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Warner Home Video presents
Real Wheels Rescue Adventures: There Goes a Rescue Hero (2003)

"Call Fireman Dave any time you need a rescue hero."
- Fireman Dave (Dave Hood)

Review By: Jon Danziger   
Published: October 23, 2003

Stars: Dave Hood, Becky Borg
Director: Dave Hood

MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 01h:26m:31s
Release Date: September 16, 2003
UPC: 085365187023
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- BC+C+ C+

DVD Review

I'm not sure exactly why, but oh, boy, do kids love trucks. Garbage day is a celebration of sorts in our neighborhood, as the little people stick out their little heads to gawk at the grinding of gears, the crunching of trash, the majesty of these big stinky machines rumbling down the road.

So if you've got one of these types in your house, this DVD is likely to be a hit—these are three good-natured episodes, full of doofy physical comedy, introducing kids to cool gear, the people who use them, and the virtues in what they do. Our guides are Dave and Becky, adults with the self-conscious spirit of kids—they're as into all of this stuff as their audience, and they're a couple of the perkiest TV people you'll see. (Me, I'd get a headache if I was that cheery for even thirty minutes at a time, let alone all day long.) Things aren't perfect—see below—but given the inanity and violence that passes for so much children's entertainment, these will do.

In the disc's title episode, Dave and Becky introduce us to all of the folks who could help us out in an emergency: EMT workers, firefighters, lifeguards, emergency helicopter pilots. All of them are friendly, and talk warmly directly to the kids in the audience about what they do; they're respectful and clear, and most of them have some very, very cool gear. (I'm a big fan of the jaws of life, myself.) These worthwhile little bits are intercut with Dave and Becky messing around, goofing with the equipment, just generally making trouble for each other, and this leads to my two big problems here. One: they're just not very funny. Dave isn't a gifted physical comedian, and watching him fall down didn't crack a smile in our house. Two, and probably more important: a lot of their wacky antics undercut precisely the important messages that the titular heroes are teaching us about. It just can't be wise to show kids footage of Becky banging Dave in the head or giving him a full-body bandage wrap as he tries to drive, for instance, and if you've been to the beach with your kids, you don't under any circumstances want them to start to think that the lifeguards are there merely for the children's entertainment. But this was directed by Dave Hood, it stars Dave Hood, it was co-written and co-produced by Dave Hood, and it's a product of Dave Hood Entertainment—what a shocker that the guy who felt the need to put his name on this a jillion times persists in pulling focus on screen.

Next, Dave and Becky get deputized, because There Goes a Police Car, and they're riding in it. (Up front, that is.) They introduce us to the many different sorts of folks in law enforcement—cops in squad cars, motorcycle police, the shore patrol, anybody who has taken an oath to protect and serve. The officers are uniformly friendly, introducing them to us by their first names ("Hi, kids! I'm Deputy Jeff!"), and Dave and Becky make a special friend in Castor, a canine cop. The dopey slapstick isn't laid on quite as thickly here, and the deputies team up with the dog to rescue a little boy who has gone a little too far up a tree. But Dave does take a few pratfalls, and you can tell that he's trying to be funny when he shifts the bill of his cap to the side of his head.

Machines don't rescue people. People rescue people. And that's what's up in the final entry, There Goes a Rescue Hero, in which our buddy Dave goes stag—he's teamed up not with Becky, but with his scrappy little dog, Charlie. They meet the folks who will look after you if you get into trouble: firefighters, members of the Coast Guard, search-and-rescue team members, and more rescue dogs. (One of them, Sherman, is shown at work at the site of the World Trade Center; Charlie is sweet, but he's no rescue dog.) There are more instances of cool stuff, but it may get your kids thinking about just why they'd need the services of these people—groovy gear, but you don't want to get a first-hand experience with the emergency capabilities of the jaws of life.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: These seem to be shot on video, and are overly contrasty—much of this is exterior shooting, and the Southern California sunlight blasts out lots of the skin tones. No cinematographic tour de force, but serviceable.

Image Transfer Grade: C+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: Things sound fine, but nothing special—a good bit of room tone and ambient noise make the whole exercise sound very much like your own home movies.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 3 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Snapper
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Dave's blooper reel
  2. Two sing along songs
  3. Dispatch Center game
  4. glossary
Extras Review: Dave introduces us to a reel (05m:18s) of his muffs and fluffs—it's very America's Funniest Home Videos, as you probably guessed. You can sing along to We Are The Firefighters and The Fighting Machines, spirited little numbers about the good folks looking after us; the Dispatch Center game asks some basic questions about lessons your kids may have learned watching the feature, and is the most overtly educational of the extras. What's That is a glossary of terms discussed, with links to Dave or Becky (usually Dave) providing little video definitions; and a Video Preview offers a look at other titles in the series, in their VHS incarnations.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

These three episodes aren't likely to be anybody's favorite, but they're generally informative, always genial and only occasionally funny ways to pass thirty minutes or so with your kids.


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