Director: Tony Cervone
Writer(s): Matt Lieberman, Adam Sztykiel, Jack Donaldson, Derek Elliot
Cast: Will Forte, Mark Wahlberg, Amanda Seyfried, Zac Efron, Gina Rodriguez, Frank Weller
Synopsis: Scoob and the gang, with help from the Blue Falcon, must stop Dick Dastardly as he tries to unleash the dogpocalypse.
Since 2008, superhero movies have been all the craze. They are big, loud, bombastic, and in your face so much that people come out in droves to see them. Superhero films have become their own “moment” in cinema history that will be studied and looked back on in the future. Not only for their ability to change film and create such large epics on a grand scale but for the sheer fact that movies think they need to be THAT grand to make a good film.
That is where SCOOB! ultimately loses me. Growing up, my favorite things about watching Scooby-Doo was the dynamic of the team and the group of friends. They went on mysteries that were much smaller of scale and were always able to unmask the bad guy, proving that the only “monsters” were ourselves. It meant a lot to me as a kid and helped me through many circumstances. Even when the Scooby-Doo properties went bigger with some of their early animated movies, they still had that sense of friendship and wonderment, making these larger than life characters fit into the smaller scale villains.
This movie, while admittedly trying something new, just cannot capture that sense of wonder that Scooby-Doo properties of old were able to capture. I think the biggest reason why, and this is my biggest flaw with the film as well, is the sheer lack of trust in the Scooby-Doo community. This lack of trust can first be seen in one of the most out of place and forced cameos I have ever seen in Simon Cowell’s appearance on screen. Truthfully, with how much Cowell is referenced as being the main driving point of the film, he might not even be a cameo. It wasn’t Simon Cowell as much as the SCOOB! team’s lack of trust in the film and the community that this film would be successful without the need for references.
Because this could easily be seen as “pop culture references” the movie. I cannot fully believe the team behind this movie had any faith or idea in what they were trying to put on screen. As I said earlier, one of the biggest things about Scooby-Doo, for me, was the friendship dynamic, but this movie splits them up so many times it seems like solo adventures. Of course, the movie comes to a realization about friendship, but going back to it, this movie also didn’t have faith in the audience that they would be able to pick up on something like that.
Early in the movie, Simon Cowell of all people states the opposite of what will obviously be the message of the story. The lack of faith in this movie is seen all throughout and all too much. However, it is not seen in the animation or the voice acting, which I will say was incredibly top-notch. Everyone in this movie gave a great performance, even if some of the roles were limited, and the entire movie was so beautiful to look at. If there was a silver lining from this movie, it resides in the fact that these people came together to really try their best for the movie.
I also greatly appreciated some of the homages early on in the film. While my review might seem fairly negative, and my score is in the middle of the road, I did enjoy many parts of this movie. There were times I was laughing so hard, and there is an emotional moment of the film that really tugged at my heartstrings. But, I would still rather go watch one of the older Scooby-Doo animated movies, or shows, over this.
Final: There was a certain lack of trust with SCOOB! that spread all around. A lack of trust in the audience, in the fans, in the source material, and in the movie itself. The voice performances were actually really good, and the animation was beautiful to see. However, this is not the Scooby-Doo movie I have been waiting for so long to see. From a big Scooby fan, I am overall disappointed.
Current Tomato Score: 50%
Current Metacritic: 43
Current IMDb: 5.8/10
Awards Prospects: Best Animated Feature (I have seen worse get in)
Jacob is a film critic and co-founder of the Music City Drive-In. He is a member of the Music City Film Critics’ Association and specializes in the awards season. You can find him on Twitter @Tberry57.