Directed by: Tony Cervone – Starring the voices of: Will Forte, Mark Wahlberg, Jason Isaacs, Gina Rodriguez, Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried, Kiersey Clemons, Ken Jeong, Tracy Morgan, Simon Cowell, Frank Welker
Now available to rent through numerous VOD platforms (trailer below):
Originally intended to hit theatres, this Scooby Doo origins story is yet another cinematic victim of the current CoVid19 crisis, and has gone straight to digital, although no doubt many frazzled parents are thrilled that there is some new child-friendly content to keep their LOs occupied for a couple of hours.
As for me, well, I have probably watched far more Scooby Doo than is probably healthy. To say I loved this show is an understatement, and Scooby is something of a pop-culture hero, so it was always considered sort of cool to like him.
Therefore I was somewhat excited when this origins story was announced. Finally, I’d find out how Scooby and Shaggy became so inseparable, and how they hooked up with their cohorts Wilma, Daphne and Freddie.
And indeed all my questions were answered – in the first 15 minutes. And then they go on an adventure that includes several other well-known cartoon characters. The ‘bad guy’ the gang have to thwart is none other than Dick Dastardly, and along the way we also encounter Captain Caveman, Blue Falcon, and Dynomutt. Oh yeah, and Simon Cowell makes the most random appearance ever, playing himself.
While people of a certain age will no doubt thrill at seeing their childhood cartoon heroes back in action, it all feels a bit random and in your face. Seemingly this is intended to be the first instalment in a series of films, set within a Hanna-Barbera shared cinematic universe, which is all well and good. But it dilutes what could have been a beautiful origins story.
The first 15 minutes of this are great, and the scenes with young Scooby and the gang are truly lovely. But as soon as we fast forward to the grown-up characters, it all gets a bit messy. That’s not to say that it’s not good. It’s frenetic, and zany, and colourful, and the Scooby and Shaggy relationship is still at the heart of the story.
However, it isn’t as ‘fun’ as the cartoons were historically. By trying to promote so many other characters and open up a new cinematic universe, it sometimes feels like there is far too much going on. Add to this a plot that gets somewhat complex for younger children, and you have to ask who their target audience is.
Older fans who remember these characters from childhood will no doubt love the trip down memory lane. But I would have thought the idea was to entice new young fans into these cartoon-tastic worlds.
Somewhat erratic, but its heart is in the right place. There’s enough here to keep nostalgia junkies happy. And the colourful antics will no doubt amuse LOs. But more focus on Scooby, and less on other unrelated characters, would have made this a far better fan-film.