003797Reviews & Counting
DVD disk
10.08.2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
Scooby-Doo order
Raja Gosnell

Freddie Prinze Jr.
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Matthew Lillard


star Printer-Friendly version
Fred, Daphne, Shaggy, Velma and Scooby himself reunite as the famous 60's cartoon crime busters in a live action film in which the gang tries to solve the mysterious mind alteration that teenagers are undergoing at a creepy theme park called Spooky Island.
Can someone tell me what happened between the cartoon and the movie that turned Freddie into an arrogant prick? Maybe that same person can tell me when Daphne started dressing like a two-bit hooker and while you're at it, let me know when exactly it was that geeky Velma turned into a hot babe? I didn't expect much of this movie in terms of either a great mysterious plot or some classic performances, but I did expect a lot of noise, action and laughs. What I got instead was a lot of chaos, retread antics and well...not much else, save for lots and lots of great, tasty cleavage shots of both Sarah-Michelle and Linda Cardellini (Velma has knockers. . . now I've seen it all). As if that wasn't disappointing enough (except for the cleavage of course, which was very satisfying), Rowan Atkinson got very little screen time while the frightening Pamela Anderson received an unwarranted cameo (ecch, thank God those meddling kids didn't unmask her!)

Seriously though, this film failed on so many levels. The characters weren't as likeable as we've been used to, the plot was ridiculously irrelevant-- made worse by an anticlimactic unmasking at the end and worst of all, the dog we've all grown to love, looked creepier than any of the monsters, ghosts, ghouls and goblins in the film. I don't know how they got that thing through creative approval because he'll probably be appearing in more nightmares than Freddy Krueger for all the kids who sit through this film. I guess it's something about his eyes being more human than dog or that ghostly appearance the CGI gave him. If I may allow myself to make a suggestion, I would personally have preferred an animation Scooby (à la WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT) than a CGI generated mutant-freak. The one guy who was dead-on though was Mathew Lillard with his impression of Shaggy. It was creepy at first because I thought Casey Kasem was getting younger but it turns out Lillard was actually just plain good at it. Sarah Michelle was her usual cute self, playing Daphne with a mean streak and hottie Linda Cardellini did a good job of dulling down a bit to play Velma. Freddy Prinze was...well...let's not go there.

Aside from that, the film lacked an overall sense of "goodness". The jokes were okay but could have been better. The effects were okay but could have been better. The music was okay but...actually no. For the umpteenth time, I had to sit and watch those talentless hacks called Sugar Ray invade a film with their idiotic music and insipid presence. These guys, along with Smashmouth (another bunch of talentless hacks) have probably appeared in more movies than Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson and Dan Hedaya combined and I for one am willing to stand up and be counted. Studios, I implore you: please help rid the world of these two parasitic bands...haven't we all suffered enough already? Anyway, that's my two bits. I've already gone on longer than this film deserves.
This movie did pretty well (very well, actually) commercially so it's no surprise that this DVD would be well laden with features. To begin with, it boasts not one, but two full length commentary tracks. The first one is by director Raja Gosnell and producers Richard Suckle and Charles Roven and the second one features the four main cast member, namely Lillard, Prinze, Gellar and Cardellini. The director/producer track is very slow paced and tends to veer toward the dullish side. They do cover all the basics though, which are getting the film off the ground, casting, characters and yadiyadiyada. Nothing you've never heard before. The cast track is predictably much more animated and a lot more fun to listen to. The cast discusses the film shoot in between amicable jabs at each other. The funniest interaction was between Lillard and Prinze. They exchange a heckuva lot of "friendly" jokes, to the point where I seriously started to wonder whether they were being friendly at all or just wanted to kill each other. I'd pay to see that fight.

The first big feature is a set of additional and extended scenes with 6 individual scenes and one additional opening sequence. The opening sequence is an animated tribute to the original cartoon show and was a blast to watch despite the crappy remake of the theme by Shaggy (the reggae singer, not the cowardly sleuth). The additional and extended scenes were also okay, especially the one which featured Linda Cardellini dancing around in a wet bikini. I never figured Velma to have such delectable cans but who's to complain? All the scenes are available with optional commentary by Raja Gosnell.

Following that is a 20-minute making-of documentary entitled "Unmasking the mystery behind Scooby-Doo". It's pretty standard fare with comments by the director, the producers and the cast but one of the highlights is a brief appearance by Joseph Barbera himself, one half of the famed Hanna-Barbera duo which is behind such classics as "The Flintstones" and "Tom & Jerry". Other than that, the usual type of discussion regarding the technical aspects of making Scooby-Doo himself, some of the stunt work and effects. Oddly enough, we get a bit more of Lillard and Prinze laughing at each other insincerely.

Next up is a little group of three (very short) featurettes. The first one, "Scary Places", is a very general 5-minute discussion on some of the sets in the film. I must admit the sets were extremely well made and very fitting with the movie. They don't go into any real detail but you do get to see a little bit of the construction work. The next one clocks in at exactly 1 minute and is relatively unnecessary. Entitled "The Mystery Van", it features a few of the other concepts and Lillard walking you through the van's interior. The last one is called "Daphne's fight scene". Now we're gettin' serious! Beginning with storyboards, we explore the inner workings of a pretty cool martial arts fight that Daphne has with some huge mofo towards the end of the movie. Some Chinese dudes are flown in from Hong Kong to prepare the choreography and wirework and Sarah Michelle talks about the whole thing wearing a very, very low décolleté. If anything, it's worth it just for that!

The rest of the stuff is pretty fluffy (unlike the dead serious content above). There's a little trivia game in which you answer some questions about the film (be careful though...I got all the questions right and I thought I won but instead, I was rewarded with a little clip featuring the sickening Pamela Anderson. Fortunately, I hadn't eaten anything heavy before) and a music video by Outkast called "Land of a million drums". The song is played throughout the film and is extremely irritating. The video features the band, accompanied by Shaggy and Scooby.
I really didn't like this movie but it did well at the box-office so I will concede that it must have some appeal to others out there and I imagine it must be flying out of video stores like crazy. That's probably the way it should be because I don't really see a reason to own this thing. It may be good for a laugh (to others than myself), so check it out if you must but don't expect it to be as fun as the cartoon was.
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