January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

After another mystery has been solved, petty arguments between members causes the breakup of the Mystery, Inc. So Scooby and Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) go one direction, Fred (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) heads off in another, Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar) stomps off in yet another, and of course Velma (Linda Cardinelli) goes off on a voyage of personal discovery. When each is invited to Spooky Island to solve some kind of mystery, they all agree, thinking they can prove they were Mystery Inc.’s greatest sleuth, unaware that the others have also been asked to attend. So after some rifts at the airport, the gang heads off to Spooky Island, still not the close group they once were. The island houses an amusement park owned by Mondovarious (Rowan Atkinson), but guests have been acting morose of late, instead of fun loving and energetic. It seems as though the gang will have work together to solve this one, but is there also a more sinister reason they’ve been called to the island?

In the wave of movies based on popular television shows, most have been downright dismal, with few even worth a look. So when a live action version of Scooby-Doo was announced, its understandable that few people were excited, especially fans of the classic children’s show. The fears weren’t helped when Scooby would be created via computer graphics, while the other members of the gang would be played by such actors as Freddie Prinze, Jr., Matthew Lillard, and Sarah Michelle Gellar. As it turns out, Scooby-Doo is not the total disaster it could have been, but it still falls short of the original series’ potential. The acting is bad, but it should be as such and while some disliked the wealth of inside references to the cartoon series, I found them to be some of the funniest moments. It has a lot of scenes that don’t work, but it also has some good ones, more than I had expected, in fact. I recommend this to fans of the show and anyone who enjoys modern camp, especially since Warner has put together a more than solid treatment here.

Not only is Freddie Prinze, Jr. the biggest name involved in Scooby-Doo, but he also managed to have his best bud and his girlfriend cast in major roles. As we all know, Prinze has made a name for himself in teen aimed pictures, so he seems a solid choice to tackle this part as well. He looks close enough to the cartoon’s Fred to be believable and he must have studied the show, as he has the vocal patterns and mannerisms down also. I figured he would come close, but Prinze nails the role at times and provides some good laughs. Other films with Prinze include She’s All That, Summer Catch, Down to You, Head Over Hells, and The House of Yes. The cast also includes Sarah Michelle Gellar (Tv’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Linda Cardenelli (Legally Blonde, Dead Man on Campus), and Matthew Lillard (Wing Commander, Thirteen Ghosts).

Video: How does it look?

Scooby-Doo is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. If you’re going to nab this release, be careful, as Warner has issued dual widescreen and pan & scan editions. This widescreen versions is the one to grab of course, as it shows the full image and looks quite solid. The print does have a few more defects than I expected, but looks clean on the whole, so no serious complaints. The film’s wild color scheme is well presented, with bright and bold hues throughout, while flesh tones remain natural at all times. The black levels are sharp and provide excellent contrast, so no detail is lost in this one. While not quite as impressive as I had anticipated, Warner has still delivered a good looking effort here.

Audio: How does it sound?

The soundtrack here is more than solid, but lacks the punch and presence I expected it to possess. The music sounds good, with ample depth, but aside from that, the surround presence is minimal. The rear channels spark in from time to time, but not too often and when they do, the result isn’t too memorable. This does not ruin the experience, but with such a fun, vibrant movie, I think a more active soundtrack would add to the entertainment. The dialogue is pretty smooth however, with no muffled or distorted vocals in the slightest. This disc also includes a Spanish language track, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Although this disc has a lot of extras, they don’t amount to much, so don’t expect an in depth assortment here. The best supplement is an audio commentary with director Raja Gosnell and producers Charles Rover & Richard Suckle, who discuss the technical aspects of the film’s production. The track is pure technical data and while some information on the evolution of the project would have been nice, this is still a worthwhile session. The second track however, doesn’t work out as well and features actors Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze, Jr., Matthew Lillard, and Linda Cardinelli. The foursome has much less to say than expected, leaving tons of silence and that lessens the session’s effectiveness. A decent, but overly promotional featurette has a collection of cast & crew interviews, while three additional featurettes focus on one aspect of production, though only for a minute or two for each piece. This disc also includes a music video, an interactive trivia game, and a selection of deleted sequences.

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