Despite being another animated movie from 2020 to be taken off its original theatrical release scheduled due to the stupid COVID-19 pandemic, the decision for Warner Bros. Pictures to put their latest family feature Scoob! on the digital platform ultimately sounded like the right. But it seems like the proper time for young kids to understand how important this cartoon was to older viewers. If there’s any fear when starting this out, then Scooby Dooby-Doo, we’ve got some work to do now.
What’s the Story: This tells the origin story of how Scooby-Doo (voiced by Frank Welker) met Shaggy (voiced by Will Forte), along with the rest of the gang, Fred (voiced by Zac Efron), Daphne (voiced by Amanda Seyfried), and Velma (voiced by Gina Rodriguez) when they were little, solving mysteries at every corner with how Mystery Inc. came together. Now, they must stop the villainous Dick Dastardly (voiced by Jason Isaacs) from unleashing a threat on Earth.
With the Scooby-Doo cartoons, I loved watching the Mystery gang cracking the case of any iteration of the series as time went along. I also grew up when the live-action movies came out: Scooby-Doo (2002) and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004). As I re-watched both of them to prepare myself for this new movie, I can see why it’s major guilty pleasures for adults now, but I can’t say they’re good, especially the sequel (I was going to review but didn’t have the urge to do it) which, to quote Jay Sherman from The Critic, “It stinks!” When I first heard Dax Shepard was going to be involved, I had no interest in thinking this was going to be good. But he wasn’t a part of this, so I’m all eyes on it now. I was kind of looking forward to checking this out after watching the trailers, which made it look like it was going to a worthwhile take on Scooby and the gang. Unfortunately, Scoob! isn’t all that impressive once it’s all over. Zoinks, indeed.
In talking about the visual look of the animation, nothing about it is special, but it still looks cool when you’re just viewing it from a television screen instead of in the theater. I was a bit worried that it was going to look like a high-budget television movie, yet it didn’t. It delivers some fast-paced energy that’s needed to its young demographic when any action sequences are going around, and the designs of our favorite characters don’t look too bad compared to the hand-drawn creations we’ve come to recognize them as. I’ll give credit to director Tony Cervone, who has worked on a ton of projects from Warner Bros. Animation with his partner Spike Brandt to bring us direct-to-DVD Tom and Jerry movies.
Thankfully, we get a better origin story to bring to a new audience that isn’t that garbage Cartoon Network movie every living person wants to forget (Scooby-Doo: The Mystery Begins). There’s even a cool homage to the opening of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! in the beginning, that was fun to watch. And the relationship between Scooby and Shaggy is always the most enjoyable part of any kind of medium related to the property that’s easy to buy into since there isn’t a more iconic dynamic duo than these two.
As for the new voice cast, they all did fine with what they were given, but I already know some well-known actors who lent their voices to these characters currently were missed and the studio wanted names people are familiar with. It was awesome hearing the legendary Frank Welker reprises his role as Scooby this time around as it was like he never felt. Will Forte as Shaggy did a fair job as capturing his voice, even though I’m with everyone else when I say Matthew Lillard should’ve been a part of the film. Then you have Zac Efron as Fred, Amanda Seyfried as Daphne, and Gina Rodriguez as Velma giving their all to serviceable results.
Mark Wahlberg as the Blue Falcon marks his first time doing an animated movie that I know of, and it was strange hearing him talk at first, but then he came into his own in stealing almost every scene he’s in. Blue Falcon is portrayed here as a cowardly superhero who has to take on the responsibilities that his father brought to the hero.
But as a movie overall, it could’ve been a lot better. The story wasn’t working for me because it never felt like a proper Scooby-Doo movie after meeting Blue Falcon. I guess I wanted a bit more of them as kids, but that was only about 10 minutes of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo for us. The gang is split up for a large majority which where’s the fun in that? While Scooby and Shaggy are onboard the Falcon Fury meeting up with a superhero they idolized when growing up, the rest are searching for them to see where they are. Where is the mystery in all of this? Not a lot since we already know who’s the villain is.
With the humor, that’s a big negative on my end. Most of the jokes stem from easy pop culture references that didn’t work at all. Even if that means Scooby and Shaggy singing “Shallow” from A Star is Born to Simon Cowell (yes), joking about not paying for Netflix or a very predictable Gladiator joke that I saw a mile away. That’s put to blame on the screenwriters on account that not every kids’ movie is required to have these moments that are timely now when all we need are consistent moments of humor that’s good enough to laugh once in a while. And if I have to see one more family movie where a character “dubs” I will flip out. From what I can recall, I think I only chuckled about three times.
Not everybody will realize Scoob! is the first installment of a Hanna-Barbera shared universe. Because everything needs to be a shared universe, right? Blue Falcon might not have been a character I’m familiar with before watching this, but he’s in here as well as other faces like Dee Dee Sykes (voiced Kiersey Clemons), Dynomutt the Dog Wonder (voiced by Ken Jeong), Captain Caveman (voiced by Tracy Morgan), and Dick Dastardly. Did we really need them to be included in the movie? I wouldn’t say so. The story should’ve put more focus on the gang and not have everything else surround these Hanna-Barbera characters for later movies that might not happen if expanding this universe is a top priority. Though, it’s nice to see some hidden Easter eggs easy to spot. For me, I just wanted a simple Scooby-Doo story that felt reminiscent of the good ole days of solving mysteries, and I’m not saying it had to be like the live-action movies, but make it a great time and feeling like a kid again.
There aren’t many recent family movies out there, and if you’re at the point of getting tired of children sitting around watching Trolls World Tour, it’s probably worth renting just to get it out of the way and have any fun. You’re more likely to get more from this than the live-actions from the 2000s. At least those had stories that kind of progressed well enough to get through the end.
Sadly, I gotta say Scoob! was a disappointment. It’s good enough for young kids’ to enjoy, but for adults who grew up with the original cartoons, there isn’t a lot to get out of it when a lot of the jokes weren’t all that funny and has a story that leaves little of interest. Trust me, even I’m sad that I didn’t like it. My advice would to just watch any of the classic episodes of any series or watch the good straight-to-video movies (My recommendation: Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island) to gain some nostalgia since this isn’t nowhere near as entertaining as other forms of this source material.
Overall Grade: C