Movie #167 2020: Scoob! (2020)

Who doesn’t love Scooby Doo?

I won’t lie, I even loved the two live action movies from the early-2000s due to my affinity to Sarah Michelle Gellar, even though they aren’t remembered all that fondly. Either way, I just had to watch this new animated adventure, purely for nostalgic reasons.

We begin with a short but brilliant origin story into how Shaggy and Scooby both met, which has apparently never been explored before. We are then shown how they met the rest of the gang – Fred, Velma, Daphne – and the rest is history. When the kids have grown up, Dick Dastardly (Jason Isaacs) appears with a master plot to unleash ancient evil canine Cerberus into the modern world.

With cinemas closed, it’s cool that some other animations are getting their chance via VOD. First with The Willoughbys and now with this, I have to say I’m quite satisfied with the amount of new material we’re still getting. But is it any good?

Well, the animation itself and the cinematography are brilliant here – I love how they’ve managed to capture shiny surfaces especially, such as Scooby’s nose. There’s one particular sequence in a bowling alley that really peaked my attention, with some of the ‘camera’ angles used being surprisingly dynamic and fun.

Isaacs as Dastardly is everything you could want in that role, not surprisingly. (Hello to Jason Isaacs). The rest of the voice cast have a decent crack at it too, managing to capture the essence of each of the original characters. There’s actually a real all-star ensemble in Scoob!, with Amanda Seyfried voicing Daphne, and Zac Efron lending his talents to play Fred, plus many others. None of them stand out as particularly bad, which can only mean a good job was done.

Sadly, the plot is extremely confusing. There’s a superhero story and a Roman myth subplot and a Dick Dastardly narrative… I had no idea what was going on through the entire second act, no matter how fun it was. Basically, don’t come in to this film expecting your classic ‘ghosts and unmasking’ as we are so used to, because there’s very little of that.

Many have scrutinised Scoob! already because of this, but I think it’s perhaps worth suggesting that the writers were making an attempt here to appeal to a young audience who may have not grown up with the original cartoon. Whether or not they are successful at doing so remains to be seen, and maybe they should have stuck to the classic formula after all.

Anyway, back to the bizarre plot choices. This movie is all go all the time – it literally doesn’t take a breath. At the end of it, I had a headache, which is not exactly what you need when you watch a family-friendly animation. However, I’m betting that kids would be absolutely mesmerised by it because of how action-packed it is, so it’s definitely good for particularly small children, even if the (quite often hilarious) jokes will go right over their heads.

The casual mention of Tinder aside, I really enjoyed the inclusion of some of the more modern-day references. Velma’s Ruth Bader Ginsberg Halloween costume was particularly brilliant, and there’s a modern soundtrack to match, with 2Pac, Charlie Puth, and Best Coast making appearances.

On the whole, this is not a movie for die-hard fans of the original concept. I mean, there’s a whole superhero character arc that wouldn’t be caught within six feet of the classic TV series. But it’s fun, even if you might have to pause once or twice to soothe a frazzled brain.

Scoob! is sadly only available thus far on VoD in the US, but there are hopes that a UK digital release will be on its way soon!

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