“Scooby Doo is a classic but what about turning him into a Superhero that has to save the world?” I believe this is what an executive told the writers during the pitch meeting and they had to oblige by the ridiculous note.
‘Scoob!’ is supposed to introduce the titular canine and his team of detective teenagers to a new generation but loses focus when it moves toward spectacle over heart. While I knew that this was supposed to set up a ‘Hannah-Barbara’ shared universe, I didn’t think they would just focus on that theme.
The film falls in line with what 2014’s ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,’ 2016’s ‘Suicide Squad,’ and countless others did by focusing on franchise-building instead of focusing on building the characters. Studios keep rushing into the ‘Marvel’ mold when in fact they slow built everything. Even the ‘John Wick’ series built its world very slowly by introducing Wick then the sequels built everything after.
Due to the action taking precedent, we lose the identity of the Mystery Inc. Team’s members. Fred, Zac Efron (“Neighbors”, “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, And Vile”), Daphne, Amanda Seyfried (“Les Miserables”, “Mama Mia”), and Velma, Gina Rodriguez (“Annihilation”, “Someone Great”) have the least to do in the film and even the film acknowledges in some meta scenes. They inform the audience what they bring to the team since nothing allows them to show it off.
Shaggy, Will Forte (“Extra Ordinary“, “The Willoughbys”) and Scooby, Frank Welker (“Aladdin”, “Transformers: The Last Knight“) handle the ‘Friendship above all’ storyline with a great report between the two since both are very passionate performers. When we see them meet for the first time, we feel for them. Both are lost souls that found each other when they needed each other the most. It was a great concept that should have been focused on a bit more instead of making it a foreshadowing plot point.
The ‘Hanna Barbara’ characters that join the film are Blue Falcon, Mark Walhberg (“Spenser Confidential“, “The Other Guys”), Dynomutt, Ken Jeong (“Hangover series”, “Community (TV)”), Captain Caveman, Tracy Morgan (“The Last OG (TV)”, “Fist Fight”), and Dee Dee Sykes, Kiersey Clemons (“Dope“, “Lady And The Tramp”) all bring an elevated happiness to their characters but unfortunately some are a miss. For example, making Blue Falcon a lead instead of a side character ruins a lot of what I thought ‘Scoob!’ was going to be.
The surprise of the film was Jason Isaacs (“The Death of Stalin“, “Hotel Mumbai”) as Dick Dastardly. I remember this character from the cartoon, ‘Wacky Races’ but the writers give him an arc that the other characters should be jealous of. Dick is unpredictable throughout the film and that made me second guess him quite a few times throughout the film.
First-time theatrical director Tony Cervone does a serviceable job with the film as it does keep your attention throughout. The gags are quick and the Easter Eggs flow in and out at a rapid pace. The jokes rarely hit but the Easter Eggs are so much fun! As a fan of all of these cartoons, I have to admit that I smiled anytime I noticed a quick cameo or random name representing the past.