“Scoob!” (2020) is the latest VOD release during the pandemic that skipped the theaters. It is, of course, the latest Scooby-Doo animated movie. There have been about 500 straight-to-DVD Scooby-Doo films and 2 live action releases. Scoob heads back to the animated world, but this time the standard CGI.
If you want to avoid spoilers but want to know if a Scooby-Doo fan or a newcomer to the series should see it, the answer is:
If you are buying it as VOD with a few people? Sure.
It’s entirely average. If you are solo and paying $20, skip it. Wait until it shows up on Netflix/Hulu.
SERIOUSLY SPOILERS START NOW
Scoob bills itself as an origin story of Scooby-Doo and Mystery Incorporated. It is not at all an origin story. The opening minutes show Shaggy, a friendless kid, finally making a friend: Scooby-Doo. They then jump forward to meeting the rest of the crew: Daphne, Velma, and Freddie. They solve their first mystery after Shaggy and Scooby get attacked by 2 kids wearing ICP makeup and, of course, uncover a giant criminal enterprise run by a guy in a ghost outfit.
That is all of the origin you’ll get.
The bulk of the rest of the movie is a superhero movie that also has Scooby-Doo and his friends. Because movies, Scooby-Doo is the key to opening the portal to Hell (yes, seriously). Blue Falcon and obscure Hanna-Barbera character Dee Dee Sykes of the Teen Angels accidentally kidnap Shaggy and Scooby. Hi-jinks follow.
The story converges and we see Blue Falcon and his team racing to stop Dick Dastardly from getting all 3 heads of Cerberus to open the gates of Hell. The rest of the Mystery Inc. gang are trying to figure out where Scooby and Shaggy went. They of course all end up together in the big finale.
Because Warner Brothers animation wants to make 400 future Hanna-Barbera Universe movies, Captain Caveman shows up for a random cameo as well as a few other Hanna-Barbera characters in the end credits. I’m sure they are preparing the Magilla Gorilla gritty reboot next.
Shockingly, Scooby and Shaggy fight but their friendship survives. Blue Falcon – really the doofus son of the original Blue Falcon – becomes a hero. The underworld is kept in the underworld, and Mystery Inc. now opens an official business on Venice Beach.
THE GOOD: The animation is sharp and the voices, excluding Blue Falcon, are great. Some of the references (Dick Dastardly’s ship design, the Takamoto Bowl) are a lot of fun. The movie really shines, however, when Scooby and Shaggy are joking around. It’s just very fun. Frank Welker is back as Scooby-Doo.
THE GREAT: Dick Dastardly’s motivation for trying to open up the underworld and release Cerberus is perfect. It’s rare in a kid’s movie to see a villain with a clear, and good, motivation and we all know the best villains are actually right.
THE BAD: Mark Wahlberg voices Blue Falcon but his voice and the character are just too generic for it to be fun. I honestly didn’t realize which generic actor it was until the end credits. The story itself is convoluted and seemingly random set pieces to include new Hanna-Berbera characters and ideas for future films. The Dynomutt character was mostly wasted. With Ken Jeong‘s voice and the animation, there was a great chance to make him an irritated father figure to the new Blue Falcon… but no.
THE WORST: The non-Scooby and Shaggy part of the Mystery Inc. crew were kind of just… there. Simon Cowell? Really? Was this film written 15 years ago? Also, there’s a scene where Velma uses a random old radio to send for help and it of course somehow controls Dynomutt. It stretches logic so far that it broke.
Scooby-Doo as a franchise has been around since 1969. Let that sink in for a moment. It has essentially been on TV non-stop since them, with tons of new series and DVD movies, a couple of live actions films, and a ton of toys and games. As series, it might actually be a positive story: Friends roaming around and solving crimes using logic and skepticism. Scoob! as a movie does… some of that. It mostly exists to get kids and adults to either remember or meet other Hanna-Barbera characters so they can make 10,000 new movies with them. That’s a shame and it does a disservice to a fun franchise.
As a movie, “Scoob!” was entirely okay. It lacks the fun weirdness of the James Gunn live action films and it also lacks the dynamic of the characters in their best animated appearances. But as a movie to kill time during lock down, you can do worse. Much worse. It was still way better than the “Wrestlemania” mystery.