Nickelodeon // 2010 // 94 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dan Mancini (Retired) // September 19th, 2010
"Everyone gets everything he wants. I wanted a mission, and for my sins, they gave me one -- brought it up to me like room service. It was a real choice mission, and when it was over, I never wanted another." -- Diego Márquez (okay, maybe not)
A spin-off of mega-hit kiddie show Dora the Explorer, Go Diego Go! premiered on Nickelodeon in the fall of 2005 and ran for five years, coming to an end in August of 2010. Aimed at preschoolers and early elementary school kids, it concerns the adventures of Dora's 8-year-old cousin Diego Márquez, who, along with his pal Baby Jaguar, rescues endangered animals in the rainforest (and elsewhere). The structure of each episode is simple and predictable: Diego hears an animal cry out for help, and then he and Baby Jaguar are off to the rescue. The duo uses basic problem-solving skills, a few gadgets, and help from their audience of rugrats to save the animal. During each adventure, viewers learn about the animal being rescued and its habitat, as well as a little Spanish.
Diego's Ultimate Rescue League serves up three episodes from the series:
* "Diego's International Rescue League"
In this double-length episode, Diego teams with international animal experts (and children) Shanti (India), Juma (Africa), Burgin (Borneo), and Yang (China) on an expedition to Rescue Island. There, the team must successfully complete timed rescue challenges in order to earn their World Rescuers patches.
* "Ocean Animal Rescuer"
Diego, Bottlenose Dolphin, and Baby Humpback scramble to save ocean life from a deadly oil spill.
* "Diego Rescues Prince Vicuña"
Prince Vicuña hasn't returned from an expedition, and King and Queen Vicuña are worried. Diego and Messenger Vicuña must climb over mountains to get to Puma Pass where they can rescue the Prince.
The episodes themselves are typical Go Diego Go! fare. "Diego's International Rescue League" broadens the show's canvas slightly by opening up the running time and adding a team of new friends with which Diego can interact. But the two-parter still hews closely to the series' beats, ensuring that young viewers can revel in the predictability and come away with the intended lessons about ecology. "Ocean Animal Rescuer" and "Diego Rescues Prince Vicuña" are typical episodes of the show, deviating from the formula not one iota. Pitched at a slightly older audience, Go Diego Go! is slightly easier for adults to tolerate than Dora the Explorer (there's no whiny map!). Still, if you've seen one episode of the show, you've seen them all. It's sort of pointless to critique the series as I'm not exactly its target demographic, but its major flaw is that it's far more interested in endowing young children with some sense of ecological awareness than in telling a story or presenting characters that are, well, actual characters. To the extent that Diego has a personality (and he really doesn't), it is the same bossy, chirpy, too-enthusiastic personality as his cousin Dora. The kid spends an inordinate amount of time staring wide-eyed at his young viewers and commanding them to perform some ridiculous action in order to assist him in his rescue adventure. It's borderline creepy.
As with Dora the Explorer on DVD, the audio/video presentation of Ultimate Rescue League is acceptable, but underwhelming. The full frame transfers sport decent color, but are a tad soft. They're also plagued by interlacing artifacts, albeit minor ones. Audio is presented in a simple stereo mix that matches the show's broadcast presentation. All in all, the episodes included look and sound only marginally better than they would on Nickelodeon (if at all). But, hey, that won't stop the show's young fans from enjoying what they find here.
Not guilty...if you're a 5-year-old.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site