‘Scoob!’ is a mystery-deprived Scooby-Doo that fails to impress. The movie attempts to stand out with a new superhero formula, new animation and new voice actors. It stands alone, but not in a good way.
Slick visuals and vivid color palettes may be enthralling. But they cannot mask the lack of charm in this half-hearted franchise relaunch. Warner Bros. Scoob! was destined for a theatrical opening, but COVID-19 intervened. And in a fortunate break, the movie landed on premium VOD.
Scoob! A Mercenary Remake Of A Beloved Classic
Scooby-Doo had a sparse on-screen presence over the last decade. Hence, Scoob! did not have a default young audience to celebrate its launch. Its popularity and familiarity instead lied within older crowds. And their expectations were way too high for Scoob! to have impressed them.
One can attribute a part of Scoob!‘s failure to its commercial ambitions. The Scooby-Doo movie had the prolific animation director Tony Cervone at the helm. While Adam Sztykiel, a notable comedy writer, was in charge of the script. Scoob! attempted to appeal to both the familiar older audience, and to an unacquainted younger audience. It tried to balance its act over a tapered string, but it ended up having a free-fall to the ground.
The Plot of Scoob!: Misguided And Inconsequential
Scoob! kicks-off with an endearing ‘how everyone meets’ prologue. The meet-cute between a young Shaggy and a stray dog that he later names ‘Scooby-Doo’ is neat. Fred, Daphne and Velma later enter the scene on a Halloween night. The characters gang up and catch a local mugger. But after that, a fast-paced plot ensues and the Scooby-Doo movie quickly trips into something entirely different.
In Scoob! Fred, Daphne, and Velma find their private investigation gig divinely under-funded. So they take up a spiteful investor’s (Simon Cowell) proposal. But Cowell has a condition. The gang must drop its weakest links – Shaggy and Scooby- if they want funds for their business.
Shaggy and Scooby are heartbroken, and perhaps jobless? But the gloom is short-lived. New protagonists, Blue Falcon, Dee Dee Sykes and Dynomutt arrive to the rescue. They fill-up the cameo spots of Fred, Daphne and Velma. A goofy small-town mystery is suddenly an apocalyptic global mission. And this is where the movie goes off the rails.
The storyline accompanying the new villain Dick Dastardly is awkward and predictable. The three new heroes fail to register a comedic presence. Essentially, the movie traded out Scooby-Doo’s iconic comedy and characters for an MCU vibe.
Scoob!: What Went Wrong With The Scooby-Doo Movie?
What makes Scoob! a frustrating predicament is its contrived, overwrought screenplay. This non-formulaic Scooby-Doo movie will find most acclaim from unfamiliar audiences. But this is problematic as the slapstick typically only plays-off when accompanied by knowledge of the Scooby-Doo universe.
Scoob! lacks focus. The movie embraced the more commercially viable tropes. And in doing so, it became another shallow kids’ film, putting the glory of its classic versions to shame.
Scoob! is inferior to any Scooby-Doo movie, as well as, to its episodic counterparts. Warner has resurrected the carcass of an epic Scooby-Doo and tried to revive it with retired energy. It may feed the appetite, but in reality, it is a glum remembrance of a classic franchise.
Cast: Will Forte, Frank Welker, Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried, Gina Rodriguez, Mark Wahlberg, Kiersey Clemons, Ken Jeong, Jason Isaacs, Simon Cowell, and Tracy Morgan
Running Time: 93 minutes