Remember those Saturday morning Scooby-Doo cartoons? Well they're back, in movie form. And they brought a few friends with them from the old days.
The gang's all here once again, and this time rendered in gorgeous 3D. Velma, Daphne, Fred, with Scooby and Shaggy filling out the team of Mystery Inc. return to kick some ass. Except it's less of a Scooby-Doo movie and more of a "let's reintroduce some characters from the old Hanna Barbera catalog to kids" movie. The cameos start with Dick Dastardly and Muttley and include characters like The Blue Falcon, Dyno-Mutt, and even a short run by (unga bunga) Captain Caveman. While seeing those old characters and the old running-in-place gag and sound effects that you'd expect in an old HB cartoon, this movie has a few issues with its production.
Scooby-Doo is one of the longest-running animated series and has had fans in three generations of kids so far. The antics of Scooby and Shaggy have been as timeless as the Mystery machine's 70's hippie paint job. However, there are good ways and bad ways to reboot the franchise. It has already had several reboots in the past, some pleasant (Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated), and some not-so-great (Scooby-Doo & Scrappy-Doo). However, each one had something to make it memorable and kept the core elements of the characters. This installment does something different, and I'm not sure I like it.
Scoob! starts as a typical Scooby-Doo mystery, except it really isn't. You get elements like supernatural mystery and the typical chase scenes with Scooby and Shaggy coming up with improv humor in specific settings like the old days. You even have the typical unmasking gag at the end of the show. Things change drastically at one point in the film, however. While Shaggy remains our loveable coward, willing to run first, ask questions later, the second half of "Chickens Incorporated," our pal Scooby, turns over a new leaf and decides he wants to be heroic. I'm sorry, but excuse me? A heroic Scooby-Doo? This movie already has one heroic canine in Dynomutt. This addition brings the count of canines who save the day to one too many.
The supporting cast sounds pretty good, and it's not a wonder since Fred is voiced by Zac Effron and Daphne by Amanda Seyfried. Gina Rodriguez's intonation does give Velma a decidedly Latina slant now and again, but it's easy to miss if you're not used to hearing it. Will Forte's Shaggy isn't what the crowd who grew up listening to Casey Kasem would expect, but it does a passable job. Scooby was voiced by Frank Welker, who voiced Fred in the previous series, and does so remarkably well. Other supporting characters like Dick Dastardly (Jason Issacs), the Blue Falcon (Mark Wahlberg), and Dynomutt (Ken Jeong) are excellent in their renditions.
The breakneck pacing for the movie is what you'd expect from the typical Saturday Morning Scooby-Doo cartoons. However, it's clear that even though the running time increased from a half-hour to two hours, the pacing didn't fare so well. There are moments in the middle where things drag a little, but those are relatively (and mercifully) few. Director Tony Cervone knows his audience well and does a great job at keeping the pacing flowing, even though he needs to do character development. Unfortunately, his decision in the direction of Scooby's character conflict made this into a decidedly worse film.
It's here where I'd have to air my distaste for the direction Scooby's character took in the film. There are moments of brilliance in the development of some characters, and even Daphne gets a subplot here, something she doesn't usually get in other movies. But one of the most significant aims of the film is a Saturday morning Cartoon take on The Power of Friendship. Dastardly's plot as a villain is to rescue his companion dog Muttley (which viewers who have seen Wacky Races will be all too familiar with). With Scooby and Shaggy, they already have that friendship, so to create conflict, the director drives a wedge between them. This artificial conflict breaks the spirit of Scooby's character as we've known him throughout the previous iterations of the show. In my opinion, it was probably one of the worst methods of pushing character development they could have opted for.
Scoob isn't a bad movie, and if you're not one for Scooby-Doo Lore, you might want to add one point to this overall score. It's a great reintroduction to not only Scooby but other Hanna Barbera stalwarts. The nostalgia effect plays a huge impact here and seeing Captain Caveman making a cameo had me smiling from ear to ear. I think he's one of the most underutilized characters HB ever concocted. If you want to drop one from the overall score for nostalgia, you'd be welcome to do so.
All in all, the film performs the task it was designed for - creating a story that younger viewers will enjoy, reintroducing them to the Scooby-Doo franchise. At the same time, it offers bits and pieces of old Hanna Barbera cartoons to play on the nostalgia angle. For those who are deep into the lore, you'd notice a nod to former voice actor Don Messick in one of the locations they mention. It's not a perfect film, but it's well worth a two-hour watch to relive old hijinks.Disclaimer : The views expressed in this article belong to the writer and are not necessarily shared by trinikid.com