Directed by: Tony Cervone Released: May 15, 2020
These are crazy times, and when we feel like nothing can go back to being the same, it’s nice to fall back into the comfortable. What better way than to gather the family and watch the brand new film, Scoob? What’s fun about that set up there is depending on my viewing of Scoob, I could write a witty comment on how there is a lot of different ways to better spend your time. But I can’t say that, cause I actually quite enjoyed Scoob! It isn’t this years surprise hit or an instant classic, but the return of our favorite meddling kids feels like the perfect escape from the monotony of the lock down life.
Scoob! (according to the title you need the “!”) tells the story of how our lovable goof Shaggy (Will Forte) meets his canine companion and lovable cartoon mascot, Scooby-Doo! Soon after the two meet up with the rest of what will become the Mystery Inc. team, Fred (Zac Efron), Daphne (Amanda Seyfried) and Velma (Gina Rodriguez). Together the group of investigative friends solve their first mystery, and the adventures of the Scooby gang is born. Years later the team is approached by Simon Cowell (Simon Cowell) and are told that Shaggy and Scooby are the weakest link to the team and that the only way for them to grow is to move on without them. With that, Shaggy and Scoob scoff at the pretentious talent agent and leave. Soon, while letting off steam, the two troublemakers are attacked by an army of bowling robots and rescued by another Hannah Barbara staple, Blue Falcon (Mark Walhberg) and his trusty sidekick Dynomutt (Ken Jeong). Thus begins the real adventure as they try not to get captured by the evil Dick Dastardly.
As a story goes, this one is very simple. I honestly think that is the strength of Scoob though, it is a simple family movie that doesn’t try to really break the mold. What it does do though is show that a classic TV show CAN be adapted into a modern era well. The animation is smooth, though not spectacular. What really blew me away was the re-imagined opening, which takes the classic “What’s New Scooby-Doo?” opener and gives it the updated animation and it works beautifully. If you are a fan of the original series, then this film does give you enough to feel like a kid again.
The returning characters in this film are all given new roles or expanded ones from their original shows. The biggest change is with Fred, who is no long the ascot wearing leader but more of the muscle of the group. Daphne is the kind and approachable member of the team, able to talk and converse with anyone, or anything, that the group stumbles on. Velma takes a much more proactive role in the group, while she’s always been the brains now she has equipment where ever she goes. Two returning HB characters to return to us from the past is Blue Falcon and Dynomutt, who have had crossovers with the Mystery team before but haven’t seen the small screen in years. The characters arc given to Blue Falcon is way more interesting than I was expecting going in, but he doesn’t do a lot to progress the film. He isn’t a bad inclusion, and given how short the film is I understand the limitations.
I can love the new and old characters in Scoob, but I have such mixed feelings about the big bad, Dick Dastardly. Now it should be noted that growing up I did wake up early on Saturday mornings to catch Boomerang and watch the Wacky Races. Dick Dastardly holds a special place in my heart, so seeing him return here is a welcome treat. And he is actually evil, shocking. He isn’t played as a gag character, he actually wants to pull off his evil scheme by any means and has a robot army to do it. But that is his downfall, for some reason the creative team decided to make Dastardly a Gru character and even have scenes that are frame by frame the exact same as ones from Despicable Me, except tiny robot instead of Minons. If they hadn’t made that choice, I might have considered ol’ Dick a great villain. His motivation is relatable, and since he isn’t a gag character he has depth to his character…if it wasn’t for the robots which are played the same way as Minons. Do I like him in Scoob? Of course, seeing an old face in a new movie is a lot of fun, just they turned him into a cookie cutter villain for, what it seems like, that easy Minon money.
I can say with a smile on my face that Scoob! is a fun film for the entire family. Parents can catch Easter eggs sprinkled throughout the film to past episodes of the series and seeing old characters, while kids will love the wacky antics that the gang, and most importantly Scooby-Doo himself, get into. It isn’t trying to break the mold, and it isn’t a subversive masterpiece like The Lego Movie. But for a quick, Scooby Snack sized film with really crisp animation, you might just want to see what is new with Scooby-Doo.