Scoob! stars the vocal talents of Frank Welker, Will Forte, and Mark Wahlberg and was directed by Tony Cervone. It tells the story of the Mystery Inc. gang and their work, focusing on Shaggy and Scooby’s involvement in preventing a global dogpocalypse, with the help of Blue Falcon and Dynomutt. I gotta admit, when this movie was announced, I was way more excited for it than I expected. I haven’t seen anything new in the world of Scooby-Doo for the last 15 years, but I absolutely loved Scooby-Doo when I was a kid. Where Are You Scooby-Doo, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, the animated movies, the live action movies: you name it, I watched it.
There was always just this connection that I felt with Scooby-Doo, even as a young kid. It had all these elements that I loved: animals, mystery, crime-solving, creepiness sometimes bordering on mild horror, comedy, a great group of memorable characters and, of course, ascots. So, even though it’s been a while since I’ve watched any new Scooby-Doo, the prospect of seeing Scooby and the gang on the big screen again was exciting. Now, obviously that wasn’t possible anymore, but luckily I was still equally as excited to check it out on VOD. And it was good, but not really what I was expecting.
It’s this odd mix of classic and modern. There are a ton of nods and homages and references to classic Scooby-Doo (and a lot of other Hanna-Barbera characters), but then there’s also an excessive number of modern pop culture references and jokes. The classic stuff really works and is gonna be enjoyable to anybody who’s a fan of Scooby-Doo, but the modern stuff is pretty hit-or-miss. Not bad really, but I anticipate a lot of those jokes being out of date pretty quickly. And it’s not just the comedy that has this classic and modern dichotomy, it’s also the style and execution. And I think this is what I struggled with the most in this film. It’s a Scooby-Doo movie, but it doesn’t really feel like Scooby-Doo most of the time.
You’d expect a Scooby-Doo movie to center around and focus on a mystery, but this is far more a superhero movie than it is a mystery film. Like any superhero movie, it begins with an origin story, which is arguably the most enjoyable part of this movie. In a disappointingly quick 15 or 20 minutes, we get to see how Scooby and Shaggy meet and how Mystery Inc. came to be. This sequence is enjoyable not only cause we get to see the gang as kids which is kinda fun, but also cause we get to see them together as a groupÖ something that’s largely lacking for the rest of the film. Rather than having the Mystery Inc. crew together solving a mystery, the film pulls Scooby and Shaggy away from the group and puts them in their own superhero-centric story. At this point, we’re introduced to a lot of other Hanna-Barbera characters ñ Blue Falcon, Dynomutt, Dick Dastardly, Muttley.
It’s fun to see all of these classic characters (even as someone who’s not a huge Hanna-Barbera fan), but it really did feel like it was taking away from the Scooby-Doo part of the movie by putting so much focus on these other characters. Scooby and Shaggy are front and center the whole time, but Fred, Velma, and Daphne really take a backseat here, even to Blue Falcon and Dynomutt. I know the filmmakers were hoping to set up for a Hanna-Barbera cinematic universe, but I wish they spent just a little more time on the traditional Scooby-Doo team dynamic cause that was where this movie really shined for me.
I already mentioned the origin aspect of that, but there were a few other moments in the film where that Mystery Inc. team dynamic came to the forefront, which were pretty enjoyable. Those were really the only times where we were able to see that classic mystery crime-solving Scooby-Doo premise. Which is kinda weird cause it’s a Scooby-Doo movie, so you’d think that’d be the primary focus. Again, the superhero plot isn’t bad, it just doesn’t feel like Scooby-Doo. Alright, let’s talk about the pros and cons. Pro number one has definitely gotta be the classic Scooby-Doo references.
You can call it fan service, you can chalk it up to nostalgia, but those throwbacks were so enjoyable to me. We get the theme song of course, but we also get this nice little montage sequence that directly mirrors the intro to Where Are You Scooby-Doo. There are Scooby Snacks, ridiculously over-sized sandwiches, an abandoned amusement park with a creepy house of mirrors, villain unmaskings, and lots of classic catchphrases. The movie’s also pretty self-aware, frequently taking humorous jabs at some of these classic Scooby things like Shaggy’s typical way of speaking and the overly convenient way that he and Scooby accidently solve mysteries.
It also jabs at the anachronistic elements that have been holdovers in the franchise since the 60s like the Mystery Machine, character names, and a certain character’s very outdated fashion accessoryÖ which makes an appearance in this movie in almost the exact way I predicted in my trailer reaction over 6 months ago. The second pro is basically any time the Mystery Inc. gang is together. You might think that that’d be the entirety of a Scooby-Doo movie, but unfortunately, it’s a little rare here. The origin elements are fun, especially the team’s first Halloween night mystery, and any time the group’s problem-solving later on is enjoyable too. It’s best when all 5 are together, but even the moments where it’s just Fred, Velma, and Daphne are pretty good.
This nicely segues into the cons cause one of the biggest issues was that the Mystery Inc. Gang wasn’t together enough. Yes, it’s Scooby-Doo and yeah he and Shaggy were always the focal characters in the original show and still are here. It was never uncommon for Shag and Scoob to get separated from the rest of the group, but things always tied back to the Mystery Inc. team. And that’s really lacking here. I love Scooby and Shaggy as much as the next person, but Velma was actually always my favorite character and there’s just not enough of herÖ or Fred or Daphne here. Con number two is also something this movie’s lacking: a mystery. Mysteries are what Scooby-Doo has always been about.
I mean it’s right in their team name ñ Mystery Inc. But, this film takes a much more generic superhero adventure route. You could argue that there are really minor mystery elements to unraveling Dick Dastardly’s evil scheme, but it all mostly boils down to a perceived rescue mission and stopping an end of the world plot ñ both of which are more superhero than Scooby-Doo. Again, that superhero story wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t what I was expecting ñ or really wanted ñ from a Scooby-Doo movie. Before I give you my rating and recommendations, I want to remind you that if you’re interested in buying Scoob or any of the films I mention today, I do have affiliate links for all of them in the description below.
I get a small commission from anything you buy using one of my links, so I’d really appreciate if you’d use them if you’re in the market for any of these movies. I’m gonna give Scoob 3 out of 5 paws. It was an enjoyable enough story with a lot of really fun classic Scooby-Doo throwbacks, but the abandonment of a typical Scooby-Doo premise in favor of a superhero-centric story was a bit disappointing. I would recommend Scoob, perhaps most obviously, to existing fans of Scooby-Doo. There have been countless incarnations of Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. gang over the years, some better than others, but I think this one will please fans, at least when it’s focusing on the Scooby-Doo characters.
It harks back to a lot of the previous incarnations with plenty of references, but still manages to feel like its own new thing at the same time. If you’re a fan of superhero movies, you’ll probably enjoy this one a bit more than others might and if you like any other classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons, I think you’ll appreciate the references and set-up for a cinematic universe.
If you liked Scoob, I would recommend that you check the 2002 live-action Scooby-Doo movie. It’s a really fun incarnation of Scooby and the gang that reinvented and reinvigorated things, without fundamentally changing anything about the classic Scooby-Doo mystery premise. If you want another movie that reinvigorated a property, using a unique animation style, you might want to check out The Peanuts Movie. The animation in that one is especially unique, but it really works for the film which is much better than it might initially sound.
I would also recommend Trolls. That might seem a bit odd since it’s neither a superhero movie nor a mystery, but it’s got a similar modern style to it. The animation’s bright and cartoony, it throws around a ton of pop culture references, and it also makes excessive use of modern pop music. Alright, a couple questions for you guys. Number one: Have you seen Scoob? If so, what’d you think of it? And number two: What movie features your favorite talking dog? Be sure to leave your answers in the comments below so we can get a discussion going.