I have been a Scooby-Doo (voiced originally by Don Messick and now by the one and only Frank Welker (who played the original Fred Jones, and transitioned to Scooby in 2002)), fan since I first discovered him in the mid-70s as I spent Saturday mornings (the only time cartoons were on back in the day) in front of the television eating my Shreddies.
He’s arguably my favourite cartoon character, and I tend to see a lot of me in both he and Shaggy (Casey Kasem back in the day!). I’ve seen each iteration of the character as it has come along, from new animated series, to live action films, to comics of various maturity, to animated movies to Warner Brothers latest take on the character brought to life with computer generated images.
And today, I can bring Scooby-Doo home again, as Scoob! comes home on blu-ray and DVD from Warner Brothers, and a lot of it really worked for me. It felt like the old Scooby-Doo, not the original series, but the mid-70s stuff when he had lots of guest stars, and there were cross overs with lots of other Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters, but updated, fairly solidly, and very family friendly, for the 21st century.
It loses a bit of its original appeal, as the first season of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? was a little scarier (for a cartoon), but over the years, he’s become a beacon of fun, with a little bit of spooky, and that’s where this one comes along, though it almost feels like it has more in common with the original Wacky Races, which should come as no surprise seeing as Dick Dastardly (Jason Isaacs) is the baddie of the film, and was the regular villain in that cartoon.
In this telling of the story, we get some history on Scooby and Shaggy (Will Forte) as well as a nice updated take on the classic opening credits imagery, before joining Daphne (Amanda Seyfried), Velma (Gina Rodriguez) and Fred (Zac Efron) in the Mystery Machine.
The gang find themselves mixed up in a legend surrounding Alexander the Great and his dog, Peritas, as Dastardly scours the globe for three giant skulls, that will help open the underworld, restore Cerberus, give him access to countless riches, and reunite him with his own dog, Muttley (Billy West).
And the key to it all… Scooby-Doo!
What follows is a fun romp which includes other Hanna-Barbera creations (apparently this is the first film in a planned shared cinematic universe) including Blue Falcon (Mark Wahlberg) and Dynomutt (Ken Jeong), Captain Caveman (Tracy Morgan) and Dee Dee Skyes (Kiersey Clemons).
The film also includes vocal appearances by Christina Hendricks, Simon Cowell, Henry Winkler and John DiMaggio.
While the story plays out in a family friendly way, sharp-eyed Scooby and Hanna-Barbera fans will catch lots of nods, homages, and more to the history of Scooby-Doo as well as countless other characters that share that same universe, I delighted in the details, which to me tells me that the creative team behind the film truly love that Great Dane and his friends, and honestly gave me more joy than the story and the animation, both of which could have been a bit stronger, and had more to it.
The blu-ray comes with some extras including a blooper reel, the animatics for deleted scenes, a quick tutorial on how to draw Scooby-Doo, a profile on the guest characters and the actors who play them, as well as the cast playing with puppies.
It’s light, fun, and a perfect film to share with Scooby fans of all ages. Scoob! is available today from Warner Brothers on blu-ray and DVD.