Written by Zach Reaves (Features Writer)
As kids, almost everyone had at least one or two cartoons that they watched and loved. Fans of the classic Hanna-Barbera series Scooby-Doo were pleased to hear that the series would be getting a new animated film adaptation this Spring. Scoob! was released on May 25, 2020 with a runtime of ninty-four minutes.
Scoob! opens with the backstory of how titular character Scooby-Doo and his best friend Shaggy Rogers meet. We learn that Scooby began as a stray on the streets of Venice Beach, California. Shaggy, a lonely young boy, saves him from being caught by the police for stealing food. They quickly become friends and Shaggy takes him home. The movie then cuts to Halloween night. It shows the now best friends trick or treating before getting their candy stolen and thrown into a supposedly haunted house. This is where we meet the rest of the original mystery gang: Fred, Velma, and Daphne. The newly formed team uncovers the ‘ghost’ of the haunted house and get Shaggy’s candy back. Shortly afterward, they decide to officially form Mystery Incorporated.
After a time skip, we are shown the now teenage Mystery Inc. discussing what to do moving forward after solving so many cases. They were considering opening an official business, so they meet with an expert who informs them that, of the group, Shaggy and Scooby are the ‘weak links’. This sets up the opening conflict of the main plot, separating the two from the rest of the group. While separated, they come into contact with both the main antagonist and supporting cast of the movie, who are the classic characters Dick Dastardly and the crime-fighting duo of Blue Falcon and Dynomutt, respectively. The plot advances with Shaggy and Scooby teaming up with Blue Falcon and Dynomutt to find the three MacGuffins to stop Dick Dastardly from unleashing the legendary Cerberus upon the world.
Overall, the movie is a pretty mixed bag. The animation itself is very well done, and the movement and art style are very good too. The movie is full of constant references to both the original Scooby-Doo, Where are You? show and other classic Hanna-Barbera characters. This is both a good and bad thing. It’s very nice to see all of these old characters in the aforementioned spectacular animation. Some of them haven’t been seen for quite some time. Unfortunately, it feels like it’s a bit too much at times. The significance of Blue Falcon and Dick Dastardly, as well as others, makes the movie feel closer to a Hanna-Barbera crossover event than a Scooby-Doo movie. This may be due to the rumored “Hanna-Barbera Cinematic Universe” that this movie is supposedly beginning, but it really takes away from the Scooby-Doo aspects of the film. The plot feels very rushed, giving the audience not much time to react to both the major and minor plot points. On the other hand, the writing is pretty well done, and most characters play their parts well. The original Mystery Incorporated have shifted to fill their stereotypes more for the most part, but the character interactions and classic cartoon gags make up for it.
Overall, Scoob! is good for both children and the parents of said children. However, fans looking for a classic Scooby-Doo mystery will be sadly disappointed.