HBO Max: Scoob! Review

Scooby Dooby Review.

2020’s release of Scoob! might be the biggest case of “why did this need to be made” all year next to maybe yet another Grudge reboot. Scooby Doo has had a lot of ups and downs over the past two decades from its horrible live action films to the decently produced cartoons.

Can the world of Scooby Doo sink lower than Sarah Michelle Geller with Freddie Prinze Jr’s voice joking about sexual abuse? Probably not. They definitely don’t do that here.

Scoob! is one of 2020’s theatrical releases turned to streaming. The film starts out with the meeting of child Shaggy (Iain Armitage) and Scooby (Frank Welker) and how the two met the rest of the gang. We flash forward to see the first sign of desperation from Warner Bros. as the crew tries unsuccessfully to get funding from who else? Simon Cowell. Yea, we’re making American Idol references in 2020.

Director Tony Cervone has been involved in Warner Bros. shows and films since 1993 and his experience is evident. Cervone knows who is watching this movie; adults and parents who want to introduce their kids to Scooby Doo. So the film is full of self-referential material including a jab at Shaggy being a 52 year old man’s idea of what a teenager sounds like.

Scoob! features an allstar cast including the aforementioned Frank Welker as Scoob, Will Forte as Shaggy, Mark Wahlberg as Blue Falcon, Jason Isaacs as Dick Dastardly, Gina Rodriguez as Velma, Zac Efron as Freddie, Amanda Seyfried as Daphne, Ken Jeong as Dynomutt, and Billy West as Muttley. Yes, Dick Dastardly is in this film.

The gist of the story is that Dick Dastardly is hunting down Scooby Doo who is the key for something. Who knows? Maybe it has to do with the inexplicably missing Muttley that Dastardly has a shrine to.

There are a lot of adult jokes like dropping the F (Falcon) bomb. I’m pretty sure Dick Dastardly is mostly in this film just so the characters can shout dick repeatedly. Freddie sees an attractive woman and Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” starts playing. Dynomutt gets hacked and his first comment is “don’t look at my search history.” Otherwise there isn’t anything crude or particularly child-unfriendly.

The film does have a tendency to feel desperate with the most obvious being that Dick Dastardly’s minions are an attempt to recreate the Minions magic. Second is that this is the first in what is supposed to be an extended universe of Hanna Barbara cartoon character. Because what everyone wants are more extended universes. Captain Caveman (Tracy Morgan) and the rest of the cavemen on Mystery Island are so well detailed with their hair that it’s almost off putting.

Ultimately Scoob! is a cute movie that is no less nonsensical than your average Scooby Doo plot. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a little interested in the idea of a Hanna Barbara cinematic universe.

Billy West does a great rendition of Muttley. I expect most will hate Will Forte’s Shaggy. It seems odd to have Zac Effron play Fred when Frank Welker is already on board and has played Fred in prior renditions.

Verdict: B+

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