Starring Freddie Prinze Jr, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Linda Cardellini, Matthew Lillard & Rowan Atkinson.
Screenplay by James Gunn & Craig Titley.
Directed by Raja Gosnelll.
Distributed by Warner Brothers Pictures. 86 minutes. Rated PG.
My childhood is flashing before my eyes. First the Spider-Man movie, now a live action Scooby-Doo. All my Saturday morning favorites are hitting the multiplex. And since I seem to be the only person in the world who remembers Prince Planet, I would guess this is as good as I’ll get in my Captain Crunchberries nostalgia rush. Unlike Spider-Man, which is made for a broad audience who may not have even cared for the source material, this film is purely for Scooby fans. If you loved the old series, the movie is a lot of fun. If you never got the Scooby phenomenon, this film won’t change your mind at all.
The first, and probably biggest problem with the film is Scooby himself. Early on, you can’t get over the fact that the computer animated pooch doesn’t really look like a dog at all. But the animation is good enough that his moves look realistic… probably more realistic to the cartoon pooch than a real one… that you quickly get over this reservation.
The humans in the cast vary, Matthew Lillard is fantastic as Shaggy and steals every scene he’s in. Linda Cardellini is pretty funny as Velma, too, with a subtle simmering resentment for being the smart one who gets ignored because she isn’t pretty. Sarah Michelle Gellar does fine in the kind of one-note character of Daphne, but Freddie Prinze Jr. is kind of miscast as strait-laced blowhard Fred.
The film flirts with a post-modern sense of humor, making one or two very soft hints that Fred is a vain airhead, Velma may be fonder of Daphne than we used to think and there may be a reason why Shaggy and Scooby always have the munchies. They even chose a villain that will be rather satisfying to long-time watchers. Eventually, they back away from this sarcastic approach though, which is probably a mistake. The film would have been even better had they surrendered to that impulse, it could have been another dumb classic like The Brady Bunch Movie. But it is still mostly cool on its own terms. Sure, the story is stupid and doesn’t really make sense, that’s kind of the point. Scooby-Doo is not great art, but it is fun nostalgia. (6/02)
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright © 2002 PopEntertainment.com All rights reserved. Posted: June 14, 2002.