SCOOB! – Film Review

With hundreds of cases solved and adventures shared, Scooby-Doo (voice of Frank Welker) and the gang face their biggest, most challenging mystery ever — a plot to unleash the ghost dog Cerberus upon the world. As they race to stop this global dog-pocalypse, the gang discovers that Scooby has a secret legacy and an epic destiny greater than anyone could have imagined.

Starting at about the age of six or seven and going until about the age of nine or ten, my mom used to drop my off at a babysitter’s house nearby to watch me for a few hours before I headed off to school for the day. At her house, she always told me I could put on the television and watch any show I wanted to.

Being a small child and loving cartoons, I naturally put on a ton of those. But one of my favorites was easily What’s New Scooby-Doo?, which I found to be deeply fun thanks to its childlike sense of wonder, its fun adventures, and great sense of humor. I still remember watching that and getting immensely excited whenever I heard that theme song.

So, as a result, I was quite curious and eager to see what director Tony Cervone had to offer with Scoob!, his new animated feature. Unfortunately, though, I found myself massively disappointed in the movie, largely in part due to its humor.

This was such a surprise but in a really bad way. As I mentioned earlier, the humor that was in the television series was one of my favorite things about it. I always found myself either laughing quite hard or smiling from ear to ear for a large portion of each episode’s running time. Here though, the comedy is just downright awful.

The screenwriters make a bold choice to include a large number of references to pop culture and modern technology, movies, and songs here, and it was unfortunately a terrible idea. When The Peanuts Movie was coming out, I was incredibly worried that it was going to feature our beloved Charlie Brown make references to iPhones and how much he wants to talk to Lucy over Snapchat or something. Thankfully though, the film avoided that at all costs. Scoob! doesn’t.

Scoob! (2020).

In just the first act alone, we see an appearance from none other than Simon Cowell who voices himself. Shaggy and Scooby tell him that they are big fans of his, which leads them to then belt out “Shallow” from A Star Is Born. I’m not even joking.

But if that’s not bad enough, Cowell gets mentioned several more times in the film to the point where the fictionalized version of himself literally becomes a subplot that doesn’t work. And that’s the biggest issue with this movie – there are way too many storylines at play here and none of them feel exciting or adventurous as they should.

The original cartoon was filled with plenty of stories that kids and adults alike could watch and enjoy. Here, not much happens in terms of a compelling story that you can get invested in. A lot of the events that happen here feel extremely flat.

One thing that definitely deserves to get a bunch of praise in Scoob! is the animation. In terms of a visual standpoint, I think this may just be the best looking animated film of the year so far, with Onward coming in quite close. The animation team clearly spent countless hours making sure that each and every character is brimming with personality and added small, minute details that are easy to appreciate.

But I just wish the rest of the movie was as good as the animation was. Don’t get me wrong; this film does have some good things in it. The animation is great, the voice acting is terrific, and the first twenty to thirty minutes were remarkably strong, but unfortunately, it all fizzles out into a generic, relatively bland mystery from there on out. Zoinks.

Scoob! may have a wonderous animation style and fun voice acting, but its sense of humor is painfully dry and its story is too underdeveloped to make this an adventure worth going on.

Overall Grade: C

MPAA Rating: PG for some action, language, and rude/suggestive humor

Cast: Will Forte, Mark Wahlberg, Jason Isaacs, Gina Rodriguez, Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried, Kiersey Clemons, Ken Jeong, Tracy Morgan, Billy West, Simon Cowell, Ira Glass, Don Messick

Directed by: Tony Cervone

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Release Date: May 15, 2020

Running Time: 94 minutes

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