Starring: Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Linda Cardellini
Director: Raja Gosnell
Running Time: 86 mins
Scooby-Doo is an American film about legendary paranormal detectives Mystery Incorporated, who travel to Spooky Island to solve a mysterious case.
Well known as one of the… odder big-screen adaptations of classic TV shows, Scooby-Doo is in all truth a bit of a mess. But although it’s far from a cinematic masterpiece, it’s chaotic, bright and energetic right the way through, and that’s what makes it a rather good laugh in the end.
With laughs and fun-filled antics for kids and adults alike, there’s something for everyone to enjoy here. Its tongue-in-cheek sense of humour means there’s a lot of gags that will go over kids’ heads (writer James Gunn even said the film was meant to be PG-13), but its silly, fun-loving spirit makes it a perfect watch for all the family.
Its lead cast give a collection of very energetic performances, both paying homage to and poking fun at the original Scooby-Doo cartoons. With hyper-exaggerated character traits – like Fred’s egocentrism, Daphne’s ditziness and Shaggy’s never-ending hunger – this movie has an undeniably cartoonish vibe.
But in trying to recreate the fun of the original Scooby-Doo cartoons in live action, this film really does fall short. Its best moments are actually when it parodies and mocks the quirks and oddities of the classic cartoons, but when it actually tries to tell a fun mystery story, it’s all rather messy.
In between chaotic hijinks, there’s some thread of a mystery story here. Following the gang as they try to uncover strange happenings on Spooky Island, the movie attempts to tell an action-packed and moderately exciting tale, but it’s quickly crowded out by all the hyperactivity surrounding it.
The comedy and energy makes Scooby-Doo a good laugh, but there’s not much to really keep you engaged in this movie the whole way through. As a parodic adaptation of the classic show, this film is a good bit of fun, but it’s by no means the same sort of charismatic and genuinely engaging mystery adventure.
Instead, Scooby-Doo really is a bit of a mixed bag. Although it delights with a fun-loving atmosphere, a bizarre sense of humour and chaotic, energetic hijinks throughout, it’s far from the most gripping film ever made, and does grow a little tiresome even within its short runtime. That’s why I’m giving it a 6.8 overall.