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“Scoob!” Is A Surprisingly Weird Scooby Doo Adventure

For over half a century, Scooby Doo and his friends have been a staple of cartoons, as well as, for a time, in live action adventures on the big screen. Now, the talking dog and pals are back in Scoob!, which is part origin story, part adventure tale (no pun intended). How does the animated canine function in CGI? Well, pretty good, actually. This is a fun, sometimes strange, and even emotionally satisfying movie. What could have been stale and recycled never comes off as such. The film just offers up some good family friendly fun. Especially these days, and at this specific moment, what more can you ask for?

The film is a new Scooby Doo adventure, while also functioning as an origin story for the Mystery Inc. group that children of all ages have adored. As a boy, Norville “Shaggy” Rogers (voice of Will Forte) is a lonely kid, spending time on the beach in Venice by himself. At the same time, stray puppy Scooby (voice of Frank Welker) is on the boardwalk, evading the authorities after stealing some food. They meet and it’s an instant friendship. Their bond grows over time, and leads them to meeting Fred Jones (voice of Pierce Gagnon), Daphne Blake (voice of Mckenna Grace), and Velma Dinkley (voice of Ariana Greenblatt) on Halloween. They have their first mystery adventure, starting a lifelong passion. As adults, Shaggy (voice of Will Forte, Scooby, Fred (voice of Zac Efron), Daphne (voice of Amanda Seyfried), and Velma (voice of Gina Rodriguez) are about to have their wildest adventure yet. This one involves the Blue Falcon (voice of Mark Wahlberg), Dee Dee Skyes (voice of Kiersey Clemons), and Dynomutt (voice of Ken Jeong) assisting them, in the hopes of foiling the evil Dick Dastardly (voice of Jason Isaacs). Antics ensue. Tony Cervone directs a script by Jack Donaldson, Derek Elliott, Matt Lieberman, Eyal Podell, Jonathon E. Stewart, and Adam Sztykiel. Junkie XL provides the score. Supporting voices here include Simon Cowell, John DiMaggio, Ira Glass, Christina Hendricks, Tracy Morgan, Billy West, Henry Winkler, and more.

Cleary made for kids, the flick won’t test the patients of parents, and that’s a real benefit. Sure, some parts are more designed for younger viewers than others, but it largely appeals to young and old alike. The voice work is solid, with Will Forte and Ken Jeong especially faring really well. Mark Wahlberg is a strange choice that alternates between fun and somewhat silly, while how you feel about Zac Efron’s take on Fred will largely depend on your thoughts on the character in general. Scooby Doo fans will be satisfied, but fidelity to the source material is not a prime concern for the filmmakers here.

Scoob! has more weird moments than you might expect. It’s also rather touching during its beginning and end. The opening sequence detailing the first meeting of Shaggy and Scooby is easily the best scene, heartwarming and surprisingly emotional. The end, which I won’t spoil, also involves a different canine and human companion, and while that’s more played for laughs, it also hits on an emotional resonance that’s not quite Pixar level, but still is solidly handled for a kids flick. These sorts of touches paper over the rougher moments and somewhat monotonous action set pieces, becoming the true core of what makes these characters work.

Now available to watch on Digital, Scoob! is a movie that families should definitely give a shot to. It’s a fun new take on Scooby Doo, one that honors elements of the original source material, while also being something very different as well. It’s an imperfect flick, one that’s unabashedly silly, but the earnest emotions shine through. If you’re looking for a new film to share with your kids, or if you’re just eager to see some new release animation, this is a rock solid option.

Be sure to check out Scoob!, available right now in your home!

(Photos courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures)

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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