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It's been two years since a clash of egos saw Mystery Inc close its crime-busting doors. Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Fred (Freddie Prinze Jr.), Shaggy (Matthew Lillard), Velma (Linda Cardellini), and Scooby Doo are summonsed by wealthy wacko Emile Mondarvarious (Rowan Atkinson) to Spooky Island, his Spring Break amusement park, to investigate some mysterious happenings. The Scooby gang thus reunite to solve the mystery of why the island is turning fun-loving college students into ghoulish freaks, and discover they need each other after all along the way.

Review by Shannon J Harvey:
I said it before and I'll say it again : "Ruh-row, dares somethin' wrong with dis ricture!" It's been months since I saw this dog of a movie and nothing has changed. It's still a dog with fleas. And its dog-tired transfer to DVD hasn't made a dog-licking difference. It's a shame, because Scooby Doo: The Movie had so much potential. Turning a poorly animated, unfunny Hanna-Barbera cartoon from the 80s into a $90 million live action feature could have played up to the cartoon's camp, lame-brain plots, one-liners, and sexual undercurrent. But this big screen Scooby is directed and written with Super Mario Brothers-sized miscalculation. Instead of going for an Austin Powers-style self-reflexive cheesiness, Scooby Doo simply resembles the dumb-ass cartoon it's based on. 

There's almost no in-jokes or parodies of the cartoon's much debated lesbian dynamic between Gellar's Daphne and Cardellini's Velma. The filmmakers are either so weary of appealing to an unhip young audience or so uninspired by the material that the best scene is a burping and farting contest between Shaggy and Scooby. The casting of Gellar (aka Buffy) and her real-life fiancé Prinze Jr could also have added some spice and spunk to the movie, but the possibilities are ignored again. Only Cardellini as the vampish Velma and Lillard as the husky-voiced Shagster earn their Scooby Snacks - they create terrifically colourful characters. Making Scooby a digitised Great Dane is another mistake. Didn't Warner Brothers learn anything from Rocky and Bullwinkle? Audiences just don't warm up to the strange fusion of live action and animation. It rarely gels on screen. 

Bounding to DVD, Scooby-Doo is presented in its theatrical aspect ratio and the vivid colour transfer is good. The audio is ordinary, and the hind-leg speakers only kick in during the bike chase finale. The seven deleted scenes have optional commentary, yet they are strangely too racey for the film's G rating. Even an animated opening sequence accompanied by singer Shaggy (the real one) was dumped (his choice or theirs?). The most fun is seeing Velma make the move on Daphne in her own lesbian sing-song! Three mini-featurettes provide a colourful, poppy insight into the film's making. Scary Places sees Gellar, the producer and designers comment on the set. The Daphne Fight Scene shows the Hong Kong team hired to make Daphne's martial arts scenes look spectacular, though you get the sense Gellar already knows how to kick but - Buffy-style. There's nothing mysterious about Mystery Guests, but I won't spoil it for you.

There's a 20-minute "Making Of" documentary that features the obligatory cast and crew comments, director pats-on-the-back and an interview with Joseph Barbera. Even he's astounded by Scooby's success. There's a cast and a filmmaker's commentary, neither of which are terribly exciting. Rounding out the features are nine interactive DVD-ROM challenges and the good-old soundtrack video.

A DVD's extras are only as good as the movie, so there's nothing to go barking mad over here. The best thing about Scooby-Doo is the colourfully camp costumes and hokey sets, which faithfully recreate the cartoon in vivid living colour. But let's be blunt, Scooby-Doo is a marketing exercise that bites (hence the coming Scooby -Doo 2). Like the tagline says; "Doo happens". Who says there's no truth in Hollywood?

Published December 5, 2002

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CAST: Matthew Lillard, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr, Linda Cardellini, Rowan Atkinson, Neil Fanning

DIRECTOR: Raja Gosnell

RUNNING TIME: 86 minutes

PRESENTATION: Dolby Digital 5.1 Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Enhanced

SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted scenes; Mini-featurettes: Scary Places, Daphne Fight Scenes, Mystery Guest; An Outcast music video; Behind-the-scenes documentary; Two commentaries from the Scooby-Doo cast and the filmmakers; interactive DVD-ROM challenges; Hidden extras and more

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Home Video

DVD RELEASE: December 2, 2002

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