Blue’s Big City Adventure, the first feature-length outing for the problem-solving pooch, is a comfortable ride for fans of Nickelodeon’s long-running interactive franchise Blue’s Clues. The movie fits the traditional narrative flow of the program while also exploring a personal scope without calling attention to its own cleverness.
Blue and her trusty companion Josh (Joshua Dela Cruz) visit New York City to attend Josh’s big-time Broadway audition. Once they arrive to the Big Apple and with several hours left on the clock until the audition, Josh discovers he left his handy dandy notebook at home – which includes the theatre’s address! In order to find the theatre’s whereabouts, Blue proposes they play Blue’s Clues to piece the address together. While searching for broad clues describing what the theatre looks like, Josh discovers three subtle clues of his own to overcome his stage fright.
Like Nickelodeon’s highly successful big screen adaptation of PAW Patrol, Blue’s Cig City Adventure opens its world up just enough to find a balance between familiarity and curiosity. For instance, during an opening musical number, the formally flat set of Josh and Blue’s house is effectively dimensionalized to allow more space to be used for the choreography; giving a new perspective to an otherwise accustomed environment. Likewise for the story’s flow, which also incorporates large and colourful musical numbers. The basic mystery elements are still present to give young viewers a reliable sense of direction, but the slight tangents are enough to keep the movie feeling fresh rather than a retread.
Unless you’re a fan of flashy musicals, Blue’s Big City Adventure is light on material that caters to parents (unlike 2019’s surprisingly subversive Dora and the Lost City of Gold). In this case however, considering how wholesome the movie is, this exclusion is fine because it distinctly narrows down who the movie is primarily for. But, adults will get a kick out of the extended cameos by BD Wong (the Jurassic World series) and Alex Winter (Bill & Ted Face the Music), as well as special appearances by former Blue’s Clues hosts Steve (Steve Burns) and Joe (Donovan Patton). The latter reunion was treated with an ecstatic reaction leading up to the movie, but Steve and Joe have reunited on the show regularly. Nevertheless, the chemistry between these two returning cornballs will slap a goofy smile on your face.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie