Scooby-Doo appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was an early Blu-ray and it showed its age to a moderate degree.
Sharpness was erratic. Most of the movie showed fairly good delineation and accuracy, but some softness occurred, especially in wider shots. No instances of jaggies or moiré effects could be seen, and I noticed no edge haloes. Print flaws stayed absent. Some artifacts could give the movie a slightly messy feel, though.
The cartoony world of Scooby-Doo offered a broad and varied palette. These were reasonably peppy but those mild artifacts made them seem a bit less lively than I’d expect. Blacks were pretty dark and deep, and shadows showed nice clarity. In the end, the image was acceptable but not special.
I felt happier with the film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, though the Blu-ray should’ve provided a lossless option. The soundfield offered a fairly active and engaging presence.
The front domain dominated the flick, as the forward channels provided distinct stereo imaging for the music as well as a positive sense of environment. Those elements blended together well and moved cleanly across the speakers.
As for the surrounds, they seemed a little less involving than I expected of a modern blockbuster, but they contributed a solid sense of atmosphere throughout the film. They also added some useful unique audio at times, especially during the action sequences. Elements flew across the speakers well and seemed convincing.
Audio quality appeared solid. Dialogue seemed natural and warm, and I noticed no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects came across as distinct and accurate; they boasted solid clarity and also showed fine low-end response when appropriate.
Music sounded bright and vibrant, and the songs and score provided good dynamics with tight, deep bass. A lossless version might’ve been a “B+”, but I dinged the score a bit and made this a “B”.
How does the Blu-ray compare to the original 2002 DVD? Audio remained identical, as the Blu-ray lacked a lossless option. Visuals weren’t great for Blu-ray, but they seemed better defined and more vivid than the DVD.
The Blu-ray replicates most of the DVD’s extras, and we find two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from director Raja Gosnell and producers Chuck Roven and Richard Suckle. While the producers were recorded together, Gosnell sat separately, and the results were edited into this screen-specific track.
In a reverse of the usual trend, the producers dominate the piece, whereas Gosnell shows up more sporadically. He tosses in a few useful remarks about shooting decisions and other elements, but he doesn’t offer a great deal of information.
On the other hand, Roven and Suckle seem more active and involved. They go over a fairly nice mix of topics, as they cover some of the casting, different effects challenges, the production schedule, and other good bits of information. Gaps periodically mar the presentation, but overall this seems like a fairly interesting commentary.
The second audio commentary includes actors Matthew Lillard, Freddie Prinze, Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Linda Cardellini, all of whom sit together for this running, screen-specific piece. As I’ve noted in the past, actor commentaries tend to sound great on paper but work poorly in reality. For every good track like the one from Pearl Harbor with Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett, we get a miserable piece such as the one with Mena Suvari, Jason Biggs and Thomas Ian Nicholas from American Pie 2.
The actor track for Scooby-Doo falls somewhere between those two extremes. The actors provide a reasonably entertaining experience, though not one that features scads of information. The participants occasionally repeat material from the first commentary, but I can’t fault them for that.
Otherwise, they generally enjoy themselves as they toss out moderately amusing anecdotes from the set. Too many empty spaces occur and too much praise appears, however. Overall, this becomes a pretty average commentary. It seems better than many actor tracks and I like the spirited reactions, but it doesn’t give us anything particularly special.
After this we get a collection of seven Additional Scenes. Some of this stuff seems fairly interesting, such as the alternate animated opening piece, and we see a segment in which Velma croons a love song toward Daphne. The section lasts a total of 13 minutes, 32 seconds and merits a look for fans.
The scenes can be viewed with or without commentary from director Raja Gosnell. Mainly he lets us know why the various segments got the boot, but he also adds a few production comments. He ignores the more controversial elements - such as the sexual overtones of Velma’s song - but his remarks provide some interesting information.
Next we find Unmasking the Mystery Behind Scooby-Doo, a 22-minute, 10-second featurette about the film. It mixes clips from the flick, shots from the set, and interviews with producers Roven and Suckle, director Gosnell, actors Prinze, Gellar, Cardellini, Lillard, Rowan Atkinson, and Neil Fanning, animation czar Joseph Barbera, TV show production designer Iwao Takamoto, visual effects producer Kurt Williams, visual effects supervisor Peter Crosman, and screenwriter James Gunn.
Though the program clearly exists as a promotional piece, it provides a reasonable amount of good information. Some of the material simply chats about how great everything is, but we also find some nice coverage of the work behind the creation of Scooby. We see some animation techniques and also hear lots about how the actors interacted with the non-existent pooch. “Unmasking” doesn’t qualify as a strong documentary, but it seems better than average for this genre.
After this we locate a music video Outkast’s “The Land of a Million Drums”. In addition to the usual snippets from the movie, the piece includes new footage of Lillard and Scooby as they and the rappers go to a spooky castle. Neither excels tremendously, but both the song and the video seem better than average.
Next we get a few more featurettes. Scary Places lasts four minutes, 22 seconds as it discusses the movie’s sets. We see some movie pieces, production material, and interviews with actors Gellar and Lillard, producers Roven and Suckle, and production designer Bill Boes. Though short and fluffy, the piece offers some moderately interesting information.
Shorter and less useful, The Mystery Van runs one minute, two seconds. Lillard gives us a quick tour of the vehicle while Boes shows us some alternate designs for it. It’s nothing special, but it works fine due to its short length.
To look at the work done for some martial arts material, the Daphne Fight Scene featurette provides a little information. It fills two minutes, 28 seconds and includes comments from Gellar, Gosnell, stunt coordinator Guy Norris, actor Sam Grecos, and the Hong Kong fight team. As with the prior featurettes, this one lacks depth, but it shows some decent information.
For the final featurette, we get Rain on the Set. The one-minute, 18-second clip includes Cardellini, Lillard, Suckle, and first AD Phil Patterson. We see that it rained a lot during the shoot – that’s about it.
The package finishes with a trailer and a soundtrack spot. It loses a game and DVD-ROM materials from the prior release but includes everything else.
While I don’t view Scooby-Doo as anything special, I must admit it offers a surprisingly entertaining little flick. The movie sags at times, but it features enough cheeky fun to work, especially due to some solid acting. The Blu-ray presented mostly positive picture and audio along with a nice array of supplements. The movie could use a new transfer, but it remains a largely likeable
To rate this film, visit the DVD review of SCOOBY-DOO