Scoob!

 

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Looks like we’ve got another mystery on our hands.

   

Scoob   

For over fifty groovy years, those meddling kids of Mystery Inc. have been foiling the plans of faux phantoms and local crooks alike. Intended as a response to growing parental concerns about the violence in Saturday morning cartoons, Hanna-Barbera’s Scooby Doo, Where Are You! made its hit debut in the fall of 1969. Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books, along with the I Love a Mystery radio series and television’s The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, served as major inspirations in the development of Fred, Daphne, Velma and Shaggy – aka the ‘Scooby gang’. As for Mr Doo himself, his moniker derives from Frank Sinatra’s ad-libbed scat during the hit song ‘Strangers in the Night’. Legend has it that CBS executive Fred Silverman adopted the name after hearing the song on a red-eye flight to the development meeting that would greenlight the series. After five decades of unmaskings and spooky shenanigans, Scoob! aims to revamp the Great Dane for the next generation in his first fully computer-animated film intended for the big screen.

 

Scoob! begins with a modern retelling of how the “let’s split up and look for clues” gang got together, complete with a fantastic shot-by-shot remake of the opening credits from the original series. Ten years after solving their initial case, the gang finds themselves embroiled in their biggest mystery yet, meeting other famous Hanna-Barbara characters along the way, including Dick Dastardly, Captain Caveman, Dynomutt and Blue Falcon. Frank Welker, the original voice of Fred, has been voicing Scooby since 2002 and returns as the title pup. Filling the seats of the iconic Mystery Machine are Zac Efron as Fred, Amanda Seyfried as Daphne, Gina Rodriguiz as Velma and Will Forte as Shaggy.

 

Technology has certainly come a long way from the ‘limited animation’ aesthetic heavily used in Saturday morning cartoons of the 70s. Although their looks have shifted over the years, the slick animation of Scoob! honours the original character designs by legendary animator Iwao Takamoto and successfully brings the franchise to life in a new way. If only the script could do the same. As with DC’s Expanded Universe and Godzilla’s Monsterverse, the inclusion of other Hanna-Barbera properties in Scoob! feels like yet another botched attempt from Warner Brothers to launch a cinematic universe based on well-established characters. Kids may identify with the video game vibes, explosions and potty humour, but discerning adults looking for a burst of nostalgia are better off re-watching the classics. Zoinks! If only Warner Brothers had done their ‘doo’ diligence for parents too.

 

CHAD KENNERK

 

Voices of  Will Forte, Mark Wahlberg, Jason Isaacs, Gina Rodriguez, Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried, Kiersey Clemons, Ken Jeong, Tracy Morgan, Simon Cowell, Frank Welker, Mckenna Grace, Christina Hendricks, Henry Winkler.

 

Dir Tony Cervone, Pro Pam Coats and Allison Abbate, Screenplay Adam Sztykiel, Jack Donaldson, Derek Elliott and Matt Lieberman, Pro Des Michael Kurinsky, Ed Ryan Folsey and Vanara Taing, Music Tom Holkenborg.

 

Warner Animation Group/Reel FX Animation Studios-Warner Bros.

94 mins. USA/Canada. 2020. Rel: 10 July 2020. Cert. PG.