VOD | DIRECTOR: TONY CERVONE | STARRING: WILL FORTE, MARK WAHLBERG, JASON ISAACS, GINA RODRIGUEZ, ZAC EFRON, AMANDA SEYFRIED | RELEASE DATE: COMING SOON
For a franchise that has been airing new TV episodes (almost) nonstop since 1969, it’s quite remarkable that Scoob! marks the series’ first-ever animated theatrically-released film… or, at least, it would have done had COVID-19 not forced cinemas shut, leading to the film being released straight-to-VOD. Instead of becoming only the third Scooby-Doo feature film (following the two live-action efforts penned by James Gunn in the early noughties), Scoob! joins the ranks of over 30 straight-to-video efforts before it, and, sadly, doesn’t exactly stand head and toe above them. A modern Scooby-Doo movie should have been a slam dunk. The characters are a nostalgia printing-press with over five decades of material and in-jokes to draw upon. Where Scoob! could have been a loving, self-aware send-up of all things Hanna Barbera, modernising the characters for today’s audience, it’s ultimately just another utterly disposable kids’ movie.
The film quickly rushes through a sequence where the gang solve a haunted house mystery within the first 15 minutes, begrudgingly fulfilling its minimum duty to audience expectations. After that, Scoob! is Scooby-Doo in name only (and even then, they’ve abbreviated it). It isn’t a mystery movie, but it ‘is’ a superhero movie and it ‘is’ desperately attempting to establish a cinematic universe (which is going to have questionable mileage). In order to stop an evil plot by Dick Dastardly (now referred to as a supervillain), Scooby and Shaggy are paired with Hanna Barbera C-listers Blue Falcon and Dynomutt. While this sounds like a disgusting grab at relevance, rest assured that any notions that the film might be timely go out the window 13 minutes in, once Simon Cowell appears as himself in order to judge Mystery Inc. as though they were a pop act.
That said, a Hanna Barbera cinematic universe makes a lot of sense. From The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones to Yogi’s Treasure Hunt, their work practically defined the idea of shameless cartoon crossovers. And none of their characters was as prone to crossing over as Scooby-Doo who, at this point, has canonically solved mysteries with everyone from Batman to The Addams Family to the cast of Supernatural. It’s a shame then that Scoob! is executed so poorly. You’d be better off seeking out the surprisingly good Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon, one of three straight-to-video Scooby-Doo movies released in 2013, in which Scooby previously met Blue Falcon and Dynomutt.
Some glossy animation aside, there’s very little to recommend here. It’s a smorgasbord of questionable voice-acting, uninspired action and limp humour. Even by the standards of straight-to-video Scooby-Doo movies, Scoob! feels like a weak cash-grab.