Scooby-Doo is a live-action adaptation that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Scooby-Doo is without a doubt, Hanna-Barbera’s most successful media franchise of all time. It’s impossible to ignore the dozens of animated iterations, direct-to-video movies, crossovers, etc. Something about four meddling kids and their talking dog solving mysteries together has serious staying power. So a live-action movie was inevitable. I’ve always considered myself to be more of a casual Scooby-Doo fan. I saw the first animated movie at a young age, but not much else. I didn’t see Scooby-Doo in theaters even though I was 7 at the time. It eventually became a guilty pleasure of mine that’s unlike any other live-action cartoon adaptations. Since Scooby-Doo was originally intended to be an adult oriented satire similar to The Brady Bunch Movie. Raja Gosnell is an understandable director, but I had no idea James Gunn wrote the screenplay. Shaggy being a pothead, Daphne kissing Velma, and other darker themes were eventually dropped to make it kid friendly, but Scooby-Doo is still packed with less than subtle innuendos.
The cast, soundtrack, cameos, and CGI scream early 2000’s. Regardless of what anyone says, I think Scooby-Doo himself strikes the right balance between real Great Dane and cartoon character. Matthew Lillard is like “Zoinks!” scary good at playing Shaggy Rogers. He’s so good at portraying his hunger and slacker mannerisms that Lillard continues to voice Shaggy to this day. Freddie Prinze Jr. plays into Fred Jones poor leadership skills and self-importance. Buffy herself Sarah Michelle Gellar ironically joins the original Scooby gang as Daphne Blake. This is the first time Fred & Daphne become romantic considering their co-stars were dating. Linda Cardellini is just nerdy enough to play Velma Dinkley, but Daphne & Velma are still put in increasingly revealing outfits. Really it’s the opening scene that gives Mystery, Inc. their cartoon accurate outfits. Even the Mystery Machine is spot on. The movie sort of begins arbitrarily with the Lunar Ghost kidnapping Daphne and being unmasked as Old Man Smithers.
More sudden is the entire team parting ways for over 2 years. They’re brought back due to a mystery on Spooky Island. The haunted amusement park is run by Rowan Atkinson and several other colorful characters. Fred, Daphne, and Velma are more determined to solve the mystery themselves. Fred eventually learns to be less full of himself. Daphne desperately tries to shed her damsel in distress image by learning to fight. Velma proves her intelligence to be valuable and has a sort of love interest. Shaggy & Scooby spend most of their time eating Scooby Snacks and farting for several minutes, but a girl does come between them. Shaggy falls for Mary Jane (subtle) played by before she was famous Isla Fisher. The spooky atmosphere would’ve been enough, but now there are actual monsters on the run. It’s really their CGI that’s horrendous. The mystery is complicated by soul extraction, cult rituals, and Scooby-Doo being sacrificed. Until a random twist that makes the much hated Scrappy-Doo the villain behind everything. Scooby-Doo has a strange approach to its iconic characters, but that’s what makes it so fun. “Scooby-Dooby-Doo!”
Followed by: Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed