Scooby-Doo, the cartoon series, was first shown in 1969, and it's a fair bet that most people reading this, early fortysomethings and younger, would have watched it sometime during their childhood. With Hollywood frequently plundering the small screen for inspiration, it was inevitable that Scooby and his pals would reach the big screen. Whether it’s a good idea to pick up childhood things in adulthood is another matter.
We begin at the end of an adventure (featuring Nicholas Hope of Bad Boy Bubby and an uncredited cameo from Pamela Anderson). Yet another success for Mystery Inc. But Velma (Linda Cardellini) dislikes the way that Fred (Freddie Prinze Jr) takes all the credit. In the midst of arguments, the gang breaks up. A little later, Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) and Scooby receive an invitation to Spooky Island from Mondavarius (Rowan Atkinson). At the airport, they find that Fred, Velma and Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar) have received the exact same invitation...
Five years or so ago, a live-action film of Scooby-Doo would probably have been impossible. Such has been the advances in CGI, Scooby is now computer-generated (Neil Fanning providing the voice), and his interaction with the human cast is really quite well done. The filmmakers have evidently tried not to be too "ironic" or knowing about their source. A few Shaggy pothead jokes and Daphne's newfound abilities in kickboxing apart, they've played it more or less straight, and the four human leads all look the part. The fact that their characters are quite literally two-dimensional in original is irrelevant. Even Lillard, who has wrecked entire movies single-handed in the time, is bearable here.
This film has reached the screen with some difficulty, the MPAA cutting a kiss between Gellar and Cardellini, and the BBFC removing six seconds of martial-arts kicks to the head. You have to wonder how much of a dog's breakfast this film was when first assembled, as it feels like chunks of it are missing. (How much of Rowan Atkinson's performance is on the cutting-room floor? Presumably some of it will end up on the DVD.) Raja Gosnell, previous director of Never Been Kissed, Home Alone 3 and Big Momma's House brings no flair or style to the proceedings, and the short running time is a definite bonus.
This big screen Scooby-Doo is clearly aimed squarely at kids and none-too-critical adults. It's just about watchable in a brain-in-neutral sort of way, but you begin to forget it the moment the credits start to roll.
Last updated: 19/04/2018 17:39:52