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Review: Beneath Its CGI Mask, 'Scoob!' Might Not Be the Real Deal

by Derek Deskins
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Jul 21, 2020
Review: Beneath Its CGI Mask, 'Scoob!' Might Not Be the Real Deal

The animated movie typically comes in one of three forms: Sweet and cute, but shallow; unwatchable by adults; or cinematically relevant. While Pixar and Studio Ghibli have cornered the market on the cinematically relevant, much of the rest of the animated films that come out scatter to the two other camps. In all honesty, movies that are enjoyable to adults and children alike, but not necessarily tear-inducing, are often the most consumable. This is where "Scoob!" comfortably lives.

"Scoob!" has a very cute opening, one in which a young Shaggy meets a young Scooby. The two bond over their mutual love of sandwiches and commit to always be there for each other. It's fully adorable. No less than five minutes after this, the movie decides to introduce animated Simon Cowell. Is this a spoiler? I don't know. Maybe? But I needed to spare you the whiplash that I experienced as this atrocity paraded itself across my screen.

Anyway, Cowell tells Mystery, Inc. that they need to drop Shaggy and Scooby from the team, with the reasoning that they add nothing and friendship is useless. It's... awful. Feeling abandoned and betrayed, Scoob and Shaggy head to their favorite bowling alley, where they are abducted by a team of heroes in need of their help to save the world.

There's something odd about "Scoob!" that left me struggling to connect. It could be the strange animation style that attempts to be reminiscent of the styling of the original cartoons while also embracing a more generalized aesthetic of modern computer animation. It leaves things feeling just a bit off, where the two styles hang out like neighbors that don't really want to get to know one another. But I don't think that's the problem. The real issue comes from a question that I feel that I shouldn't have to ask: Is "Scoob!" a Scooby-Doo movie?

Yes, the movie includes Scooby-Doo and the rest of Mystery, Inc., but it's not really about them. To a certain degree, it's not really about Scooby either. "Scoob!" is Warner Bros' first attempt to build some kind of Hanna-Barbera Cinematic Universe (I retched just typing that). It's the only way to explain the inclusion of Dick Dastardly and Muttley ("Wacky Races"), Blue Falcon and Dynomutt ("Dynomutt, Dog Wonder"), Captain Caveman and Dee Dee Skyes ("Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels"), and end credits that include Dr. Quest, Jabberjaw, Atom Ant, and Grape Ape. I feel upset, I feel duped, but more than anything else, I feel confused. Is there a need for a Hanna-Barbera Cinematic Universe? Unquestionably, no. But even more so, these are characters that have largely been out of entertainment since the '80s. Who is even asking for this?

In the spirit of its Cinematic Universe choice, "Scoob!" is less a Scooby-Doo movie than it is an unabashed superhero movie. Replacing the men in rubber masks and actual mystery solving by the gang are spaceships and laser battles. It's fine, but it's not the Scooby anybody has come to expect. The rest of the movie proceeds pleasantly enough, the jokes vary between groan- and chuckle-inducing, and it inevitably reveals a heart that you can't help but melt with.

The Blu-ray release is respectable. Included are some bloopers (flubbed studio line readings), deleted scenes (incomplete animatics), a fun segment on how to draw Scooby, a deep dive into all of the characters that your children don't recognize, and a minute with the voice-cast holding puppies. The features are far from groundbreaking, but they do a solid job of providing more context to the movie itself. Plus, showing how to draw an animated main character should become something that gets included in the media release of every animated film. While "Scoob!" doesn't always feel like a Scooby movie or accomplish anything exceptional, it manages to be a welcomed distraction that balances its sense of humor with its more saccharine sensibilities.

Blu-ray + Digital

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