Scooby Doo
Starring:
Freddie Prinze, Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, Linda Cardellini
Directed By:
Raja Gosnell
Grade
B+

Many of my generation (and those to follow) grew up watching the cartoons about the kids of Mystery Inc. and their talking dog, who just manage to solve a variety of mysteries in which the villians tend to dress up as monsters to scare people away. While the script and plot of the cartoons were never all that deep, or even well thought out, they did manage to provide some laughs and a good time for kids. So much so that Scooby Doo has become a cartoon icon, much like Mickey, Bugs Bunny and Mighty Mouse.

The story starts out some years ago when after a case, the Mystery Inc. team breaks up due to personal differences, leaving Scooby and Shaggy in the lurch. Now, in the present, each of the members is given an offer to come to Spooky Island, a themepark resort that's supposedly haunted, to solve a mystery. Little do they know they're being brought there to "reunite" for certain, unrevealed reasons. Considering the nature of their breakup, Fred, Daphne and Thelma enter a challenge to solve the mystery first, while Shaggy and Scooby are just glad to have the gang back together. Once on the island, they find a series of odd events that direct the sleuths to a conspiracy in which they have to reunite to solve.

First and foremost, Lillard is perfect as the partially brain-dead hippy Shaggy. Both in manner and speech, he replicates Scooby's best pal. Gellar's Daphne actually comes across with more personality anmd depth in the movie than she ever had in the shows and Cardellini is pretty good as the braintrust Thelma. Prinze's rendition of Fred is fairly stale, but considering how one dimensional the character has always been, the part is expected. The computer-generated Scooby Doo is real enough to be believable as a dog, by cartoony enough to capture the humor from the cartoon. In fact, I found the CG Scooby to be quite funny. He plays a good parternship with Lillard's Shaggy. The two have a number of funny sequences just to themselves.

What really sells the Scooby Doo movie is the sense of humor, which mostly plays to the low brow crowd, and especially children. There are a number of lines and events that are just funny enough to make you laugh out loud. Also, older fans will get the occasional joke and one-liner lobbed their way. The Scrappy Doo flashback is alone worth the price of admission.

If you went into this movie expecting a script that made much common sense, you obviously never watched the television shows. While it doesn't stick with the more traditional (haunted houses and guys dressed up like ghosts) Scooby Doo, the movie does manage to capture the cartoon characters on the big screen and is a fairly good translation from a cartoon written by people on way too many recreational drugs. If you were a fan of the television shows or have children, you will enjoy this movie. It's filled with laughs and lines that only the fans will get. For those who were never big on Scooby Doo, you might want to skip it. For everyone else, go see it when you have the chance.

- - Kinderfeld

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