Ever since Alvin And The Chipmunks starting releasing hit records in the late 1950s, kids have been slowing down those popular platters to hear what the little rodents’ voices really sound like. That obsession with demystifying the Chipmunks by taking away their signature gimmick has never really abated. Just a few months back, a SoundCloud account called chipmunkson16speed managed to turn some vintage 1980s Chipmunk sides into avant garde art in that same basic manner. And now, practiced pop culture prankster Neil Cicierega has provided this service for the Alvin And The Chipmunks movie franchise with a three-hour-long video called “Tripmunks.” What Cicierega has done here is to overlay all four films in the series on top of one another and to play them at half speed. For those who have wondered what it might be like to down a quart of Robitussin and mainline a bunch of CGI-heavy children’s films during a lost weekend, this video provides the answer. In essence, this is the screwed and chopped (chipped?) Alvin remix that virtually no one was requesting.
What’s remarkable here is that, by slowing down the films to a crawl, “Tripmunks” emerges as something not entirely unintelligible. Distinct lines of dialogue do manage to rise about the din every once in a while, and certain images linger long enough onscreen to be recognizable. The slow, steady degradation of comedian David Cross is quite discernible here. The title invites an obvious comparison to a drug trip, but the viewing experience can also be described as dreamlike: a patchwork of sounds and images with no clear purpose or narrative. This is the Chipmunks film that David Lynch might have made, if he had been entrusted with the franchise and given complete artistic freedom.