Never have I been so baffled as to what anyone involved in a production could possibly have been thinking. What was the mind set? Who was this film supposed to appeal to? Fans of the original Scooby Doo cartoons? Newcomers to the franchise? Gnats? People who are sexually aroused by suffering? Is it supposed to satirize the cartoons or adapt them into a straightforward film? Indeed, what was anyone thinking here?
Scooby-Doo is a largely insufferable 2002 movie that only makes Gollum and Dobby the House Elf (both starred in their own film that year) look even better with its brown, vaguely dog-shaped excuse for a CGI Scooby. It contains characters with faint similarities to those from Hanna-Barbera‘s animations, who are either poor parodies or impostors who don’t know how the original characters worked. I don’t know which they’re supposed to be and I doubt they know either.
But who are they and what are they doing? Well, they’re Fred (Freddie Prinze, Jr.), Shaggy(Matthew Lillard), Velma (Linda Cardellini) and Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar) – and their little dog too (Scooby’s voice is by Neil Fanning, no relation to Dakota) – and together they solve mysteries which always invlove someone dressing up as a spooky creature to scare the hiccups out of some innocents. But the time has come for them to split up (no, like, split up) so an early scene in the movie shows them heading their separate ways. For newcomers it’ll probably not be that big a deal as they haven’t had enough time to connect with these guys, and for Scooby-fans… well, they’ll probably guess that they’ll all get back together later.
Indeed, years pass and Mystery Inc., as they always called themselves, are all asked to visit a horror-themed island resort, run by one Mondavarious (Rowan Atkinson, shame on him), who wants them to solve a mystery involving how the visitors always behave differently when departing the island. After a while, they find out that there is demonic evil at hand and that Mondavarious might have something to do with it. And yes, there actually are demons on the isle. No costumes, no hoaxes, no jokes – this Scooby-Doo film has actual ghosts! (Okay, so did The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo but that wasn’t nearly as irksome)
Amidst the chaos, there is time for romance. Shaggy falls for a woman named Mary Jane (Isla Fisher) whom he loves not only because of her name, if you know what I mean. Velma, meanwhile, finds a nice and smart guy whom she shares a conversation with, therefore it is love. Fred and Daphne end up together, as well. Isn’t that just cute?
Also, the cartoon’s easily most loathed character Scrappy Doo (so loathsome in fact that the word “Scrappy” is currently used as a derogatory term for universally despised characters) gets a role in the film. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if they made some kind of joke about the character’s reputation by making him a supervillain or something? And if you will, wouldn’t it just be inexcusably lame if they somehow managed to completely fail at making such a spot-on concept work in their film? Well, guess what? They did. I know, I know, spoilers, but who honestly gives a crap?
Scooby-Doo was directed by Raja Gosnell, who brought us such delightful pictures as The Smurfs, Home Alone 3, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Big Momma’s House and even a sequel to Scooby Doo. How someone with such a lust for making people suffer can be allowed to keep working is as baffling to you as to me.
For what it’s worth, I will say that some of the actors seem like they’re at the very least trying. But that only makes it sadder that they aren’t in a better movie.
Scooby-Doo is one of the most severely dysfunctional movies Hollywood has ever vomited out. Whenever I see a bad movie, I can at least usually tell for whom it was made and who was going to be dumb enough to misinterpret it as brilliant art. I can think of no other time when I’ve been so sure that a film was made for absolutely no one. Was it made as a satire? An adaptation? An in-joke? A parody? Trollin’ or just stupid? I don’t know, the movie doesn’t know, Gosnell doesn’t know, and nobody cares. Not just because of how confused it is, but also because of the asinine, often feces-themed jokes, the characters with even less dimensions than those in the 2D cartoon, barf-inducing special effects work, atrocious acting from some, and possibly the biggest failure at creating a clever plot twist ever. Eat yer heart out, Shyamalan.
Remaking old cartoons into a live-action movie is a concept that could maybe, just maybe work, but it is often frowned upon. Because really, how can’t it be when the task is always given to morons who give us shit like this? Irk.