DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main

Raja Gosnell
Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, Linda Cardellini, Rowan Atkinson, Isla Fisher
James Gunn

After an acrimonious break up, the Mystery Inc. gang are individually brought to an island resort to investigate strange goings on.

Box Office:
$84 million.
Opening Weekend
$54,155,312 on 3,447 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 86 min.
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 1/16/2007

• Audio Commentary With Director Raja Gosnell and Producers Chuck Roven and Richard Suckle
• Audio Commentary With Actors Freddie Prinze, Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, and Linda Cardellini
• “Unmasking the Mystery”” Featurette
• Additional Scenes with Optional Commentary
• Music Video
• “Scary Places” Featurette
• “The Mystery Van” Featurette
• “Daphne Fight Scene” Featurette
• “Rain On the Set” Featurette
• Trailer


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Scooby-Doo [Blu-Ray] (2002)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 18, 2016)

Am I the only person in my age group who harbors few positive memories of Scooby-Doo? The show debuted when I was two, so I wasn’t quite old enough to greet it immediately upon its arrival, but I certainly came of TV age while it enjoyed its initial success.

I maintain fond thoughts toward a lot of 1970s kid TV, but Scooby-Doo doesn’t fall into that category. I can’t say I ever actively disliked the series, but I guess it did little for me.

At least this meant I didn’t greet the release of 2002’s big-screen, live-action Scooby-Doo with the same tremendous malice I aimed at 1994’s The Flintstones. The latter TV show remains one of my all-time favorites, so I must admit it seemed unlikely I’d ever embrace a movie adaptation of the program.

Since Scooby-Doo didn’t come from origins that I regard as so sacrosanct, I should like it more than The Flintstones, right? Actually, yeah, I did enjoy Scooby-Doo much more than The Flintstones, but that’s more because it’s a superior movie than anything else. While definitely not a classic, Scooby-Doo offers a moderately entertaining little experience.

Scooby-Doo begins with an ending, as we see the culmination of an investigation by the kids from Mystery, Inc. We meet blustery, self-centered head man Fred (Freddie Prinze, Jr.), brainy nerd Velma (Linda Cardellini), sexy but spoiled Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar), cowardly but kind Shaggy (Matthew Lillard), and canine mascot Scooby-Doo (voiced by Neil Fanning).

They solve another case but implode after it ends. Due to various forms of internal friction, everyone but Shaggy and Scooby quit Mystery, Inc.

Two years later, Shaggy receives a letter from Emile Mondevarious (Rowan Atkinson), the reclusive proprietor of a college-oriented amusement park called Spooky Island. It turns out that all four members of Mystery Inc got separate invitations to come to the destination and solve a mystery.

Though Shaggy still wants Mystery Inc to regroup, the others decline this opportunity. Instead, each member plans to crack the case independently. The rest of the film follows the gradual unspooling of the plot and the inevitable reunion of the gang.

Though I went into the film with a lack of interest in the Scooby-Doo series, I think the movie provides a pretty decent piece of fun. While it seems to remain true to the spirit of the original show, Scooby-Doo keeps its tongue planted firmly in its cheek, and that attitude allows the film to become more entertaining than I’d expect. It plays with some of the series’ conventions and derives a fair amount of comedy from this mild mocking.

Overall, the film benefits from a largely good cast. Of the four leads, Gellar and Prinze seem like the weakest links, but neither comes across as problematic.

Prinze isn’t much of an actor, and I’m tempted to state that he’s miscast here, but when I think about it, I can’t think of any role for which he’d actively make sense. Prinze displays so little talent that I can’t come up with any part that would really work for him. Nonetheless, his stiffness allows him to fill Fred’s blowhard shoes reasonably well.

As for Gellar, I think she tries a little too hard to distance herself from Buffy. She pushes Daphne’s brattiness and creates a one-dimensional performance. Nonetheless, Gellar seems reasonably charming despite those tendencies, and she does okay in the part.

The stellar work from Lillard and Cardellini compensates for the other pair. In reality, Cardellini’s a very sexy woman - I think she’s much better looking than Gellar - but she inhabits the role of Velma so well that I totally buy her as a frumpy geek.

Lillard seems even better, as he completely nails the part of Shaggy. Not only does he perfectly emulate Casey Kasem’s original vocal work, but also Lillard brings out the appropriate vibe as the loose and amiable Shaggy. Even if the rest of the movie tanked, Scooby-Doo would merit a screening just to marvel at Lillard’s remarkable performance.

On the negative side, Scooby-Doo often forces its humor, and it can’t quite make up its mind what it wants to be. The film offers a lot of jokes clearly aimed at adults, but it also holds back from going all the way. As you’ll see in the disc’s “Additional Scenes” area, the movie originally included some more outré material, but the filmmakers backed off on those elements.

Nonetheless, the flick usually moves at a brisk pace. It sags notably during its second half, but at least the gags and action come at us so quickly that it never totally collapses. Few of the jokes shine, but enough of them work to make the film seem generally enjoyable.

Probably the weakest aspect of Scooby-Doo comes from its reliance on computer-generated imagery. In addition to Scooby himself, the movie includes scads of CG elements; various monsters and other bits use those techniques. Not a single one of them looks good, and they appear actively distracting at times.

I never really could get used to the overactive and silly-looking Scooby. Would a traditionally animated Scooby - ala Roger Rabbit - have worked better? Maybe, maybe not, but I think one would have seemed more acceptable, especially given our prior experience with a cartoon Scooby.

Paradoxically, that kind of hand-animated element would come across as more believable than CG simply because it looks less realistic. Since cel animation clearly seems artificial, I can more easily suspend disbelief and get into the spirit of the work.

On the other hand, CG tries so hard to look real that I notice the flaws much more heavily. Excellent CG might come across as more convincing, but the weak work in Scooby-Doo causes problems. The CG Scooby looked terrible in 2002 and he’s not become more appealing with age.

Nonetheless, I largely enjoyed Scooby-Doo. I didn’t expect much from this light-hearted and silly cartoon caper, but I found it to offer a periodically clever and reasonably amusing little flick. While the film didn’t make me a fan of the old TV show, I still thought it seemed likable, and it was definitely better than I anticipated.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture C+ / Audio B / Bonus B+

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

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main