Friday, April 8, 2016

Scooby-Doo (2002) review


     The live-action adaptation of Scooby-Doo is nothing short of wasted potential and pure annoyance. The all-star cast is let down by stereotypical script-writing and the fresh plotline is burdened by stale jokes and gags. Watching this as a child was always enjoyable, but, like most goofy movies from my childhood, it became less funny and more juvenile the more time passed. It still fills me with a bit of early-2000s nostalgia, but it fails superbly as a stand alone movie.

PLOT: Scooby-Doo and the gang have been solving mysteries for as long as they can remember. One day after solving an average mystery, the crew gets into an argument, causing Fred (Freddie Prinze, Jr.), Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar), and Velma (Linda Cardellini) to go off on their own. Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) and Scooby are left on their own with the Mystery Machine. Some time down the road, the gang is tracked down and coincidentally put on a flight to Spooky Island, a theme park with a dark mystery behind it. Those who visit Spooky Island come back as angry, near-mindless zombies, according to the eyewitness account of the island's owner, Mondavarious (Rowan Atkinson), and he invited the mystery gang to get to the bottom of it. However, this mystery isn't just hunting down some clever man in a mask. The monsters on this island are very real, weird, and threatening, testing the wits of the reunited mystery crew. The plot has a fairly unique twist compared to the previous Scooby-Doo animations as these monsters are real and not just men in masks. The mystery also messes with the timeline of Scooby-Doo in a way seemingly clever for the time. It has now, however, faded into annoyance. If not for the bland and juvenile jokes, the plot would have had potential. But I guess that's how one entertains children, right?

ACTING: The performances in this movie are really terrible for the most part. Each actor and actress plays their part to fit the character's stereotype so closely that its ridiculous. The only performance that showed the character any respect would be Matthew Lillard as Shaggy, as he matched his personality without annoyingly stereotyping him. Rowan Atkinson's role was an interesting one as it was a bit more tame and comprehensive than his previous performances in Mr. Bean and Black Adder. It was an interesting change, but definitely not significant enough to save the casts failures. The only other attempted saviors in the cast would be Isla Fisher as Mary Jane (for she wasn't too terrible) and the nostalgic cameo appearance of Sugar Ray.

SCORE/SOUNDTRACK: The soundtrack is mainly made up of early-2000s era rock and rap, like Sugar Ray, Simple Plan, Baha Men, Outkast, and (of course) Shaggy. It adds to the nostalgic feeling of the time period but compared to now just seems rather mediocre.

EFFECTS: The special effects in this movie are very dated and buggy compared to today's CGI standards, but for the time, these effects weren't too bad. The creative design of the monsters is the best effect of the movie, but due to the mediocre Scrappy Doo and the ghost protoplasms, that isn't enough to save the movie in this field. Most effects are very bland in appearance and cheap-looking, but the creatures get points for nostalgic, early-2000s creativity.

OTHER CONTENT: This adaptation of the classic show is still a childhood favorite of several late nineties kids and early millennials, but if one were to look at it outside of the calming nostalgia, one would notice that it's really terrible as a stand-alone movie. The jokes and gags become stale and juvenile, making the animated show look more clever and worth wasting time to watch. This movie did have a lot of potential as a children's film, for if it were done right, it could have become one of the more respectable children's films. However, the plot's potential was dashed aside for stereotypical leads and cheap jokes. The only things keeping this movie worth a watch is the nostalgia factor that some kids have tied to it, such as I to a minute extent.

     Live-action adaptations of children's shows don't always go down in film history. In fact, the majority of them completely miss the mark. Scooby-Doo is a surefire example of that. Plot is forgotten for cheap jokes and lazy leads. However, what would one expect in a film made to primarily please a bunch of eight-year-olds? The movie does have some nostalgia for the early millennials, but that's the only significance this movie holds. If not for that connection, Scooby-Doo would be remembered only as a classic cartoon.

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