Hello, Spongey here.
Last time I generally reviewed something, I talked about that whole…pandemic thing and how it is affecting movies and my general reviews. Trolls World Tour was put on VOD and it ended up doing quite well…much to the chagrin of AMC, but that’s another story. Warner Bros wanted a slice of that pie, so here we are with today’s movie.
I do indeed hope that this is just temporary and that eventually things will clear up, putting movies back on the big screen. But we’re not here to have that discussion, I’m here to review a movie.
So…Scooby Doo. It’s had tons of movies, most of them being direct to video, and of varying levels of quality. But before now, there had not been any theatrically released animated Scooby Doos, just those live action ones. Warner Animation Group is …not chanhing that now due to the VOD thing but whatever, you get my point,
Mostly because they want this to start a Hanna-Barbera cinematic universe. That sounds kinda dumb at first but that could weirdly work. I mean, their works are not strangers to crossovers after all. That and I feel like the use of other characters does help separate from the 50 other Scooby Doo movies out there. This franchise is formulaic as it is, I think this could work if done right.
Either way, guess we’ll see how it pans out in execution. The director is Tony Cervone, who has done tons of Warner Bros animated stuff, including directing one of the direct to video movies. Pretty perfect fit, I think. We’ve got four writers and between them we have things like The Christmas Chronicles, Due Date, and…well, the other two have this as their first credit.
That all said, let’s see how this direct to VOD movie goes. How will this version of the Scooby gang fare? Let’s dig in.
This, is Scoob!
Since childhood, Shaggy Rogers, Fred Jones, Velma Dinkley, and Daphne Blake have been solving mysteries across the globe accompanied by Shaggy’s pet dog, Scooby-Doo. But their greatest mystery together comes in a turn of events when they run into the Blue Falcon, who is trying to prevent his arch-rival, Dick Dastardly from causing a global “dogpocalypse” by unleashing the Great Cerberus on the world.
This movie was fine. Yep, we’re in for one of those reviews, strap in. It’s a fairly enjoyable family film that doesn’t too much above that and I already see the divide with people. It just has negative points for people to consider it mediocre and enough good parts for people to consider it pretty good and be more forgiving.of the flaws. In the middle is a grey area, and that;s where I, and some others, operate.
My main negative is that the story itself is fairly middle. It’s a generic action/adventure story that doesn’t have a lot to it for the most part. Not that I’m expecting much from a Scooby Doo movie but that’s actually kind of the problem. It doesn’t have any sort of mystery so it goes for something more standard.
There are some out there concepts like Dick’s evil plan but the broad stroaks are pretty standard.There’s an arc with Shaggy and Scooby that starts and ends fairly well, but in the middle it’s so cliche and it feels like they’re just hitting the expecting beats. I also feel like the rest of the gang should have been involved more, since what they get can work.
And while I have no problem with modern references, some of the jokes about social media were pretty lame. These problems don’t make it super annoying or anything like, just makes it more middling compared to what it could have been. Also, the pacing can be rushed, especially in the first half as they try to get us into the plot. However, there’s anything that works for me to like it.
For one, the animation is pretty good. It doesn’t look quite as good as the other cartoon-y movies we’re getting these days, including the ones from WGA but the style is still pretty appealing the character animation is pretty fluid and fun. The models like fine although there can be a slight canniness at times, most notable when they recreate the classic theme. It kinda looked like an HD remake of the intro to that Night of 100 Frights game.
The main positive is that it just had a general sense of enjoyment. While some humor failed, a fair amount of it does work. There’s a radar dodging moment that was pretty great. Charecter wise, Shaggy and Scooby fare pretty well and get some fun moments. The rest of the gang could have been more involved, but they act like they should, generally and get some solid moments when they actually cut to them.
But speaking of acting, yeah I don’t like them picking random celebrities for the sake of it. Will Forte I guess fares the best since he at least sounds like he’s trying to be Shaggy, while the rest just sound like themselves. They sound fine on their own but it’s just not the same. Come on, Matthew Lillard managed to star in a live action version of a classic cartoon and go on to be THE voice going forward. How often does that happen?!
The best actor is Jason Issacs as Dick Dastardly. He’s clearly having fun and he’s the only one I feel was chosen for his talents over his name. As far as the Hanna Barbaba element goes, it does overtake things but it wasn’t too bad. It’s not overstuffed with cameos and there’s some neat background nods. Blue Falcon is a basic jerk hero we’ve seen way too often though. He also gets the worst of the social media jokes. I liked Dynomutt with how done he is though.
The positives being a “general sense of enjoyment” is faint praise but that was the best way I could describe it. It’s not like the humor or action were super amazing but it was able to keep me entertainment with some solid antics. I liked the general cartoon-y antics more than the broader stuff though, if that makes sense. Plus, certain things like Dick were able to be solid highlights.
The script is far from ideal but it was at least fairly consistent in terms of the main arc, compared to some other movies of this caliber. It had solid moments and felt complete despite how cliche it all was. One of the projects one of the writers worked on was last years Addams Family movie and that’s very fitting.
Both are fairly flawed when it comes to the writing but they have a certain charm that makes me like them. That and I like everything I guess. I will say I liked this more due to being more consistent and just being tighter. I can see some rating this higher than what I will give it due to some of the consistent entertainment.
It just left a general sense of me wanting more out of than what I got. It could have risen above just being fine but it didn’t quite do that, which isn’t great for something that is meant to launch another cinematic universe. That said, it works better than certain other attempts I can name,
Overall, Scoob! does end up being too much of a basic adventure for a Scooby Doo movie and those elements could have been utilized better, and had a more interesting story. Some of the bad humor and forced celebrities (speaking of which, there’s a…weird cameo you’ve likely already seen on Twitter, that makes this more 2004 than I was expecting) don’t help.
But it’s able to make up for it with solid cartoon-y animation and some fun antics, along with decent characters even if some could have been used much better. It’s a fairly fun family movie, just not ideal compared to what I wanted. So, it’s about on par with Trolls 2 as far as these VOD movies go. …This is better though, sorry.
Both I feel like I’m easy on but this I felt more comfortable with liking. Honestly, I feel I’m being hard on it in terms of my rating so take that for what its worth. If you can forgive certain things, you’ll get what you pay for but those wanting more than just standard stuff may need to think before forking over 20 bucks on this one.
So yeah, this was a thing. I liked it though.
At this point, this is my cop out rating. Usually this would be one of those “oh yeah, that came out this year’ movies but at this rate…yeah, we’ll see what actually comes out. SpongeBob is scheduled to be next, we’ll see how that pans out …God, I can’t wait for this to be over.