Like many people, Scooby-Doo was a HUGE part of my childhood. The original Hanna Barbera cartoon is a classic even with its rudimentary and reused animations and stock plots. There's been tons of new Scooby-Doo animated series' and movies but, of course, we had the "classic" live-action adaptations from the early 2000's that were also a huge part of my childhood and movies I still look back on fondly. I'm surprised it took this long to finally get a 3D animated Scooby-Doo movie but it's finally here with Scoob! What could go wrong? Well...let's talk about it.
This is not the first time that director Tony Cervone has worked on a Scooby-Doo film with a lot of his previous credits including various straight to DVD Scooby films. So you'd think he would know the formula for a simple Scooby mystery and would be able to do justice to the source material but...nope. With the exception of the first 15 minutes, the film feels like a jumbled mess with no real mystery at all, action scenes that feel out of place and so many cameos from past Barbera franchises that it becomes very obvious that Scoob! is trying to start it's own Hanna Barbara film universe (like a Marvel or DC). This means the focus is taken off the gang and focusing more on characters we don't know or really care about and, even if we did, these versions of the characters are so far off from their original counterparts that it begs the question "What's the point?"
Because of this, the film really drags in pacing and, at times, becomes a chore to watch. This wouldn't be a huge problem if some of these characters were fleshed out more but most of them are just there to build a universe when this should've been a movie only about Scooby, Shaggy, Velma, Fred, and Daphne solving a mystery. The story isn't told horribly but it's even more basic than if it was just another mystery movie. That being said, I honestly really enjoyed the first 15 minutes of the movie which has the mystery aspect intact and a beautiful little tribute to the original 1960's show. It's a shame Cervone and co. didn't reel themselves back with the endless cameos and references to other properties and just focus on telling a fun Scooby story.
What should've been a simple story about friends solving a mystery becomes a generic superhero film with barely anything that makes it feel like a Scooby-Doo story. Like I said, I really enjoyed the first 10-15 minutes of the movie. It was charming, funny, and had a great tribute to better times. After that is over, the film immediately drops the ball with lame jokes, obvious plot reveals and boring characters. I wish I could've enjoyed it more but the rest of the story felt so formulaic and cynical to me that I couldn't. Once they start referencing social media and Netflix over and over again in the film is where I wonder why they even bothered calling it Scoob! besides for brand recognition and money. The beginning of the film has some charm and the end of the movie tries to bring a little of that back but it's too little too late for me.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Honestly, the voice acting is pretty good for the most part. Frank Welker voices Scooby-Doo once again and he's just as good as he's ever been. Special shout out to Welker for being a damn legend and, even when voicing the title character, is relegated to "And Frank Welker" at the end of the credits which I found to be a little insulting. Will Forte I found to be a solid choice for Shaggy and he did a really good job of making it his own but I can't help but feel that Matthew Lillard should've reprised the role that he nailed in the live-action films. Zac Efron, Gina Rodriguez, Amanda Seyfried play Fred, Velma, and Daphne respectively and do fine work for their limited amount of screen time. The rest of the voice work is solid as well with the standouts being Jason Isaacs as Dick Dastardly and Mark Wahlberg as the Blue Falcon. Wahlberg was my favorite role of the entire film because you can tell he gave it his all and had some of the funnier moments in the movie.
While the voice acting is really good (with the exception of Tracy Morgan who sounds nothing like his character) the characters themselves aren't all that great and I can't give this section a full rating because of how shallow, basic, and boring some of them are. I like Scooby and Shaggy for the most part and Blue Falcon and Dick Dastardly are fun but the rest of the supporting cast of characters including various Barbera characters and the rest of the mystery gang are almost pointless to have in the film because they don't do anything or serve any purpose to the rudimentary plot.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Surprisingly, this is the only section I feel has no major flaws. While the soundtrack does have some modern songs thrown in, I thought they did a great job with the score which is one of a few things that really reminded me of the cartoon in this movie. What I really want to give kudos to however is the sound design. Tons of classic Scooby-Doo sound effects were used throughout the 90 minute runtime and when a joke wouldn't land or an action scene went on a little too long, the sound effects for the good old days would bring a smile to my face.
The animation, for the most part, is a solid effort to blend 3d animation with some of the classic 2d animation of the old Scooby cartoons. My problem though is that the texturing of characters and objects in the world makes it all look glossy and almost have a candy coating look and it really distracted me when everything looked so odd. The animations are great though with each character moving and acting as they should. Each characters posture from Shaggy's to Fred's are the same as they were ever since the original show aired. You can tell the animators loved the characters so it's too bad they couldn't give them better things to do in the film.
"What could go wrong? Well... let's talk about it."
Scoob! (2020) MOVIE REVIEW
It's a shame Scooby-Doo had to be shoehorned into a Marvel-Like Cinematic Universe and it really detracts from a movie that could've been a fun throwback to the original cartoon but there is still fun to be had and we can all agree that it could've been much, much worse (I'm looking at you Dark Universe). Maybe the sequel will be able to balance the Scooby-Doo goodness and the boring universe stuff but right now it just doesn't work for me.