The new Scooby-Doo animated film features some well-crafted animation and great chemistry between Shaggy and Scooby, but it feels like it never gets going and doesn’t deliver the same mystery us fans have grown to love.
Many fans were excited about another Scooby-Doo movie, me being one of them. I can’t say I’m a diehard fan of the series, but I do think it’s one which is unique in terms of the premise and subject matter. There’s something about a group of teenagers who go around solving supernatural mysteries with a talking Great Dane that’s very intriguing. In fact, as a child, it was always very fun to imagine doing the same thing with some of my own friends, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that thought process.
For the most part, I’ve always enjoyed the episodes I’ve seen, especially the original ones from the late 60’s and throughout the 70’s. However, the version of Scooby-Doo I resonate with the most is the 2002 version with Matthew Lillard, Freddie Prinze Jr., and so on. It came out at a appropriate time in my childhood where I was still very much into cartoons and seeing these characters come to life in a live-action format was a very exciting prospect at that point in my life. It may not be the best movie, but I still think it’s pretty fun and full of good performances from the those involved. Plus, I think it’s about as good as a live-action Scooby-Doo can be when you consider what it really is.
The new animated version, SCOOB!, starts off pretty great, if I’m being honest. It brings you in with its uniquely well-made animated. It also delivers more of an origin story about how Shaggy met Scooby when he was still a mere pup. Playing off the story of Shaggy being a loner and searching for a friend, Scooby so happens to come into his life at the right moment. Soon after, they meet the rest of the gang while trick or treating on Halloween and venture into this haunted house in the neighborhood. Sure enough, that’s how it all truly begins.
Sadly, I can’t say there’s much else going on in the movie that lives up to the introduction. I thought it would’ve set the tone for the rest of the movie, but I found the story to be a bit uninteresting and nothing really substantial happens from there on out. There are some good moments and I can’t say I didn’t enjoy some of the scenes, along with the characters, though.
For example, I thought most of the voice cast did a pretty good job, including Matt Forte (Shaggy), Mark Wahlberg (Blue Falcon), and Dick Dastardly (Jason Isaacs). Everyone else is just fine, but I think anyone else could’ve voiced those roles, if I’m being honest. For the most part, Zac Efron (Fred), Amanda Seyfried (Daphne), and Gina Rodriguez (Velma) are just fine, but I don’t think there’s anything ground-breaking here. Of course, Frank Welker as Scooby-Doo is always great, but that was expected.
As for Lillard not being asked to return to the role of Shaggy, I can definitely understand his hurt after playing the character in live-action and voicing him for so many years. At the same time though, I also understand the filmmaker’s perspective when deciding to try someone new. I think Forte is receiving a ton of unfortunate flack due to this, when in fact, I think he did a fine job. Then again, comparisons to Lillard’s version were inevitable since this is common when multiple people play/voice the same character. I’m sure I’ve done this plenty of times.
Overall, the movie is most definitely suited for kids, much like the original cartoon. I think adults may find some faithful callbacks to the original and feel the nostalgia, but I don’t think it captures the same magic as the original. It starts off strong, but doesn’t really hold up for the rest of the movie.