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Paramount Studios presents

Blue's Clues: ABC's, 123's and More (2004)

"We sat on down, figured it out,
What Blue's clues are all about.
Wow! You know what? We're really smart!"- Joe (Donovan Patton)

Stars: Donovan Patton, Steven Burns
MPAA Rating: Not RatedRun Time: 04h:52m:01s
Release Date: 2004-10-26
Genre: television

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Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- A-B+B D

 

DVD Review

Perhaps it's the Indiana Jones movies that strike your fancy. Or you're a Lord of the Rings kind of person. Well, if you're under ten, or spend time with those who are, the DVD trilogy that may get the most use in your home isn't about a swashbuckling archaeologist or Middle Earth, but will probably be this one, three discs offering twelve edifying and pleasant episodes of one of the great successes of kids' TV. The Blue's Clues formula is tried and true now: with our faithful guide (either Steve or his little brother Joe), we track down Blue's three paw prints, to figure out the puzzle of the day. Add cute animation and a good dose of music, and you've got yourself hours of pre-school fun.

The first disc, Blue Takes You to School, begins with an episode of the same title, and by "you" we mean Periwinkle the cat, who is off on the first day of the new term. We join Joe in a hunt for clues as to what Blue's favorite part of the school day is, and we get to meet Peri's classmates and perky teacher, Mrs. Marigold. The only criticism of this episode: Joe seems to have gotten a very, very bad haircut. Then it's the new math, because there are Numbers Everywhere!—Joe tells us his favorite number (1), and it's our job to figure out Blue's. Very basic algebra goes over mighty easily in this one, an artful way to make mathematics seem like something more palatable than castor oil.

Each disc in the set includes what are referred to as bonus episodes, but really, they're more of the same, so here we go: in the first of these on the first disc, our old buddy Steve is back, to help us out with Blue's ABCs. Somebody has gone hog wild with the label maker, and everything has its name plastered to it; our job is to find out what Blue's favorite book is. Highlight of the episode is undoubtedly a shopping spree with the condiment family—that's Mr. Salt, Mrs. Pepper, and baby Paprika. Steve sticks around for a lesson in Math, in which we're busily counting apples and graham crackers, trying to discover what Blue needs at the store, and going shopping with Steve for a new hat—green really is his color.

On to Disc Two, to learn all about Shapes and Colors!. In the first episode, Joe and Blue are first-rate Shape Searchers, finding polygons everywhere; it's our job to help Joe figure out Blue's favorite place to look for shapes. The highlight of this one, for me, anyway: the letter from Joe's friends comes straight from the heartland of America, the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and features the kids waving goodbye from Strawberry Fields. Next, since fingerpainting is kind of a mess, Joe and the crew take it outside, so there are Colors Everywhere!. Everybody is at work on a grand mural, a collective self-portrait, the Portrait of Pals, and it's our job to figure out who Blue wants to add to the canvas.

On the first of this disc's bonus episodes, it's Steve's turn in the studio, for Adventures in Art, with an emphasis on color blending; we help the artist search for the perfect subject, as we play Blue's Clues to find out what Blue wants to paint. Then, Steve can see that she's made her fill of newspaper hats, so the question is: What Does Blue Want to Make? Aside from being another winning episode, this one features a yummy recipe for banana cake.

In the title episode of the third disc, our constant canine companion is doing her best Benny Goodman, and we and Joe are trying to figure out what she wants to play in Blue's Big Band. In this one, everybody's got rhythm, especially Notorious Side Table Drawer, who's gone hip hop on us, and a hepcat Mailbox on percussion. Next, everybody in the house is feeling a little sleepy, so it's time to take care of Bedtime Business, an installment highlighted by Joe's rousing rendition of the Toothbrush Tango.

In the first bonus episode here, Steve is ready for another chorus of "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes," but his dog is having none of it, for Blue Wants to Play a Song Game!, and we've got to figure out which one. And finally, it's a day to play inside, so the burning question is: What Does Blue Wanna Do on a Rainy Day? It's a very musical installment, giving Steve a chance to do a little soft shoe, and to perform a duet with Sidetable Drawer on the Anvil Chorus. If, after watching all twelve of these episodes on all three discs, the kids still aren't satisfied, well, then it's probably time to get out of the house.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: Strong, saturated and consistent colors give these episodes as much vibrancy as the giant box of Crayolas with the cool little sharpener on the back. A little garish for my taste, but I am decades beyond being part of the target audience.

Image Transfer Grade: B+
 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: More treble than bass, and sometimes things sound a little tinny; but the sound quality will be adequate for keeping their attention.

Audio Transfer Grade:

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
5 Other Trailer(s) featuring What movies are the other trailers? Jimmy Neutron, Rugrats, Charlotte’s Web, Rugrats Go Wild, Charlotte's Web 2
2 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
3 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Parents' Guide
Extras Review: On each of the first two discs, you'll find a brief look at Oobi, The Friend Who Is Always With You, little more than promos for another show on a sister network. Disc One features Blue's School Search Game, with questions and answers along the lines of Where's Waldo?. Discs Two and Three have a Parents' Guide, brief notes on the educational concepts and goals at work in these episodes.

Extras Grade: D
 

Final Comments

One dog to rule them all. Or to entertain and educate the single-digit crowd. A box full of fun with Steve, Joe and Blue that kids and their caregivers are sure to love.

Jon Danziger 2004-12-15