Blue’s Clues Goes Big in Nostalgic Musical

Dec 27, 2022

It’s been 26 years since Blue’s Clues aired its first episode, back in 1996, taking us on a journey to a magical land of mystery and fun. By breaking the fourth wall and inviting children to become part of the show, Blue’s Clues became a genuinely interactive media experience long before parents began to keep their children busy with phones and other similar devices. That might explain the franchise’s ongoing appeal, as older generations try to share with the younger audience the joy of looking for clues and solving new mini-puzzles every week. However, despite the franchise’s success, Blue hasn’t jumped from TV to film. That changes this year, as Blue’s Big City Adventure becomes the franchise’s first feature film.

Following the 2019’s reboot series continuity, Blue’s Clues & You, Blue’s Big City Adventure brings Blue (voiced by Traci Paige Johnson) and host Josh (Josh Dela Cruz) to New York City after Josh gets invited to audition for a big Broadway spectacle. The city is unlike their animated reality, though, which gets Josh and Blue lost shortly after arriving in New York. So, to find the audition address in time, they begin a new game of Blue’s Clues, asking the preschoolers’ audience to look for dog paws marking important places and piecing together what each new clue might mean.

While the feature doesn’t deviate from the series’ usual format, bringing the franchise to New York City opens a new world of possibilities. Usually, the series takes place in an animated environment where only the host is made of flesh and bone. However, in Blue’s Big City Adventure, the animated cast invades reality, spreading their joy throughout NYC. This change makes it possible to drastically expand the number of human characters, which leads to inspired musical numbers, put together under the gaze of director Matt Stawski.

Image via Paramount+

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While Blue’s Big City Adventure is the first feature film in Stawski’s career, the filmmaker has years of experience directing Grammy-awarded music videos, which proves essential for the movies’ success. As expected, Blue’s Big City Adventure has a straightforward story that even the youngest family members can follow. Unfortunately, that means there is a lot of runtime to fill in order to push the movie to a feature-length. So instead of turning around the same plot points, Stawski uses the opportunity to build a vibrant version of New York City where any object can turn into a musical instrument, and every passerby is ready to join complex dance numbers.

With four big musical numbers spread over the movie and several smaller ones, Blue’s Big City Adventure feels like a collection of music videos featuring some of the franchise’s most beloved characters. Using creative transitions, exciting performances from guest artists, and engaging choreography, Stawski turns Blue’s Big City Adventure into an homage to street art in New York, presenting a hopeful and friendly version of the Big Apple that both adults and children can enjoy. Yes, there’s enough repetition in the songs to make sure preschoolers get the message that following your dreams is a beautiful journey. Even so, since the New York City background allows the use of whole teams of dancers, Stawski transformed each presentation into a music video that stands on its own. As a result, the experience is pleasant even for adults who have already learned that wishes don’t always come true.

Image via Paramount+

Blue’s Big City Adventure also balances the novelty of the New York City scenario with the nostalgia of older generations. That’s because all three series hosts are part of the movie. Steve (Steve Burns), the first host, is now a private investigator who gets enlisted to find Blue and Josh in New York City. And to ensure he’ll get all the expert help he can, Steve reaches out to Joe (Donovan Patton), the second host, who now works at a candy and toy store.

Blue’s Big City Adventure is not the first time the three hosts have shown up together, as Steve and Joe were also part of a few Blue’s Clues & You episodes. But let’s be honest, as much as we might have enjoyed the original series, time is too short, and life moves too fast for us to follow a preschooler series nowadays. The movie, then, serves as the perfect excuse for adults to join the children in a celebration of happiness and diversity, smiling as they see some of their childhood heroes get new roles in the Blue’s Clues universe.

Blue’s Big City Adventure doesn’t revolutionize the Blue’s Clues franchise, instead sticking to the TV show’s classic beats. The movie also revolves around the commonplace message that everyone can see their dreams come true should they keep believing and trying. Even so, Blue’s Big City Adventure does more than extend an episode of the series to feature length by allowing director Stawski to explore his music video background. As a result, Blue’s Big City Adventure is a movie aimed at preschoolers that’s also enjoyable for adults, with exciting musical numbers that help break the simple story and explore the street art history of New York City. Add to that nods to the franchise’s past and the return of the original hosts, and you get a movie you won’t mind your children watching over and over again.

Rating: B

Blue’s Big City Adventure comes to Paramount+ on November 18.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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