Admittedly, I had a slight aversion to the prospect of Scoob! (though, not near as much as some people) just because of the title alone. It sounded too “cool” for my tastes. Or, at least, that weird corporate attempt to be “cool.” That title insinuated, “Look, Scooby-Doo isn’t cool. But do you know what is cool? That’s right, kids. Scoob! is cool. See that exclamation point? How can something not be cool with an exclamation point?”
Anyway, title trickery aside, as it turns out, Scoob! is basically a really fun Scooby-Doo episode. It’s billed as an origin story – and, yes, we get to see how Scooby and Shaggy met (voiced later as adults by Frank Welker, who voiced Fred in the original animated series, and Will Forte, who, as you can probably imagine, makes a really great Shaggy) – but this only takes up maybe the first 15 minutes or so of Scoob! before it kicks into a pretty great montage, partially based on the original Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? opening credits, and sends our heroes into adulthood* and just on one of their normal adventures.
*Though, I can’t help but wonder how old Fred (Zac Efron), Daphne (Amanda Seyfried), Velma (Gina Rodriguez), and Shaggy are all supposed to be. When we see Shaggy as a kid he has a Super Nintendo and has a picture of David Letterman interviewing his hero, Blue Falcon, hanging on the wall. Let’s say this was 1995 and Shaggy was 10. Are they all in their mid-30s? At one point in the film the villain refers to them as millennials, so maybe they are? My point is it’s kind of interesting to present a “new and flashy animated reboot” to a new generation and the main characters are pushing 40. Then again, at another point Shaggy mentions he’s known Scooby for 10 years, but that doesn’t really line up with what we see in the flashback. My point is, I think this means Scooby-Doo is supernatural. I mean, we knew he could talk, but apparently he’s also immortal.
It’s weird how, since Scooby-Doo entered popular culture in 1969, he’s always been around, but he’s always had his ebbs and flows. He had a resurgence on Saturday morning cartoons of the ‘80s. (Of anything I wonder why something doesn’t exist anymore, it’s this. I remember when the new Saturday morning lineups would be announced in comic book advertisements and it was genuinely thrilling. “Wait a minute, Mr. T has a show now?!?!”) In the early 2000s, there were the two live-action Freddie Prinze Jr. films. And, now here comes Scoob!, a film kids will probably watch a zillion times over the next few quarantined months.
Though, I think it’s kind of interesting to show how all these people met. Because it’s not really normal that someone like Fred hangs out with someone like Shaggy. There’s really no basis at all for their friendship. Actually, I went back to see how Scooby-Doo was first presented to the masses and it’s just a normal episode of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? in which the gang is already together, investigating a suit of armor that comes alive every full moon. (Though, while looking all this up I found out that Scooby’s name came from some the end of a Frank Sinatra song and that Shaggy was based on Bob Denver’s character (Maynard G. Krebs) from The Many Loves of Doby Gillis. Denver would of course go on to portray the title character from Gilligan’s Island Later, Scooby-Doo and Gilligan would eventually meet.)
In the main plot of Scoob!, the gang happens to meet Simon Cowell who has harsh words for Shaggy after his bad rendition of “Shallow.” Dejected, Shaggy and Scooby leave the others to go bowling and are attacked by evil bowling robots. The two are saved by Blue Falcon (Mark Wahlberg, who winds up doing pretty funny voicework here) – who we learn quickly is the son of Blue Falcon and he’s not as competent as his father was) – and Dynomutt (Ken Jeong) who are tracking the whereabouts of the evil Dick Dastardly (Jason Isaacs). Dick Dastardly is after treasure hidden in a supernatural underworld that can only be accessed by a descendant of Alexander the Great or Alexander the Great’s dog. As it turns out, Scooby-Doo is that dog. (Wow, alright, that is quite the plot for a Scooby-Doo movie.)
Though, again, I found myself having a fun time while watching Scoob!. It’s really nerdy, which I liked. And it mixes the right balance of nostalgia (again, the theme song montage is really great; and yes we see a few guest stars from classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons along the way during the film) and a modern story and fast-paced enough that will, I assume, satisfy kids today looking for any kind of entertainment while stuck at home. (Or, yes, satisfy adults looking for any kind of entertainment while stuck at home.)
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