When the first trailer for Scoob! released a little over six months ago, I was on the fence. The voices sounded unfamiliar, the story seemed to be nonexistent, and it just didn’t feel like what I had come to know from Scooby-Doo (even the James Gunn ones).
For those unaware, Scoob! is the latest movie in the semicentennial Scooby-Doo franchise. Directed by Tony Cervone (Tom & Jerry: Back to Oz, Scooby-Doo! And Kiss: Rock and Roll Mystery, Tom and Jerry: Space Quest along with many other Hanna-Barbera productions) and stars Will Forte as Shaggy, Gina Rodriguez as Velma, Zac Efron as Fred, Amanda Seyfried as Daphne and the one true Scooby, Frank Welker as they try to solve the mystery of why Shaggy and Scooby are being hunted by cute but killer transforming robots.
Typically, I wouldn’t have paid for this movie, but I grew up watching Scooby-Doo: Where are You!, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders, Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase, and the James Gunn-written live-action ones, so I had a bit of interest in seeing where Warner Bros. Animation would be taking the franchise with new voice actors.
The answer is this mish-mash of Scooby-Doo, and hints at a larger cinematic universe that Scoob! doesn’t care to set up. I won’t go into any spoilers, but certain characters show up from other Hanna-Barbera properties whose appearances go entirely unexplained and glossed over, so if you’re confused, just know you’re not the only one.
Another baffling decision was the re-casting of the Mystery Inc. gang. They’re all trying their best, but only Zac Efron comes close to matching who we all know Fred to be and sound like. There were times where I paused and read the subtitles live to see if I could do a better at reproducing what I remembered the gang sounding like, and I got closer than the new gang, unfortunately.
Outside of these odd decisions, I found myself enjoying the callbacks to the original show, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, and the reverence the movie has for everything that came before it.
If you enjoy Hanna-Barbera, I suspect you’ll enjoy this movie. But if Scooby-Doo is the only property you know of theirs, I feel you’re going to be confused and disappointed in Scoob!
Recommendation: Wait for it to show up on HBO Max or Boomerang.
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