| Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about|
the entire movie.
While the three are playing an arcade game of "Around the World in Thirty Days" with the Chipettes, Alvin and Brittany argue over which would win an actual race around the world. Diamond smugglers Klaus and Claudia Vorstein overhear the conversation and approach the children, telling them that they will provide them with the means for a real race around the world by hot air balloon, with the winner receiving $100,000.
After tricking Miss Miller, the Chipmunks and Chipettes meet at the Vorsteins' mansion, where they are told the rules: each team is given a separate route to follow, along with a chest of dolls, made in their own likenesses, which they are required to drop off to verify that they have visited all checkpoints.
Upon dropping off one of their own dolls, they will receive a doll made in the likeness of the opposing team. In reality, the dolls being dropped off are filled with diamonds, and the dolls received are filled with cash, given to them by the buyers. Both teams begin their travels; while the Chipmunks go to Mexico City, the Chipettes are caught in a hurricane and Brittany comes very close to becoming eaten by a shark.
Unknown to both teams, however, they are being trailed by two INTERPOL agents, sent by Inspector Jamal, who was informed by Klaus and Claudia's butler, Mario, of the Vorstein's operation. The agents silently follow behind as the Chipmunks and Chipettes travel to many exotic locations. Both teams meet up in Athens, where Alvin and Brittany begin bickering, each claiming they can "out-rock and roll" the other, with Dave and the two INTERPOL agents nearly spotting them.
The Chipettes then travel on to Egypt, where they are captured and brought to a young Arabian prince. The prince falls in love with Brittany and, oblivious to the diamond smuggling, agrees to return the valuable dolls to Jamal but declares that he is keeping the girls, and making Brittany his bride.
Despite being showered with gifts, including a baby penguin, the Chipettes are desperate to make an escape. Still unaware of the contents of their dolls, they secretly try to retrieve them - only to find them guarded by snakes. Brittany and Jeanette "charm" the snakes by singing "Getting Lucky", then grab the dolls and escape just as Eleanor arrives carrying a small cooler.
Meanwhile, the Chipmunks are camping in a jungle near a native village while taking a shortcut. Theodore senses something is wrong; Simon and Alvin don't believe him. Upon waking up the next morning, they find Theodore missing. While trying to find him, Alvin and Simon are taken captive by some local natives. They soon learn that Theodore is being worshipped as the natives' "Prince of Plenty". Alvin and Simon are quickly forced to wear loincloths and are made into Theodore's personal servants.
Meanwhile, the Chipettes learn that Eleanor's cooler contains not only food, but the baby penguin, whom Eleanor feels needs to be returned to its parents in Antarctica. The girls soon decide to head to Antarctica and sing the song "My Mother". However, Claudia is alerted to the girls' actions by her henchmen, and concludes that they must have discovered the diamonds and are trying to make off with them. She orders her henchmen to get the dolls back. As the girls deliver the penguin to its parents, they are attacked by Claudia's henchmen. The Chipettes wrestle with the men as they attempt to steal the dolls, and a doll tears as the henchman falls from the balloon.
Grateful to the Chipettes, the penguins snowball the henchmen into submission as the girls escape. They then notice the torn Chipette doll lying on the floor of the balloon; Jeanette picks it up and diamonds fall out of it. Opening a Chipmunk doll, they find it full of dollar bills, and realize that the whole race was just a set-up to deliver the diamonds. Realizing that the Chipmunks are likely in danger as well, they head off to find them.
Alvin and Simon, meanwhile, are forced to search a nearby cave for mushrooms, with Alvin growing increasingly fed-up with the situation. Inside the cave, they find a series of ideograms on the walls, which Simon is able to translate -thanks to his vast intellect. The ideograms tell of the Prince of Plenty being sacrificed on a full moon, which is tonight.
Before long, all three Chipmunks are tied to stakes by the natives, hanging precariously above a pit full of crocodiles. In a desperate attempt to delay their own deaths, they sing "Wooly Bully," which pleases the natives and lasts just long enough for the Chipettes to rescue them.
Together in the Chipettes' balloon, the kids return to Los Angeles, where they are met at the airport by Klaus and Claudia. After a high energy chase through the baggage claim (as the Chipettes sing Diamond Dolls), the two groups are forced into a car under the false threat of Miss Miller's being kidnapped.
Dave is arriving home to the airport at the same time, and hears Alvin's cries for help. Inspector Jamal runs up, identifying himself and he and Dave begin to make chase. While it at first appears that Klaus and Claudia will escape, they are accidentally run off the road by Miss Miller, who was heading to the airport to pick up Dave. The diamond smugglers are arrested.
Brittany and Alvin argue over who really won the race, but Dave breaks up the argument and guides them to Miss Miller's car. Alvin tries to explain what happened, causing Dave to yell "ALVIN!" as the film ends.
- Ross Bagdasarian as Dave Seville, Alvin and Simon
- Janice Karman as Theodore, Brittany, Jeanette, and Eleanor
- Dody Goodman as Miss Miller
- Anthony De Longis as Klaus Vorstein, a European diamond smuggler
- Susan Tyrrell as Claudia Vorstein, another European diamond smuggler and Klaus' sister
- Frank Welker as Sophie, the Vorsteins' pet Yorkshire Terrier puppy and Baby penguin
After the success of his animated cartoon series on NBC, Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. began developing a concept for a full-length feature film. Fortunately for Bagdasarian Productions, the box-office failure of Disney's The Black Cauldron in 1985 had led to the layoff of a number of Disney animators, whom Bagdasarian promptly hired to work on his film. The result was extremely high-caliber animation.
Bagdasarian and his wife Janice Karman decided to finance the project themselves, having generated so much revenue from the Alvin and the Chipmunks TV series. Their decision to work with several overseas studios led to major production delays. By late 1986, production had fallen far behind schedule, and a shortage of time and money resulted in major cuts being made to the film.
The film was promoted one year before its release, at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival.
The film score of The Chipmunk Adventure was composed by Randy Edelman and performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Several songs throughout the film were performed by both The Chipmunks and The Chipettes. On April 1, 2008, the soundtrack was re-released as a bonus CD with the film's DVD.
- Track listing
- "Chipmunk Adventure Theme" - Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
- "I, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi/Cuanto le Gusta - The Chipmunks
- "Off to See the World - The Chipmunks and the Chipettes
- "Weekend in France, Italy, England, Amsterdam, Greece..." - David Seville and the Chipmunks (heard instrumentally in the film)
- "The Girls and Boys of Rock and Roll" - The Chipmunks and the Chipettes
- "Flying with the Eagles" - The Chipmunks and the Chipettes (a shortened instrumental version of the chorus heard as part of a longer piece of music during the start of the race)
- "Getting Lucky" - The Chipettes
- "Mexican Holiday" - The Chipmunks (heard instrumentally in the film)
- "My Mother" - The Chipettes
- "Wooly Bully" - The Chipmunks
- "Diamond Dolls" - The Chipettes
- Songs heard in the film but not on the album
- "Underwaterture" - Randy Edelman. Lengthy piece of music recorded for the underwater sequence. Unreleased on record.
- "Come On-a My House" - Dody Goodman. Unreleased on record. Sung briefly by Miss Miller.
- "A Matter of Fact" - Electric Light Orchestra. Recorded in 1986 by that band as source music for the film's "Wooly Bully" sequence. First released as the B-Side to the UK version of that band's "So Serious" single, four months ahead of the film's release. Unavailable in the U.S. until 1990 in its inclusion on that band's first box set, Afterglow.
- "Witch Doctor" - Dody Goodman. Unreleased on record. Sung briefly by Miss Miller.
Though scheduled for Christmas 1986, The Chipmunk Adventure opened on May 22, 1987. With an opening weekend take of $2,584,720, it ultimately grossed $6,804,312 in North America alone.
The film was produced by Bagdasarian Productions, and distributed to movie theatres by The Samuel Goldwyn Company. It was released on VHS by Lorimar in the 1980s, Just for Kids Video in the early 1990s, and Universal Studios Home Entertainment in the late 1990s. On May 23, 2006, the movie was released on DVD by Paramount Home Entertainment digitally remastered from the original 35mm film and presented with 5.1 surround sound. A special edition DVD re-release of the film with a bonus CD (which is the same soundtrack disc) was released on April 1, 2008, which matches that of the live-action/computer-animated Alvin and the Chipmunks and another DVD volume of Alvin and the Chipmunks Go to the Movies.
In his Family Guide to Movies on Video, Henry Herx deemed the film a "charming, lighthearted diversion for the younger set" and remarked that it resembled "a musical revue of pop tunes".
In contrast, Siskel & Ebert condemned the movie, saying it would inspire kids to "trick their parents & run away from home" and that some parents left theaters rather than let their children be exposed to the chipmunk misbehavior. Both also criticised the plot and the chipmunks' squeaky, high-pitched voices.