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HTF REVIEW: "Scooby-Doo" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Sep 26, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein


    Studio: Warner Brothers
    Year: 2002
    Rated: PG
    Film Length: 86 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
    Subtitles: English & Spanish

    "Scooby Doo...Where are you?!"
    Not having seen Scooby-Doo theatrically,
    I had heard some pretty bad things about the film.
    After all, Live-action adaptations of cartoons
    have never always succeeded well. While The
    looked great on the screen, it
    suffered somewhat from a lackluster storyline.
    This is pretty much the same case with Scooby-Doo.
    Here is a film that is remarkably an exact
    transposition of the cartoon, with set designs
    that are breathtaking. From there, however, the
    film goes downhill fast.
    As the film opens we discover The Mystery Machine
    crew has just discovered the secret of the ghost
    who captured Daphne. Just like it always happened
    in cartoon, the ghost turns out to be a man in a
    mask. It's just another day solving mysteries
    for Fred (Freddie Prinze, Jr.), Daphne (Sarah
    Michelle Gellar), Velma (Linda Cardellini) and
    Shaggy (Matthew Lillard), and of course...Scooby.
    With such considerable crime-solving talent, you
    would expect that sooner or later their egos
    would start to collide. This is exactly what
    happens and they all decide to go their separate
    ways. Two years later, they find out that each
    of them has been hired by Mr. Mondavarious (Rowan
    Atkinson), whose Spooky Island theme park is a
    little spookier than he had in mind. The gang
    decides to put their differences aside and be
    a team once again.
    Though the film certainly tries to replicate the
    70s cartoon with its cartoonish-styled sets, the
    film ultimately suffers from an awful script that
    includes its share of fart and burp jokes that
    will just make your eyes roll. Director Raja
    Gosnell tries his best to make "Scooby-Doo" as
    faithful as possible. The costumes are exactly
    right, and the character imitations are almost
    dead-on. The film's poorest performance is of
    Freddie Prince's imitation of Fred. And while
    Scooby's CGI animation looks out of place, it
    somehow works. The big problem here is that the
    film is awfully noisy, and other than a terrific
    opening sequence that gives us a ghost chase
    on skateboard, the action goes nowhere. It
    had to be tough for the filmmakers to decide
    whether they were going to appease the new
    generation of kids or the former generation of
    little kids who want to see their memories of
    the show through a sieve that is part retro and
    part campiness. Unfortunately, the film
    delivers more for the little kids than us
    big ones.
    How is the transfer?
    They don't come much better than this! Here is
    a transfer that looks as if it was lifted from the
    pages of a comic book, filled with neon-colors
    of pink, green, orange, red and purple that leap
    out in scene after scene. The film actually looks
    like a live-action cartoon. It's wonderful to
    see such an intensity of color represented with no
    oversaturation, video noise or film grain. In fact,
    I was hard pressed to find any imperfections in
    this transfer. Picture quality is very solid and
    certainly demo-quality for anyone that wants to
    show off the color ranges of their home theater
    The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix was sort of a letdown.
    Don't get me wrong, the sound is very robust and
    bass-heavy in the front channels. There's also
    very strong LFE response that had my subwoofer
    providing room-shaking response to every crash
    and thud that occurred on screen. The problem I
    found is that this film is way too noisy in the
    front channels, giving very little sense of
    direction to the rest of the channels. Effects
    noises get lost very easy. In fact, except for
    the film's score, I never really sensed much
    happening in the rear channels until the film's
    final sacrificial scene. It's almost as if there
    was too much noise and nowhere to go.
    Special Features
    Scooby-Doo arrives in separate WIDESCREEN
    and FULL FRAME editions -- so be very careful which
    version you are picking up. You'll immediately
    be struck by the neon-green packaging that the DVD
    comes in. As usual, I managed to scratch the snapper
    case trying to pry off the multiple security stickers.
    Popping in the DVD brings you to a drum-kickin'
    Main Menu screen that has live-action Scooby
    rollickin' around a cartoon Tiki set that contains
    the menu commands.
    There are two separate commentaries recorded
    for this DVD. The first is a filmmakers commentary
    that features Director Raja Gosnell, Producers
    Richard Suckle and Charles Roven. The second is
    a cast commentary featuring Matthew Lillard
    (Shaggy), Freddie Prince Jr. (Fred), Sarah
    Michelle Gellar (Daphne) and Linda Cardellini
    (Velma). I gave the cast commentary a listen,
    and actually its rather a fun considering
    that everyone is sitting together having a great
    time with each other. We learn that Sarah was
    away doing Buffy through some of the filming.
    The cast members were pretty bummed out when
    they discovered that Spooky Island was nothing
    but sand dunes. All the added rides and its
    surroundings were done completely in CGI. You
    can tell how impressed everyone was with the
    immense sets they preformed on, as so much of
    their commentary is dedicated to talking about
    all its moving parts. The guys and gals have no
    problem mocking on each other's performance --
    especially Freddie Prince's dancing sequence
    inside the sacrificial cave. This is the sort
    of commentary that works best on DVD -- throw
    a bunch of young actors in a room and let them
    go at each other.
    There is 13 minutes worth of Alternate Scenes
    presented on this DVD. Some of the material include...
    * An alternate opening to the film which introduces
    the Mystery Machine gang in their original animated
    form. After an initial screening, the filmmakers
    decided that the cartoon really wasn't needed to
    introduce the characters to the audience.
    * Flashback sequences that occur as the group
    meets in the airport. These flashbacks show that
    their lives haven't been as exactly exciting as
    they made it out to be.
    * A musical montage sequence that introduced the
    characters and audience to Spooky Island.
    * Velma's song and dance number atop a grand piano.
    * A brainwashed and bikini-clad Velma acting a
    little out of character in a girl's locker room.
    * Daphne losing her spirit as a creature inhabits
    her body. A very exciting visual piece that proved
    to be a little too intense for younger viewers.
    For the most part, these deleted scenes are quite
    good. It's a shame many of them had to be removed.
    They are all in finished form, and can be watched
    with or without commentary from Director Raja Gosnell.
    Unmasking The Mystery behind Scooby-Doo
    takes us behind the scenes as we watch the cast
    go through the motions before the camera. As
    star Sarah Michelle Gellar puts it, "It's been
    an incredibly physical role in incredibly high
    boots". With a split screen to their cartoon
    alter-egos, each of the cast members have their
    turn to talk about how much fun it was to play
    their respective roles, as they all tried to make
    something great even better. Director Raja Gosnell
    obviously had a great time with his cast, as we
    watch him try to bring the best out of his characters.
    This featurette also includes an interview with
    the cartoon's creators, Joseph Barbera and Iwao
    Takamoto as we learn a little about the development
    of the original TV cartoon that all of us fell in
    love with. Visual Effects Producer Kurt Williams
    and Visual Effects Supervisor Peter Crosman talk
    about the massive challenge of bringing Scooby to
    the live-action screen. To better help us understand
    how it is done, we are treated to several Pre-
    visualizations of the animation process. It's
    funny to watch the actors working around animation
    that hasn't already been done yet. I think you
    will find this featurette to be rather fun!
    (length: approx. 21 minutes)
    Scary Places is a small featurette that
    takes us through the massive set designs of this
    film that mimic the original cartoons so well.
    Producer Charles Rowen calls this the most
    ambitious project he has ever been involved with.
    It's just so cool to take this guided tour of
    the many awesome cartoon sets and I think you'll
    be just as impressed as I was with all the
    detailed design.
    (length: approx. 4 minutes)
    Production Designer Bill Boes introduces us
    to the The Mystery Van (aka Mystery Machine),
    citing that 55 different designs of the van were
    planned until the final one was selected. Matthew
    Lillard (Shaggy) gives us a back door tour of
    all the van's luxuries that include a television
    and shag carpeting.
    (length: approx. 1 minute)
    Fist and kick fighting combined with wirework
    make up Daphne's Fight Scene, shown
    through storyboards and direction from Stunt
    co-ordinator Guy Norris. Here's a behind-the-camera
    view of how these difficult stunt sequences were
    performed with some interesting reaction from
    Sarah Michelle Gellar.
    (lenth: approx. 2.2 minutes)
    This is pretty cool! An arcade game called
    Spooky Island Arcade Challenge. It's one
    of those arcade claw machines that pick up goodies
    from its floor. All you hafta do is help Scooby
    and Shaggy answer a few questions in order to
    collect the proper items from the claw machine's
    floor. The game's a lot of fun, evoking several
    cool responses from a correct or incorrect answer.
    Better yet, You can play ONE PLAYER or TWO PLAYER.
    The film's Music Video, Land of a Million
    , is included in its entirety.
    There's also DVD-ROM content that I did
    not have time to explore, but I imagine it contains
    all sorts of web-enabled features.
    Final Thoughts
    Whether you enjoy Scooby-Doo or not
    will most likely depend on your age group. For
    the young ones, this is going to be a terrific
    DVD that will stand up to repeated viewing.
    For those of thus that grew up with Scooby,
    getting through one viewing may be difficult.
    Release Date: October 11, 2002
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator

    Dec 9, 1998
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    Real Name:
    You mean there's no deleted scene showing Shaggy smoking a joint and giving Scooby-Doo some Scooby snacks?[​IMG]
  3. Pete Battista

    Pete Battista Screenwriter

    Sep 20, 1999
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    Princess Anne, Md. USA
    Real Name:
    Thanks Ron... I watched this one at the theater with my 6yr old daughter... We both enjoyed it alot... I for one grew up with Scooby Doo and still loved the movie.. this is one I will definately be adding to my collection [​IMG]
  4. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

    Nov 1, 1998
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    Real Name:
    Lou Sytsma
    How's this one for the youngsters? My 3 year old is crazy about the cartoon and loves singing the theme song.

    Would this be too intense for him?
  5. Scott_J

    Scott_J Cinematographer

    Jul 17, 2000
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    I'll be picking this one up. Looking forward to that claw trivia game. I used to always use those claw machines when I was a kid, so that'll bring back some memories. [​IMG]
  6. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

    Mar 15, 1999
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    Houston, Texas
    Real Name:
    John Williamson
    Great review Ron, I would expect nothing less from you as your my #1 reviewer of dvd's.
    In this case however i'm going to take your thoughts into consideration but pick it up sight unseen anyway. I just have a gut feeling that i'm going to like the film.
    I hope I don't get burned, but if I do, you have my express permission to tell me you told me so. [​IMG]
  7. David Illingworth II

    David Illingworth II Second Unit

    May 11, 2001
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    Sounds great, Ron! Especially since I really liked the movie too! I must have seen it 3 times, and I'm not the only one.[​IMG]
  8. Johnny G

    Johnny G Supporting Actor

    Dec 12, 2000
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    My 6 & 8 year old daughters love it, they must have watched it 20 times!
  9. R. Kay

    R. Kay Second Unit

    May 11, 1999
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    I'm hoping for some clarification ...

    Was Freddie Prinze Jr. or Scooby a CGI character?

    Regardless, I think Scooby's got a little more range as an actor.
  10. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

    Dec 4, 1999
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    Wow, SMG will do commentary for this piece of crap, yet won't even be on the interviews for her own "made me famous" show that actually has quality writing and acting.

  11. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

    Mar 15, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Houston, Texas
    Real Name:
    John Williamson
    i've seen Sarah on interviews for 'Buffy'. In fact they show them all the time on FX.

    As for the commentary, i'm not sure what her schedual must be like, but it's possible she recorded the track during her time off from 'Buffy'. It may just be a timing thing with her. Not sure though, just my guess.
  12. Robert Floto

    Robert Floto Supporting Actor

    Jul 27, 1999
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    I personally felt that this film could have been better. Much like the animated Batman films, the recent Scooby films (Zombie Island, Witche's Ghost, etc.) are much better written, and more enjoyable than their live action counterparts.

    Perhaps both of these fanchises should get the writers of their animated films to write the live action movies from now on...
  13. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

    Jul 8, 1999
    Likes Received:
    I pleasantly enjoyed the movie. Maybe, because I wasn't expecting too much. My 7 & 4 year old daughters loved it.
    Matthew Lilliard absolutely nailed the character of Shaggy. As did Linda Cardelini, who by the way is a lot hotter than Velma is suppose to be. The only drawbacks were Fred & Daphne. I cannot completely blame Michele or Freddie. The characters are just not that transferrable. Although, that blond hair color just not work on Freddie. [​IMG]
  14. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

    Dec 28, 1998
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    Add me to the club that thinks Linda Cardelini is hot![​IMG]
  15. Jens Raethel

    Jens Raethel Second Unit

    Oct 27, 1998
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    Real Name:
    I will buy this DVD, Im afterall still a "little" kid![​IMG]
  16. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

    Dec 4, 1999
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    John, the point being that SMG is nowhere to be found on the DVDs, yet there she is on Scooby
  17. Robert Floto

    Robert Floto Supporting Actor

    Jul 27, 1999
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    So where are the screen grabs of Linda Cardelini in the bikini? [​IMG]
  18. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

    Feb 4, 1999
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    I agree that the recent Scooby "full-length" animated movies have better overall story lines than this live-action offering (especially Scooby Doo and The Witches Ghost); but my five year old daughter has ordered me to purchase this DVD. So ... What choice do I have??
  19. Brenton

    Brenton Screenwriter

    Jun 25, 2002
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    I am one of the (seemingly) few who enjoyed this film. Granted, the "spiritual possession" part is pretty stupid and the ending was over-the-top, but I really liked this film and thought it stuck true to the cartoon series. I will buy it if I find that I have the money.
  20. JavierS

    JavierS Stunt Coordinator

    Oct 12, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Ron, I heard a while back that there was a scene where Daphne and Velma kissed, any truth to this? I can only pray for THAT easter egg :b

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