Scooby Dooby Doo has been a staple in pop culture for generations. Every few years we get a new iteration of the crime solving K-9, making him and the gang recognizable and ready to be enjoyed by children and grown-ups a like. From hanging out with the Harlem Globetrotters and Batman and Robin to just being “A Pup Named Scooby Doo” to solving deep seated conspiracies, there’s a Scooby Doo for everyone. It’s no surprise that he would get the CG treatment in the new movie Scoob!. While having some truly heartwarming and comedic moments, I’m sorry to say Scoob! misses the mark on what has made Scooby Doo so endearing over the years.
Our movie starts with a brief look at how the Mystery Inc. members first met. A lonely and seemingly friendless kid, Shaggy meets puppy Scooby and the two quickly become best friends. They then meet Fred, Daphne, and Velma out trick-or-treating. Together, they stumble into a “haunted” house and unmask their first villain. From there we get a pretty cool almost shot-for-shot title sequence of the very first theme song. It’s a charming little set-up thrusting the main theme of friendship, I just wish it focused on the friendship between all of them and not just Shag and Scoob.
While it was a bit divisive in the trailers, Will Forte plays Shaggy very well. His voice is a little different compared to the past versions of Shaggy, but Will captures the heart of what makes Shaggy Shaggy. Frank Welker returns as the OG Scooby and still pulls it off. While being chased by some robots from the devilish Dick Dastardly (Jason Isaacs), the duo is saved by the Blue Falcon (Mark Wahlberg), Dee Dee Skyes (Kierset Clemons), and Dynomutt (Ken Jeong). The movie works best when it focuses on this group, which is unfortunate. The remaining three — Fred (Zack Efron), Daphne (Amanda Seyfried) and Velma (Gina Rodriguez) — just aren’t given much to do or any real character development. Fred is no longer the de facto leader, but now the “muscle” of the team, which really doesn’t mount too much. Daphne is … kind? Like, that’s her thing I guess. And While Velma is still the brains, she lost a lot of personality. She’s kind of cold compared to other iterations. There’s nothing wrong with the voice acting and they each get a few moments of fun but the characters themselves are just bland.
Scoob! Covers Familiar Ground
This movie feels very paint by the Hanna Barbara numbers. So much so that random Hanna Barbara-isms are thrown in without it feeling organic to what made Hannah Barbara cartoons beloved in the first place. Random sound effects and sight gags from the vault litter the movie and are more distracting than anything. It’s like a PR person looked at an old episode of a Hannah Barbara cartoon and picked random sections. “Hey you see this? Put that in the movie. Oh yeah, and make a reference here. We need that Marvel Universe money. ” The crux of what doesn’t work, is that it all feels cold and calculated with little heart. Dick’s robots are a clear, and bad, attempt at re-making their own “Minions” and they fall super flat. And as much as they are setting up their own universe, they don’t even really lean into that until the end credits, outside of Blue Falcon and a brief moment with Captain Caveman (Tracy Morgan).
This isn’t to say this is a bad movie, kids will enjoy they bright colors and the goofy characters. Longtime fans will get a few chuckles and heartwarming moments. But it could have been better. Maybe for the next one we can get more out of these characters. It’s serviceable if you want to join Scoob and gang one more time, but me, I wanted more.