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HTF REVIEW: Scooby - Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed

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#1 of 6 OFFLINE   Herb Kane

Herb Kane

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Posted September 15 2004 - 04:46 AM

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Scooby – Doo 2:
Monsters Unleashed





Studio: Warner Brothers
Year: 2004
Rated: PG
Film Length: 93 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Enhanced Widescreen
Audio: DD 5.1
Color/B&W: Color
Languages: English, French & Spanish
Subtitles: English, French & Spanish
MSRP: $27.95
Package: Single Disc/Keepcase (limegreen)





The Feature:

Starring: Freddie Prinze Jr., Matthew Lilliard, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Linda Cardellini, Seth Green and Peter Boyle. Scooby-Doo voiced by Neil Fanning.

On the heels of their hugely successful 2002 film and once again under the direction of Raja Gosnell, the Mystery Inc. gang, which includes Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, Velma, Daphne and Fred return and are being honored with a museum exhibit of all of the monsters they have unmasked. Unfortunately the event soon turns into a disaster when one of the monsters comes alive terrorizing the guests leaving the gang pen-mouthed and wondering what on earth happened.

To make matters worse, mean and nasty newspaper reporter, Heather (played by Alicia Silverstone) seems to have a grudge against Mystery Inc. and goes out of her way to try and turn the town of Coolsville against them. The only way the gang sees to redeem themselves is to recapture the monster and uncover who is behind the evil plot before anything else happens. Scooby-Doo and Shaggy, feeling they are to blame for the bad publicity, set out to uncover the truth on their own, which leads to more misadventures for the two.

Museum curator, Patrick, has a crush on Velma and asks her out but, when another break-in occurs at the museum as they are on their date, Velma fears he may be behind the plot to discredit Mystery Inc.

With all the monsters on the loose now, the gang has no time to lose in getting to the bottom of this mystery. Unable to return to their office because of picketing crowds, the gang returns to their old high school club house to regroup and solve the mystery. Beginning with the people they’ve unmasked and sent to jail, the gang soon narrows it down to a couple possible suspects. When clues lead them to an old mining town, the gang must battle the monsters one final time to uncover the real villain and save the day.

Fred takes on The Black Knight, Velma handles the two skeletons, Daphne battles the Shock Monster and Shaggy and Scooby take on the Candy Floss Man declaring “That’s one monster we could sink our teeth into!”

Zoinks…!!

The Feature: 2/5
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Video:
Well, you won’t hear me boasting about the film or the supplemental features, but you will hear me gush about the presentation – it is magnificent.

Colors as we would expect with a live action/CGI film are amazing – alive and vibrant and perfectly saturated with no bleeding. Blacks were as dark and as inky as imaginable while whites always looked crisp and stark and contrast was also solid. Flesh tones looked real and natural.

The level of image definition was fabulous – perfect. In fact, even many of the wider and longer shots, looked razor sharp. There was virtually no film grain whatsoever although there was a healthy degree of depth and dimensionality.

This is a brand new film and as we would expect is free of any blemishes, dirt or scratches – it is immaculate. The authoring of the disc was absolutely perfect as there isn’t even a hint of any compression errors or edge enhancement.

It almost pains me to offer a perfect score to such a, well…. you get my point. This looks gorgeous – and on a 96” screen.

Warning: A FULLSCREEN version exists.

Video: 5/5
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Audio:
In addition to the wonderful video presentation, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Monsters Unleashed is also top shelf and should leave fans of the insatiable duo quite pleased.

While I would still call this an up-front dominated track, it is still on the aggressive side. The front soundstage is wide which allows a very nice airy sense for the accompanying music and stereo imaging.

Dialogue was always clear and intelligible even during the many whacky monster chases, nor was it ever lost or competing during the music that accompanied the film. The overall dynamics of the track is wide as can be heard with many of the chases and various encounters, all of which sounded quite robust.

The use of surrounds were heavily deployed and made for a pretty enveloping surround experience with special effects and ambient noise coming at your from every direction. Bass was also tight and deep and never boomy and allows for a decent LFE workout.

Great job…!!

Audio: 4.5/5
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Special Features:
The discs hosts a rather healthy number of special features although none of which are very substantive. They are:
[*] Deleted Scenes With or Without Commentary. Seven scenes are included here and as described in the title, they can be viewed with or without the director’s (Raja Gosnell) narration. Thank God, there isn’t a full length commentary featuring the director – he sounds like Ben Stein from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; “Bueller… Bueller… Beuller…” – just imagine 93 minutes of that… Duration: 7:15 minutes.
[*] Triple Threat Featurette focuses on the Sets, Stunts and Special Effects and how they are all created. Now, this isn’t saying much, but this feature is the meatiest of the bunch and features a number of participants from the cast and crew who go into some detail as to what’s entailed creating the stunts, sets and special effects. It’s light and the older kids of the target audience should enjoy it. Duration: 10:19 minutes.
[*] True Ghoul Hollywood Story takes a look at what went wrong and what led to the path of destruction for those who turned into villains. Duration: 5:47 minutes.
[*] Dancing Dog feature allows Scooby Doo to show his stuff while a number of cast members boast about the dogs ability to boogie. The FX used to create the dancing is also discussed. Duration: 5:30 minutes.
[*] The Scooby Doo Monsters Unleashed Challenge which is a rather mundane game requiring the viewer to find clues necessary to solve the mystery.
[*] Music Videos “Thank You (Falletin Me Be Mice Elf Again)” by Big Brovaz and “Don’t Wanna Think About You” from Simple Plan. Duration: 3:39 & 3:55 minutes.
[*] Several abbreviated Sneak Peek Trailers are also included for the following upcoming titles: The Polar Express, Kangaroo Jack: G’Day USA!, Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, Aloha Scooby-Doo as well as the Monsters Unleashed soundtrack. Duration: 4:38 minutes.
[*] Easter Eggs – Mystery Of The Missing Pants which also appears as a feature on page two of the Special Features. While these are supposed to be clues to unraveling the mystery, they appear to be really, nothing more than Easter eggs. Duration: 1:21 minutes.
[*] And finally, DVD-ROM web links also included.

Remember: More is not better. Good is better, but I’m not going to get too wound up about what’s included on this disc. Hey, the film (and the special features), are geared towards youngsters and I can assure you from personal knowledge, they’ll have a blast with them.

Special Features: 2/5
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**Special Features rated for the quality of supplements, not the quantity**



Final Thoughts:
The original 2002 Scooby-Doo film was an enormous box office success, so should we be surprised that a sequel wasn’t too far behind? Heck, we’d be surprised if there wasn’t. Let’s face it; if you’ve stuck around this long in the review, you know this film wasn’t made for you and me. It’s not high art, but it is a “cute” and delightful film that will undoubtedly appeal to the youngsters in the house. In fact, Monsters Unleashed has quickly become a household favorite in mine – at least for this month.

As for my opinion of the film, well let me say this; it’s no better or no worse than the original Scooby-Doo film of 2002. But I will say, if you’re contemplating a purchase, the presentation is spectacular. Although there’s a lot of fluff to be found in the special feature section, you’re kids are sure to have a lot of fun with them – and in this case, isn’t that all that really matters…?

Overall Rating: 3/5 (not an average)
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Release Date: September 14th, 2004
My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

#2 of 6 OFFLINE   ChrisBEA

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Posted September 15 2004 - 02:14 PM

Well, I for one liked it, I am a sad mark for Scooby related flicks. I also don't mind anything with Linda Cardellini in it.

I'm looking forward to seeing it again.... :b

#3 of 6 OFFLINE   Colin Jacobson

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Posted September 15 2004 - 02:16 PM

Quote:
Well, I for one liked it, I am a sad mark for Scooby related flicks. I also don't mind anything with Linda Cardellini in it.


Especially Linda in a tight leather outfit! Posted Image

But I thought it was a flat film. The first one had some moments of fun, but this one felt more like "product" and lacked inspiration or creativity...
Colin Jacobson
http://www.dvdmg.com

#4 of 6 OFFLINE   Craig Beam

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Posted September 15 2004 - 02:24 PM

Got Pixar on the brain, Herb? I'm sure those references to "Monsters Inc" were supposed to read "Mystery Inc"! Posted Image

#5 of 6 OFFLINE   Casey Trowbridg

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Posted September 15 2004 - 03:05 PM

Quote:
To make matters worse, mean and nasty newspaper reporter, Heather (played by Alicia Silverstone) seems to have a grudge against Monsters Inc.

Well, I don't care what she thinks, I thought Pixar did a great job with that film.

Seriously though, thanks for the review, I'm probably going to pick this up eventually, as I am a mark for Xcooby-Doo even if it is bad Scooby-Doo.

#6 of 6 OFFLINE   Herb Kane

Herb Kane

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Posted September 15 2004 - 03:36 PM

Quote:
Got Pixar on the brain, Herb? I'm sure those references to "Monsters Inc" were supposed to read "Mystery Inc"!


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Ya got me buddy.... it's been a loooong week.

But seriously, it's not a terrible movie - just something that didn't really do a lot for me. My kids, on the other hand, just can't get enough of it.

Thanks guys...!
My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...





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