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Movies That Defined My Childhood: Batmunk

[Okay, so calling this a “film” is a huge stretch. Here’s how I see it: my childhood, my rules.]

I was browsing the electronics section of the local Target when I happened upon it: a forgotten portion of my childhood, reincarnated as a simple DVD.

Growing up, I had this unhealthy obsession with cheap knockoffs: Crayola Kids Adventures, any number of Disney ripoffs cluttering the video store bargain bin (I collected around six different reinterpretations of Hercules), etc. And the undisputed king of this bizarre sub-genre was The Chipmunks Go to the Movies, which cast everyone’s favorite trio of mischievous, squeaky-voiced rodents in “dumbed-down” adaptations of various blockbusters.

For example, “Batmunk”–the most memorable episode of the short-lived series–imagined a lighter, gentler version of Tim Burton’s Batman with Alvin as the villainous Jokester, Simon as Batmunk, and Theodore as Happy, the heroic butler. The unapologetically absurd adventure ends with poor, hapless Happy donning the cape and cowl to rescue his boss from the clutches of his arch-nemesis–which, not-so-coincidentally, wins him the heart of a certain lady chipmunk.

And I ate it up. It never occurred to me that it was just a quick cash-in; I saw it as a fun, imaginative retelling of one of my favorite stories. Now, it seems to have made a triumphant return, digitally remastered and re-released on DVD just in time for the theatrical run of The Dark Knight Rises.

There’s something poetic about that.

[Originally written August 3, 2012.]

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