Scooby-Doo has been solving mysteries with “the gang” on the silver screen since 1969, but perhaps the biggest mystery is why 2020’s “Scoob!” turned out to be such a disappointment. With an all-star cast with the likes of Will Forte, Gina Rodriguez, Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried filling the main roles and Frank Welker reprising his role as Scooby-Doo, Scoob! fails to use the cast’s talents with poorly-written jokes that barely manage to illicit a scoff. Unfunny, unfocused and completely missing the point of Scooby-Doo, a mystery, “Scoob!” is a film full of missed opportunities.
The movie begins with a new origin story of how Shaggy met Scooby-Doo, Fred, Velma and Daphne. As kids, they work together to solve their first mystery on Halloween. However, the main plot reveals itself ten years later when Shaggy and Scooby are abducted by The Blue Falcon, a superhero from the 1970’s show “Dynomutt, Dog Wonder.” The heroes are chasing after Dick Dastardly, a villain from the 1960’s “Wacky Races.”
For those unaware, these are other classic Hanna-Barbera characters which took off after the success of Scooby-Doo’s original 1969 run. However, their inclusion in “Scoob!” felt like a rushed and unpolished attempt at introducing these new characters into the Scooby-Doo franchise. Bloating the amount of characters in the film was detrimental to the development of character arcs and the mystery.
Most of the movie is spent with the core cast of Mystery Incorporated split up. Fred, Velma and Daphne are on a side quest to find Scooby and Shaggy, and the latter are on a quest with The Blue Falcon and his crew. This is one of the main reasons the movie fails; the charm of the original television series and previous films was the chemistry between the whole Mystery Incorporated crew, from silly slapstick gags to nonsensical quips. By splitting up the core cast, “Scoob!” removes what made the original series so entertaining.
The film also lacks the traditional mystery of a Scooby-Doo title, as most of the plot revolves around Dick Dastardly’s scheme. The gang does not contribute to the story or look for clues to solve a mystery, as they spend most of the film being tossed around by the fight between Dick Dastardly and The Blue Falcon.
Apart from that, many of the jokes and modern-day references feel very forced in comparison to the effortless silliness of the original show. The jokes were bland and boring, which may work with younger audiences, but most animated movies, including the original Scooby-Doo works, manage to entertain all ages. Clearly, that is not the case here.
“Scoob!” could have been a great reboot for the franchise and had a lot of potential. It was a shame to see it squandered on introducing new characters and a muddled plot. While it may have bypassed theaters for a digital release, this may have been for the best. “Scoob!” finds itself amongst the many things to have gone wrong in 2020.
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