I once asked my three year old niece Katie what her favorite cartoon was and she gleefully blurted out- "SCOOBY DOO!" Which was cool because "Scooby Doo" was one of my favorite toons too and decades later has found a new following of fans. Now, I know the track record for cartoons turned into live action movies has been pretty rocky, so with cautious anticipation I went to a Saturday morning screening of "Scooby Doo".
"Scooby Doo" embraces Shaggy's view of the world. It's all in what you make of it. On one hand, there's plenty to dislike about this new "Scooby Doo". The plot is predictable, there's just a few too many gross out jokes, and you wish the 3D rubbery rendered Scooby had more screen time. But if you adopt Shaggy's positive vibe philosophy, you can check your brain and expectations at the door and still enjoy the ride. The movie begins with a ghost clown bad guy foiled by the "meddling kids" of Mystery Inc..
Right off you see the strength of this adaptation is in its casting. The actors pull off the move from cel-animated toons into live people with flavor and style. At first you may long to hear Casey Casem as the craggily voice of Shaggy, but Matthew Lilliard grows on you as the lanky fun loving hippie and quickly you're ready to hang out in the smoking Mystery Machine sharing Scooby Snacks with him and Scooby dooby doo. Big name stars like Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sara Michelle Gellar carry their real life romance to the screen as Fred and Daphne and by the end of the film Gellar comes through with some Buffy-esque moves that we know and love.
And as for Velma, well maybe I just have a thing for girls that wear glasses but Linda Cardellini as Velma is Hot! Velma's nasal nitpicking notation of details explains the storyline, which involves Rowan Atkinson as the creepy British owner of the Spooky Island spring break party resort where college co-eds are being transformed into slang-jiving zombies. The rest unfolds with nice use of signature Scooby sound effects and gags which cement the fun and brings a smile. The story even plays into "Scooby Doo" fans worst fears and vilifies the most hated character from the cartoon.
"Scooby Doo" is the kind of air-conditioned fluff that is meant to fill theatres during the dog days of summer and will make for in-flight laughs in the fall. And as trite and meaningless as it may be, If you're in the mood for it, Scooby hits the mark and delivers on the Saturday morning laughs that you came in for. Zoiks!
For Movie Magazine this is Purple.
© 2002 - Purple - Air Date: 6/12/02
USA - 2002