'Shrek Forever After' Director Mike Mitchell To Helm Next 'Alvin And The Chipmunks'; May Not Be In 3D

With 'Squeakquel' no longer a part of the title, my feelings of disdain toward the prospect of an Alvin and the Chimpunks sequel lessened considerably. Credit for that was surely due to the current allure of 3D, as putting '3D' in the title seemed to satisfy the studio's need for gimmicky wordplay just fine. Now there's word that the latest entry in the franchise may not be in 3D after all, which is worrying if only because it means there's a greater likelihood that we'll instead be subjected to some god-awful pun.

Moreover, problems have arisen for production of the film, which is set to begin at the start of the new year. The original plan was to have Squeakquel director Betty Thomas (The Brady Bunch Movie, Private Parts, Doctor Dolittle) return for the third film, but she's decided to pass on the project for unknown reasons*, leaving Fox in need of a new director and fast.

*My guess? The project wasn't as creatively challenging as I Spy.

24 Frames says Fox has been hurriedly searching for a filmmaker to take over on the film, and are now in in active negotiations with Mike Mitchell to fill that need.

Mitchell's career has been an odd one, with a trajectory that lead with perverse comedies before transitioning to kiddy fare. He first directed Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo and Surviving Christmas, and then bafflingly followed those up with the seriously underrated campy teen superhero flick Sky High. Since then, he's only directed Shrek Forever After, which was at least better received than its predecessor. So if nothing else, Mitchell might make an Alvin and the Chipmunks sequel that critics aren't quite as put off by.

The plot of the third film revolves around the Chipmunks getting shipwrecked, possibly in Hawaii. The studio appears to be leaning toward a 2D release now, though Mike Mitchell's involvement could change that. Is this really a series that would benefit from the addition of 3D? Probably not; and with a worldwide gross of $361 and $443 million for each respective film thus far, I doubt it really needs it.

The release date for the film is December 16, 2011, up against Steven Spielberg's The Adventure's of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn, which opens one week later on December 23rd.