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Scooby-Doo Meets Aliens; 'Blues Clues' Likable Video



Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders. Warner Home Video. $20; (DVD, $25).

Zoicks--Halloween, 1960s-style. Hippie-era throwback Shaggy and Scooby-Doo, his canine sidekick (or is it the other way around?), find something to think about besides food: romance. While the pair and their mystery-solving pals meet up with some big, ugly, mean and green extraterrestrials in a remote desert town, Shaggy and Scoob meet their groovy, flower-power soul mates--a gorgeous nature photographer and her golden retriever. In true "Scooby-Doo" fashion, though, things aren't always what they seem. What are those clean-cut government researchers really doing? What's with the hostile mechanic? Can long-distance romance ever work? An entertaining, well-crafted romp for Scooby fans.

Blue's Big Musical Movie. Paramount Home Entertainment. $20; (DVD: $25). 75 minutes.

There's not a false note in this first feature-length, direct-to-video, music-themed version of Nickelodeon's outstanding preschooler show, "Blue's Clues." It has all the ingredients that make the TV show shine: boyish human host Steve Burns, whose sincerity and immense likability have made him as integral to the show as little animated puppy Blue; the three-dimensional, animated paper and fabric cutout characters and backgrounds; a puzzle for viewers to help figure out, with nifty play-and-learn detours along the way; and long, relaxed pauses that enable viewers to respond to questions and feel that they are actively involved in what they are seeing.

There's more to this movie than extra length, though. Host Burns and pals--puppy Blue, Shovel and Pail, Tickety Tock Clock, Mr. Salt and Ms. Pepper, Slippery Soap, Sidetable Drawer, newcomer Periwinkle Cat and other members of Blue's world--are getting ready to put on a backyard musical show called "You Can Be Anything You Want to Be."

As they solve problems and work together to make costumes, build the stage, bake snacks, rehearse and try to puzzle out who Blue's duet partner will be, Periwinkle thinks it's going to be a magic show and practices tricks. Steve wishes that just once he could find Blue's clue before the viewing audience, and Sidetable Drawer is yearning to sing in the show but is too shy to ask.

The highlight is a beautifully crafted segment about music basics, as Steve learns something about high and low notes, rhythm, tempo and a little bit of soul from none other than Ray Charles, who voices an animated G-Clef (wearing shades), and the Notes--musical notes voiced by the godfathers of a capella, the Persuasions.

The outstanding original music--jazz, gospel, blues--by Nick Balaban and Michael Rubin--is both sophisticated and accessible, with appeal to all ages. What a treat.

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