If you’re up-to-date with your Doo, then you’re probably aware a new Scooby-Doo movie has been released to digital home premiere. The film was supposed to receive a theatrical release back in May, but COVID-19 got in the way and… well, you know the rest of this story.
Simply titled Scoob!, the animated movie is a reboot of the long-running and hugely successful cartoon series. The film features the voice talents of Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried, Mark Wahlberg, and Jason Isaacs, and sees Mystery Inc. join forces with the Blue Falcon to stop Dick Dastardly from opening the gates to the Underworld!
Sounds pretty exciting, doesn’t it? Well it should, as Warner Bros. has high hopes this film will kick-start a Hanna-Barbera movie universe, and that’s why the picture moves beyond the five core cast members to include some other iconic cartoon characters.
But does it succeed?
*Pause for dramatic tension*
Before I talk about the movie, let me say that as a general rule of thumb I like Scooby-Doo. I grew up watching the show, I enjoyed the live-action movies of the early ‘00s, and I‘ve always got time for the animated movie, Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998) – and who doesn’t?
However way you cut it, as a Scooby fan, I really, really wanted to love this latest movie. So, it’s a shame that I have to report that Scoob! is passable at best, but nothing more.
I started the film off with very high hopes. I was confident this would be a post-modern, carefully considered picture, that would elevate Scooby-Doo to a whole new level. And then 13 minutes into the running time, Simon Cowell turned up for a cameo.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Simon Cowell, but a Simon Cowell cameo in a 2020 movie?! Surely this kind of cameo reached its expiration date about 15 years ago?
Jeez, how long has this movie been in development?! And more importantly, was the Crazy Frog too busy to put in an appearance?
So yeah, Cowell turned up, it seemed very, very odd, but I accepted it and moved on. Then I realised I had been watching the movie for a good 30 minutes and I had become increasingly aware that I didn’t care for any of the characters – not even Scooby and Shaggy.
There was nothing particularly bad about them, but the uninspiring animation, combined with the largely misjudged voice cast just wasn’t doing it for me, and everyone (and indeed everything) felt a little off.
It was at this point that I feared the movie was heading for disaster. To put it simply: Scoob! was just one Flim-Flam cameo away from being turned off.
And then all of a sudden, it got better. This had nothing to do with Stockholm Syndrome (honest), the movie actually improved and became quite enjoyable by the midway point – animation included.
Rather surprisingly, the film found its groove. The promise of the Hanna-Barbera universe was starting to reveal itself, and it was now a pretty decent Scooby-Doo adventure.
Was this enough to save the film?
*Pauses for consideration*
Yes and no.
Yes in the sense that it became fine to watch. No in the sense that it didn’t feel like this was a (sort of) big screen tale worthy of any publicity.
Remove the star names, and switch the animation to the more traditional 2D look of the older cartoons, and this could have easily been another direct-to-DVD Scooby-Doo movie. A movie that could be picked up at the local supermarket, whilst doing the weekly shop.
That’s not me knocking the DVD releases by the way; it’s simply me stating that without the hype, and the bigger budget, Scoob! is no different. It really did not need any more time or effort spent on it than a regular Scooby-Doo animated movie release.
There are some good moments, and there is one very heartfelt scene towards the end which almost brought a lump to my throat, but this is pretty pedestrian stuff. So, not awful, but certainly not the Scooby-Doo reboot/big budget adventure it should have been.
The younger members of the family will find something to enjoy, but one watch will be more than enough for everyone else. And with a rental price tag of £15.99(!!) this is ultimately quite disappointing.
If you are a household of four to five, it usually costs you a small fortune to visit the cinema, and you have kids who love EVERYTHING Scooby-Doo, then maybe give it a go. But if you are a lone Scooby fan, or there’s just one little ‘un in your household, you might want to hang fire until Scoob! arrives on Netflix/Amazon or goes to retail.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review of Scoob! on It’s A Stampede!. For more Hanna-Barbera-related posts, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.
- What is the best order to watch the Scooby-Doo movies?
- Review: Hanna-Barbera/DC one-shots 2018
- Scooby-Doo: Over 40 questions and answers