Look whos back. Yes, it is I, the one and only. I just couldnt stay away - not when theres a movie out that not only includes a childhood fave, Scooby-Doo, but also my arch-nemesis, Freddie Prinze Jr. So full of hatred am I for this evil purveyor of filth such as Shes All That and Summer Catch, that duty called, and I found myself in a theater watching the new release, Scooby-Doo.
To start, Ive gotta give props where they are due, and I must say Matthew Lillard does an amazing job as Shaggy. Hes perfect, and if I were to become king, he would be spared. He just plain owns the role, and its a joy to watch.
Prinze as Fred and Sarah Michelle Gellar as Daphne are both wooden caricatures, especially in comparison to Lillards all-out performance.
Another problem - Velma (Linda Cardellini) is hot. Shes not supposed to be hot, especially compared to Daphne. But in contrast to Gellars emaciated, twiggish frame, Velma has feminine curves and a face that looks as though shes eaten something in the last decade. I gotta say, I wouldnt mind getting jinky with her, if you know what I mean.
The biggest problem of all, however, is the story. Theres talk all over the Internet, and even from the actors, that the final product isnt at all like what the original script resembled - an intelligent, modern take on a classic cartoon full of wit and insight thats great for those of us who grew up with the show and still fine for the younger kids who are catching up through reruns.
But the final cut is all for kids, with nothing risky or tantalizing. Im not saying I wanted a bunch of rehashed jokes about Velma being a lesbian or about the gang smoking ganja like fiends, but something more than spending $80 million to simply put teen idols into a typical cartoon story.
The movie begins with the gang solving a mystery. Reporters show up to interview the hipster detectives, and as usual, Fred takes all the credit. This pushes Velma over the edge and she quits. So does Daphne, for some reason, followed by Fred. They all head their separate ways.
Fade in two years later, and all of them receive invites to solve a mystery on Spooky Island, an amusement park that may be, oddly enough, haunted. All five believe theyre the only ones being invited, and each goes.
It becomes clear pretty quick that all of them were invited for a reason and, at first, they decide to solve the mystery - something about brainwashing college partyers - on their own. But the fates and Hollywood hacks intervene, and before long, theyre reunited. On and on it goes, until the plot is revealed and the mystery is solved.
So, what about the CG-creation of Scooby? Well, it looks like CG. Thats because its a talking dog, and I dont think anyone going to see a movie based on a cartoon show about hippies solving mysteries had better complain. If you want realistic, youre in the wrong theater.
No, its not the special effects that really drag down Scooby-Doo. Its the lack of ambition and an obvious hack job to the script that leaves all the meat out of the equation and turns it into a weak, mellow effort. The kids will probably love it, and if youre like most people I know, who plan on going to see this more stoned than Jim Morrison in a bathtub, then Im sure youll get a good few giggles out of it.
Its nothing spectacular, but try as I might, I couldnt really loathe it. Dont get me wrong, when Prinze was on screen, I was angrier than a hobo when the stores out of cheap wine, but thanks to a playfully energetic performance by Lillard and Velmas general hotness, I made it through unscathed. It is what it is, and that isnt saying much. But it is better than those lousy Flintstones movies. Watch at your own risk, and dont say I didnt warn you.