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Fisher-Price presents
Rescue Heroes: The Movie (2003)

"Sir, no one gets left behind."
- Rocky Canyon (Joe Motiki)

Review By: Jon Danziger   
Published: December 01, 2003

Stars: Norm Spencer, Joe Motiki, Lenore Zann, Deb Odell, Rod Wilson, Martin Roach, Cal Dodd
Director: Ron Pitts

MPAA Rating: G
Run Time: 01h:18m:01s
Release Date: November 18, 2003
UPC: 012236146728
Genre: animation

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C- DC+B- C

DVD Review

The jig's up on this one even before the shrink wrap is off the DVD case. Look at the bottom right corner of the cover—see the Fisher-Price logo? That right there is the raison d'être for Rescue Heroes, and it seems a little like the tail wagging the dog. Goodness knows, product placement has been a staple of films and TV shows for decades now, and no summer blockbuster is complete unless you can find it on a Happy Meal. But the conventional model is for toy companies and fast food outlets to ride the crest of the wave created by a movie, not to create the movie themselves. You can almost see the wheels turning in the head of some high-powered consultant for Fisher-Price: what if we cut out the middleman, didn't have the inconvenience of those darn creative types, and made the movie ourselves?

So what you get here is basically a feature-length infomercial for the action figures the kids just have to have (that is, if all goes according to plan, anyway). Take one more look at the DVD cover, and you'll see what looks like, to me as a parent, a threat: "Starring in their FIRST Full-Length Feature!" Oh, the humanity!

And so what you get here isn't really offensive—it's just kind of boring, and the animation is crude and ugly. The Rescue Heroes are a do-gooding bunch, and their hearts are in the right place—you can't quibble with wanting to teach kids the virtues of things like equality and service to others. The racial, gender, and demographic balances look as if they were spat out by some big-time number crunchers—the effect is hollow, though, and the Rescue Heroes don't look like America; they look more like the Village People. (Especially with that little moustache on their leader.)

If you or others in your home are big into the Rescue Heroes, you probably haven't read this far, and you certainly don't need me to tell you what happens in the tepid feature. But I've got my own little dOc focus group on site, and I can report back that something is deeply wrong with this alleged piece of children's entertainment when I had to coax my six-year-old son back to the TV to watch just a few minutes more of this with his old man. Rescue Heroes commits the cardinal sin of children's entertainment: it's boring.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: D


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Colors are gaudy and garish, no doubt deliberately so. The animation is not of high quality, but the transfer to DVD is decent, at least.

Image Transfer Grade: C+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Both the stereo and the 5.1 tracks sound a little tinny, but are relatively free of aural interference.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 19 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in Spanish with remote access
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Hot Wheels World Race, Rescue Heroes: Mission Select (game)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. two bonus TV episodes
  2. Rescue Heroes Team Profiles
Extras Review: The magic continues with two bonus episodes from the Rescue Heroes' TV show, Up Up and Uh Oh and Canyon Catastrophe. If you didn't get the whole thing about product placement, take a look at the trailer for Hot Wheels World Race; and you can bone up on your Rescue Heroes trivia with the accompanying team profiles. Collect 'em all!

Extras Grade: C


Final Comments

If you absolutely have to, buy the action figures and let the kids make up their own Rescue Heroes stories, because theirs are sure to be more entertaining and imaginative than this.


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