Nothing’s new Scooby-Doo

The latest outing for Mystery Inc. is more of the same

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Ethan Gill

"Scoob!" is a boring but bearable re-imagining of the classic cartoon characters.

It’s hard to successfully change the formula of “Scooby-Doo”. The tried and true serialized adventures of four young adults and their talking dog finding the logical reasons behind a “supernatural” monster-of-the-week has been standard since the show’s inception with “Scooby -Doo, Where Are You”. However, it hasn’t stopped people from trying to change the formula to mixed results. On one end is “Sooby-Doo on Zombie Island”, a fantastic exception and on the other is 2020s “Scoob!”, a less than stellar exception. 

Rather than choosing to provide us with a concept that is both interesting and fitting for Scooby and the gang, the audience is instead given what is intended to be the first film in a Hanna-Barbera Cinematic Universe.

Released on May 15 to video on demand as opposed to theaters given the current COVID-19 pandemic, “Scoob!” follows modern day versions of Scooby-Doo (Frank Welker), Shaggy (Will Forte), Velma (Gina Rodriguez), Daphne (Amanda Seyfried) and Fred (Zac Efron) as their long time friendships and partnership in Mystery Inc. is put to the test as they try to grow their brand and the “Wacky Races” villain Dick Dastardly (Jason Issacs) preps for a grand crime. In an effort to stop Dastardly, the Blue Falcon (Mark Wahlberg), his sidekicks Dynomutt (Ken Jeong) and Dee Dee Skyes (Kiersey Clemons), work with Scooby and Shaggy to stop Dastardly’s plan to rob Alexander the Great’s underworld treasure trove.

What’s strange about this new adaptation, is that outside of Frank Welker, the voice of Scooby Doo since 2002 and the actor who voiced Fred since the start of the franchise, no other voice actors who have worked on the franchise in the past have roles in “Scoob!”, in favor of giving the films a star studded cast. 

However, the big name cast never adds anything to the movie. Outside of Wahlberg and Jeong, both of whom seem disinterested in the film, none of the voice actors are recognizable. While normally not recognizing a celebrity voice in an animated movie is a good thing because it means that the actors are doing a great job making the character memorable, here they just sound like the scratch audio that is played for the actors to bounce off of while recording in the soundbooth.

Each actor is exceptionally bland sounding, except for Frank Welker and Will Forte who actually do good jobs. The rest of the cast is as memorable as the screenplay, which peaks five minutes in when Scooby and Shaggy have a duet of “Shallow” from the most recent iteration of “A Star is Born”.

The film’s comedy is about as good as it’s incessant pop culture references. Few of the many jokes offer anything to even lightly chuckle at. It’s not painfully bad, but memorable? It isn’t that either.

The film’s one exceptional aspect is it’s animation which is very well done, if a bit unfitting given the franchise’s history of charmingly unpolished animation. It’s very clean, excellently textured and detailed. It’s not the most groundbreaking animation and most underwhelming animated films still have a nice look to them, but at least it has something. 

All in all, the film is a perfectly fine 90 minute film for little kids and fans of the franchise, but for everyone else it’s a bland but bearable film that when it’s over you’ll have a hard time remembering.