Scooby Doo 1 & 2 Collection (Family Double Feature) Blu-ray Review
Audio: DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Disc Spec: 2 BD50
The biggest grievance a fan of the classic series Scooby-Doo Where Are You? could have with the live-action feature films that debuted in the last decade would have to be with the very nature of the mysteries in each: the show’s time-tested formula of four youths and their mutt solving crimes committed by real people disguised as monsters was thrown out and replaced with two separate mysteries based entirely on supernatural occurrences. The idea of realistic crimes with a few red herrings to throw the audience for a loop until the very end never occurred to the people writing the movies, instead opting to put a healthy dose of CGI in the mix and featuring actual monsters as the villains. Each adventure of the series always had some seemingly inexplicable supernatural facet that was later explained as the work of projectors or phosphorescent seaweed, or something of that ilk. Scooby-Doo and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed ignored their source material and included a few poor casting choices, making them both bittersweet adaptations that might serve to entertain the kiddies but will annoy anyone looking for a respectable homage to the original series.
In Scooby-Doo, the gang splits up over creative differences at the film’s outset, but gets pulled back together when each is individually invited to be honorary guests at Spooky Island Resort, where the guests are being transformed from lively college hooligans into soulless zombies. It’s up to Fred (Freddie Prinze Jr.), Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Velma (Linda Cardellini), Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) and Scooby to get to the bottom of the mystery before they themselves fall victim to the island’s mysterious ailment. There’s a spoiler coming. After throwing a few suspects up as viable options for who’s behind the dastardly plan, ultimately a bunch of weird, supernatural, body-inhabiting, photophobic creatures controlled by none other than Scrappy-Doo turn out to be the culprits. I think every Scooby fan ever will agree that Scrappy-Doo should have been neutered at the neck after his very first appearance and that making him the criminal behind this mystery without any real justification or hint throughout the film (until the end) just reeks of poor writing and utter disloyalty to what any fan of the series would want to see. Even if it’s aimed at a new generation of Scooby fans, the fact that it makes the entire case a supernatural issue goes against everything in the Scooby-Doo canon.
Then, instead of attempting to make it up to the fans, the live-action Scooby-Doo film franchise decided to make the offense even more egregious with a film whose second half is nothing but CGI creatures running amok as the gang attempts to reconstruct a device that will return them all to dust. The closest it gets to rehashing the original spirit of the series is by having a cheesy throwback in the final moments with the unmasking of the villain.
For starters, while I’m normally a fan of Sarah Michelle Gellar (in most things) neither she nor Freddie Prinze Jr. fit their respective roles. In an effort to make Fred seem cool and Daphne something other than the damsel in distress that her role requires her to be, the writers decided to tinker and irreparably changed them and thus the chemistry of the team. Only Lillard and Cardellini really nail their parts, and the fact that they do it so well only makes the shortcomings of Prinze and Gellar more glaring. The CGI used to animate Scooby really sucks by today’s standards, but it has just the right amount of cartoonish quality that it’s pretty clear they never were going for realism, so you let it slide.
However, as if basing an entire character in subpar CGI wasn’t enough, the over-indulgence in making their villains computer generated monsters means that the Blu-ray hi-def makes it really easy to see just how outdated the visuals are. Some of them look pretty neat, but for the most part they suffer in the newly remastered sheen.
Movie Quality: 8/10
- The Mystery Machine
- Set design
- Scene choreography
- Additional scenes
- Audio commentaries
- Theatrical Trailer
- Outkast music video
Special Features: 7/10
I would recommend that parents preview the film before unleashing it upon their kids; some younger children may be unnerved by the monsters.
Overall Rating: 7/10