Zoikes! Nothing could prepare the dread for a Scooby Doo movie, that was rumoured to have removed all of the more 'adult' material in its quest for a child fanbase, and is also backed by an all-star cast that has dollars rather than quality smeared over it.
The Mystery Inc. gang of Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Fred (Freddie Prinze Jr.), Velma Linda Cardellini), Shaggy (Matthew Lillard), and Scooby Doo (a CGI creation voiced by Neil Fanning) have gone their separate ways over arguments concerning the share of credit. After two years of being separated, the gang are suspiciously reunited on Spooky Island, after each being sent a letter to go there. A theme park on the island, owned by a man named Emile Mondavarious (Rowan Atkinson) is the location. It appears that Mondavarious needs the gangs help, but is his cause a more sinister one?
You have to hand it to Freddie Prinze Jr. as at least he has the confidence in his own ability. This was the same guy who fell out with Sam Raimi when the director of Spider-Man refused to take him seriously for the part of our webbed hero. Sarah Michelle Gellar has carved out for herself a cult audience with Buffy, but her appearance in Scooby Doo just seemed calculated. Matthew Lillard is annoyance personified as Shaggy; far from being loveable, he is rendered inferior by his own original cartoon character. Poor old Rowan Atkinson hams it up a treat, but he can do nothing to help proceedings.
As the population increases and film budgets expand, studios are no longer willing to take the slightest risk, and will aim to appeal to the highest possible audience disregarding any need for artistic quality. The problem with Scooby Doo is that it is completely superficial. It cuts out all of the dope of lesbian innuendo that was littered around the cartoon's subtext, and it throws in a mainstream teenage-targeted cast, and in its haste to romp home with the box office receipts it destroys any credibility the original cartoon worked hard to achieve. Had the film been an edgier affair, maintaining its old audience whilst creating a newer one, all would have been forgiven; we were never expecting it to match the cartoons anyway. However, Scooby Doo is a horrific cinematic waste. The fact that a sequel has already been commissioned suggests another turn of the knife in Hollywood's heart.
Still, your kids will love it - it's harmless, braindead fun on a gigantic scale, and it certainly is colourful eye candy for an hour and a half.