wed 12/08/2020

Scoob! review - mostly bark, little bite | reviews, news & interviews

Scoob! review - mostly bark, little bite

Scoob! review - mostly bark, little bite

Feature adaptation crams in a lot of references but not much substance

A dream crossover? Scooby and Shaggy team with Dynomutt and Blue Falcon

Scooby fans have waited over 50 years for a proper big screen adaptation of everyone’s favourite cowardly dog (sorry Cartoon Network’s Courage). The 2003 live-action version starring Matthew Lillard and Sarah Michelle Gellar failed to capture the paranormal-busting mystery of the TV series, and although the follow-up Monsters Unleashed recreated the classic villains, it was still a slog. But with a new CGI adventure from the studio behind The Lego Movie and the underrated Smallfoot, could Scoob! finally be the film Mystery Inc. deserve?

Well, the plot certainly tries to squeeze in as many classic Hanna Barbera characters as possible. After an argument with Daphne, Velma and Fred, Scooby and Shaggy team with Dynomutt and Blue Falcon (or to be more accurate, the Blue Falcon’s millennial son Brian) to stop Dick Dasterdly, who’s planning to break into the underworld and steal Alexander the Great’s treasure.

Now, if that doesn’t sound like a classic Scooby Doo adventure…that’s because it isn’t. Bar an introductory flashback that shows Mystery Inc.’s first case, there’s none of the classic ghost-hunting, mask-pulling antics. Instead we get a by-numbers superhero caper, complete with MacGuffins and green skybeams, with a Scooby coat of paint. And while it’s nice to see familiar characters from other Hanna Barbera properties, they barely reflect their original characters. It's almost like the script was left over from Warner's failed DCEU film line, and the writers just dropped in the Scooby characters and humour. There's certainly as sense of trying to launch another cinematic universe.Simon Cowell in Scoob!That said, the callbacks they have added are plentiful, including chase scenes running from side to side, Scooby and Shaggy tricking chasers by dressing up, and even a full recreation of the original opening titles. Also, keep an out for easter eggs referencing original animator Iwao Takamoto and voice artist Don Messick.

The film has a beautiful animation style, looking halfway between hand-drawn and stop-motion, and there are some genuine laugh-out-loud moments, especially between the exasperated Dynomutt and the social-media addict Blue Falcon. There's little consistency in the hit rate however, with some of jokes seeming obscenely dated (is Simon Cowell still relevant?), or just downright obscene - never has a kid’s film got so much mileage out of the name Dick.

Overall, there’s a reason why Warner seems happy for Scoob! to skip the big screen. There will be a slew of hit movies out once cinemas reopen, including Disney’s Mulan, and this will probably struggle to compete. But as another distraction for locked down families, Scoob! might just be a lifeline. It’s forgettable, but far from the worst Scooby Doo adaptation.

@OwenRichards91

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