hear for four more years: check.
Yes, a film like that would easily be the most successful kid's movie of the year; I'd bet all of the old Mighty Max toys I inherited from my older brother on it. At least, as long as they handled the advertising properly, with plenty of trailers that make it look like an action movie and reference Beatlemania, another historical phenomenon of which I have no knowledge, but am sure would really pique my interest.
With any luck, the movie will spawn a retooled version of the old cartoon show. Then I can rock out to the a stiffly-animated Alvin and company five afternoons a week, and purchase whatever no-doubt captivating products are advertised between the eight-minute blocks of bright color and screeching.
It's certainly an exciting time to be ten years old in America. Now where's my Superfriends sippy cup?
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2009 Those Aren't Muskets!