Paramount // 1996 // 98 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Lacey Worrell (Retired) // June 1st, 2005
Make your dreams come true in Blue's Room with the power of imagination!
Blue's Clues, which has aired for years as a staple of Nick Jr.'s programming and is beloved by parents and kids alike, features a live host, Steve (who was followed years later by Joe), who, along with the viewers at home, locates paw-print clues left around the house by lively little Blue, a computer-animated dog. Once Steve or Joe has collected three clues and recorded them in his "handy-dandy" notebook, he sits in the thinking chair to make sense out of them. As Blue doesn't talk, it is the only way to know what Blue is thinking.
In Blue's Room, the far weaker spin-off of Blue's Clues, the computer-animated Blue is replaced by a live-action puppet who can speak. In lieu of Steve or Joe, Blue is joined by several puppet friends, as well as a talking easel, trunk, jukebox, and chair. Blue's Clues -- Blue's Room -- Beyond Your Wildest Dreams is a compilation of both shows, which only emphasizes the vast disparity in quality between the two.
This DVD contains two main episodes that focus on Blue's Room, as well as two bonus episodes of the original Blue's Clues with host Steve.
In "Beyond Your Wildest Dreams," Blue and her friends encourage viewers to use their imaginations to travel to the jungle and become jungle animals, such as lions and monkeys. Blue's room is transformed into a jungle with colorful flowers and trees.
In "Play Dates," which mixes the computer animation of Blue's Clues with a small segment of Blue's Room, each character takes viewers on a special activity. Mailbox helps to deliver the mail, Joe sings and dances, cat Periwinkle does magic tricks, and Blue takes viewers to a live-action segment of Blue's Room, where there is an emphasis on firefighters.
In the bonus episode "Blue's Collection," Steve shares his collection of striped things, while Blue shares her collection of circles. When a circle comes up missing, Steve must search for clues around the house to find it. The other bonus episode, "The Wrong Shirt," focuses on simple pairs of opposites, such as day and night, up and down, in and out, and hot and cold.
Blue's Room is wholly uninspired and crawls along at an incredibly slow pace. Blue's Clues is slow-paced as well, but in a refreshing way; as Steve or Joe encourages the audience to help him find clues, the suspense, or as much suspense as could be expected for the toddler set, mounts until the clues are put together and interpreted. Blue's Room is simply boring. What little storyline exists is weak and unimaginative, and the novelty of having Blue speak intelligible words wears off after the first 30 seconds or so. The computer-animated Blue is much more endearing. Whereas Blue's Clues is educational in an unobtrusive way, the constant encouragement of the characters in Blue's Room for viewers to use their imaginations quickly wears thin.
Both hosts of Blue's Clues, Steve and Joe, are excellent at engaging little viewers through animated facial expression, movement, and looking directly at the camera to ask the viewers questions. Considering that each has no other actor to prompt them, they do a remarkable job. The voice acting in Blue's Room is okay, but, like all the other elements, it simply is not up to the standards of the original show. The lack of a host with the charisma of Steve or Joe, in favor of focusing solely on the puppets, is also a glaring omission.
The special features enable viewers to watch the shameless promos for other Nick Jr. DVDs again (as if having to wade through them before the program starts is just not enough). There is a brief "music video" that features construction equipment, as well as a very simple matching game that encourages viewers to match a picture at the bottom of the television screen with an item in Blue's room. For kids under six or so, parents will need to assist with the game -- the instructions are written rather than spoken, and little ones will need help navigating the screen with the remote control.
Perhaps the most curious special feature is the "Nicktrition Tips for Parents," which consists of two on-screen pages of highly original advice, like encouraging kids to exercise and consume foods like string cheese, whole grain crackers, and yogurt. I'm guessing this is Nick's attempt to combat the epidemic of childhood obesity. But let's face it -- the reason kids are overweight isn't because parents don't know any better, it's because many parents choose the convenience of packaged, high-calorie foods over things like cut-up vegetables. And given the choice between a box of cookies or some mixed vegetables, what do you think kids are going to choose?
Overall, the picture and sound quality are both very good, and the DVD's 98 minute run time is generous, considering many DVDs aimed at children clock in at the 60-70 minute range. But in the end, this is clearly a case of quantity over quality.
This collection is not representative of the overall quality of the original Blue's Clues show. In a Disney-esque effort to capitalize on an established brand name, the unnecessary Blue's Room deserves to be ignored.
The Court orders the gallery (a.k.a. harried parents) to TiVo the endless reruns of Blue's Clues that air daily on television. Skip this DVD.
Review content copyright © 2005 Lacey Worrell; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Release Year: 1996
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Episodes
* Blue's Imagination Match-up Game
* Nicktrition Tips for Parents
* Baby Nick Jr. Music Video