Heinsight: Rewriting 'Scooby Doo'
Taking on this absolute classic for a modern treatment.
Scooby Doo is arguably one of the longest standing and most iconic characters ever put to film. The adventures of the mystery gang started back in the 60's, and have endured to this day with the upcoming reboot, 'Scoob!' (exclamation mark necessary). But this is not the first feature length Scooby outing. After the direct to video movies from the early nineties, we were treated to two live action Scooby Doo films in the early 2000's, written by James Gunn of all people. A lot of people enjoy these movies, and I myself am among those people, but I will be the first to admit that they're far from perfect. Dated CGI, questionable costume choices, and a paper-thin plot make these incredibly dated by today's standards. So let's take a stab at rewriting the live action Scooby Doo film.
But first, a few caviats. Number one, I am not saying these films are bad. A lot of work goes into making these films, and be it budget or time constraints, overbearing executives or not enough awareness of the source material, these films were still made and people still got paid, and they have their great qualities. Also, heinsight is a great thing, and my ideas come from thinking how I could improve the film specifically for this article. I did not make this film from scratch, I had an entirely finished product to go off of, with no creative or budgetary restrictions to hamper me. So think of this merely as a creative exercise, and not a critique on the film itself. I could rewrite Citizen Kane if I felt like it.
Secondly, these are just ideas. Again, not saying this is better or worse, just an idea. If you disagree, or think your ideas are better, go for it! This is just my personal take on the film.
And finally, this is meant to be fun. I'm a twenty three year old videographer with a film degree and an ego just big enough to think starting a YouTube channel is a viable option.
Introducing the gang!
The movie has a classic cold open with Daphne already caught by a masked killer, being saved by the rest of the gang, and them unmasking and arresting him. Throwing back to the old serial and starting with this is effective enough to establish that this is going to be different from the source material is decent enough, I would like to start this differently.
For a start, the gang do not know each other yet. I'm drawing a little bit from the new film and the bizarre comic run 'Scooby Doo: Apocalypse'. In this comic, the gang is slowly introduced to each other as the story progresses to the monster reveal. I wanted to take a similar approach.
We open with Daphne, a TV presenter following the connections that led her to an abandoned factory attempting to uncover a masked burglar that's been operating for a couple of months. Her and her camera-man are attacked by the man, but they manage to bring him down, at which point, it's revealed that Fred is the camera-man, and quite clearly has a crush on his boss. It's later revealed that the two are, in fact, dating in secret. Once the show is successfully wrapped, the two steal a kiss in Fred's van as he drops her home.
Meanwhile, we move to Velma for the set up of the villain, Mandovorious. She is working in ride development on Voodoo Island, but is starting to have her suspicions of her charismatic boss. He seems deeply passionate about re-creating the memories of his childhood with wild rides and spooky haunted houses, and providing the perfect getaway for families. When he leaves her, she finds some suspicious documents about an abandoned tunnel system underneath the island.
Finally, we meet the two reasons everyone still watches the show, arguably, and that is Shaggy and Scooby Doo. Their introduction proper is the one that I would probably change the least, leaving them snacking in the van whilst they've got the TV on. After some comedic interaction between the two of them, establishing their friendship and providing a bit more levity, an advert comes on the TV, presented by Daphne, advertising the new park at Voodoo Island, and a competition for people to win a trip.
Then cutting to Daph finishing up the advert, she rolls her eyes as cut is called. Mandovarious claps and introduces himself to her. She dismisses him as sleazy until her boss comes over and informs her that she needs to go to the Island to cover the opening. Daphne is resistant but her boss reminds her that cuts are being made and she might lose her show or her massively overpaid camera-man if she doesn't start helping out the network.
From here, we move to the airport. Daph and Fred walk in, with Daph complaining and Fred listening, but acting as the voice of reason. They get to keep their jobs, and who knows, the Island might be hiding some secrets. Behind them, but unaware of their presence, Shaggy enters, bags piled high, and with Scooby hidden in one of them. A girl greets the pair, and she's holding a bag of fast food, which Scoob catches a whiff of and leads to a scenario in which Shaggy has to fight with Scoob trying to break out of the bag, and allows, potentially, for a situation in which he has to do a bad impression of a Scooby Doo accent.
Fred and Daphne have a slightly tamer introduction, as Velma has been personally sent by Mandovarious to greet the presenter and show them around, acting as their personal guide. Daphne mentions that they should have an airport on the island, as she hates sailing and water. They have a relatively polite introduction, but Velma drops a hint that something else is up, but doesn't want to talk more and changes the subject.
On the plane, it's clear that there's chemistry between Shaggy and his greeter, Mary Jane, as they casually flirt on the journey. Scooby is below deck, and it's here we see his fearful yet usefulness as he gets out of the bag and stumbles across a rocking bag. When they touch down we see Scoob has put himself back in the bag, but has left his tail out, and so Mary Jane meets Scoob. Scooby is obviously a little bit jealous of how much Shaggy has fallen for her already.
Whilst on the plane, a safety briefing is played, specifically drawing attention to the risk of minor earthquakes and/or volcanic eruptions.
Now, we get a full scope of the island. Towering coasters set against a mountain, with tiki themed decorations littering the park. At the doors, Mandovarious pulls Daphne and Fred up onto stage for him to deliver a speech about the park and how it's designed to unlock your greatest fears and bring everyone together, before the doors swing open, and all the guests, competition winners and everyone else descend on the park, buying snacks, and queuing for the rides.
Daphne and Fred go about interviewing people, with Daphne swiftly losing interest and her mind wandering to what Velma said, along with her instructions to meet her at the foot of the mountain after dark. The pair settle in for a long week.
At this point we've got all the gang in the same place, but they haven't all met and they haven't bonded yet. We have a villain with some basic intrigue, and my attempt at humorous moments to keep it kid friendly. I think this is a strong start, acting as almost a reboot. We now have to get the gang together, which in my mind is at about the halfway point of the movie, and then the Scooby Doo action that you know and expect kicks in.
But before we hit that point, we have to get the gang to meet for the first time, and so this is where we finally bring the five together.
At the foot of the mountain is your classic haunted house ride. Velma is at the front, waiting for Daphne and Fred, whilst Shaggy, in an attempt to cheer Scooby up, suggest sneaking in the back and seeing what they can find. When Velma lets the reporters in, she starts to explain about the unexplored caverns below the Island that Mandovarious has failed to declare on any other architectural plans or utilise. In some cases, he's actively built around for them, except for one entrance which is located in the back room of this haunted house. Velma tells them that the back doors are electric, and so has to turn the house on.
When the house fires up, Shaggy and Scooby have already snuck into one of the main rooms, and are assaulted by a load of cheap scares, and they both freak out and run.
The other group hears their screams and runs to find them. They finally come across them having tripped over a manhole that leads down to one of the abandoned tunnels. The investigation team break it open and swiftly make their way down, with Shaggy and Scooby initially hesitant, but a noise scares them and sends them downstairs.
As they clamber down, they notice the flickering of flames, and they turn around to see what looks like an ancient tomb, and in the middle is a hooded man with a mask on. The group hide as others emerge from behind the tomb, and begin to dance around as a prism emerges from the centre of the tomb. The Daemon Ritus. The group struggle to make out what the people are saying, and appear to be chanting in some sort of ancient language, according to Velma, but she can't make out what it is. Daphne informs her that it's Mayan, having covered a story on it last year, and turns to Fred, who is already recording the whole thing on his camera, so they can translate it later. It's at this point that the hooded figure drops his cloak to reveal the mask of a cat. Scooby notices it and becomes frustrated, and Shaggy is too slow to shut the dog up before he barks. From here a chase sequence ensues, where Velma, Fred and Daphne realise that the dog can talk, and they are chased out of the cavern.
They regroup at the bar. They review the footage and try to make out the faces of the dancers. They are able to see them, but don't know any of them. Shaggy makes the point that this is a big place and that they could be anywhere.
Shaggy catches eye of Mary Jane and heads over straight away. Scoob doesn't notice straight away, as Daphne is casually scratching behind his ear. When he looks up at the footage, he sees Mary Jane is one of the dancers. He shouts, and looks for Shaggy, and darts over, knocking several people over en route.
The commotion catches the attention of Mandovarious, and he emerges from his office overlooking the whole affair. He quietens them down, and walks towards the gang, who have floated back together with Mary Jane. Mandovarious approaches and asks what all the commotion is about. He catches eye of Daphne, and recognises her as the reporter. He asks if she is conducting a review of his park. She goes to argue, but gets kicked slightly by Velma, so stops herself and agrees. He remarks that a reporter of her caliber must've seriously annoyed her boss to be writing a fluff piece on the island. But at least she got to bring her little cameraman friend. He wonder's if there's a workplace romance going on, which gets Fred riled up. Finally, he turns to Velma, He says that she's been away from her post a lot today. She apologises, and that she got wind that Daphne was on the island and wanted to show her around personally. He congratulates her, but quite clearly doesn't believe her. He looks to Shaggy and Scooby, and simply turns away, thinking they're not worth his time. This leaves Shaggy out of sorts. Scooby is equally grumpy as well, and the gang decide to retire for the night. Velma fires up a piece of translation software, and leaves it to run on her phone whilst they head to bed.
Daphne and Fred go to their shared room and relax. The two begin to bicker like an old married couple about what Mandovarious said, and Daphne goes to take a shower in a huff. When she slams the bathroom door, we see Mary Jane waiting behind it.
Overnight, Scooby has dreams of a possessed Mary Jane breaking into their room and eating Shaggy. He bolts awake and goes for a stroll through the corridors. We hear a commotion at the end of the corridor and a scream, which wakes Shaggy up. They both run to check on Daphne and Fred. When they get to the door, Daphne answers. Shaggy asks what happened and she says nothing, and shuts the door. The two head back to their room. Meanwhile, Daphne turns back to Fred, and smiles at him. Both their eyes glow green.
The gang meet up the next morning at breakfast to go over a plan for investigation. Shaggy and Scooby are buried in a mountain of food, whilst Velma talks to Daphne and Fred, and starts becoming suspicious that something is up. The pair are all of a sudden much more interested in pursuing the cover story of making a review for the park. She mentions a ride on the other side of the island that Fred and Daphne should check out, and sends them off. She then turns to Shaggy and Scooby and asks them to follow her back to the tomb from the previous night. Man and Dog are understandably hesitant but Velma wins them round with the promise of paying for their food for the rest of the trip.
En route to the tomb, the three talk about Mandovarious. Velma unveils how she met the man, started working on the park and idolised him, until she discovered something she shouldn't have. Shaggy remarks that at least he pays attention to her. She says that he should be happy he's not paying attention to him. It's quite clear that Shaggy is used to being the unimportant one in life, and he's got quite the chip on his shoulder. Left over from breakfast. Scooby tries to comfort his owner, but is not successful by the time they reach the tomb. The Daemon Ritus is still on display. Shaggy goes to grab it, but Velma says that this might be a trap. He doesn't care, and wants to be useful, so goes for the pyramid.
As Velma said, a mechanism is activated, which causes the tomb to begin to collapse into the ground. The gang make a break for it, but Velma trips, losing her glasses, and is ultimately captured by possessed people. Shaggy and Scooby are forced to leave her.
When they hit the surface, they both feel guilty, realising that their actions have hurt Velma, their friend. Shaggy remembers he's holding the pyramid. The two decide to hide for a bit and formulate a plan.
Velma meanwhile, is brought face to face with Mandovarious. He mocks his favourite employee, before asking her where the Daemon Ritus is. She says she doesn't know, that it was already gone when she got there. And she knows what's going on. Possessing island-goers, and making them do his bidding, using the pyramid for some reason, but she doesn't know what yet. Mandovarious applauds her, but doesn't elaborate further. She'll have to figure out the rest for herself. In the meantime, she may prove useful. One of the possessed islanders slowly approaches her, her eyes glowing green.
It's from here that we move into the final moments of the movie. To recap where we are, Shaggy and Scooby are alone, a wedge about to be driven between them in the form of Mary Jane, and the other three are possessed by the supernatural forces at work on the island. Mandovarious is clearly our villain, but I've taken the decision to put him at the forefront for the sake of variety. The old classic television shows made it some random person that has been seen maybe once, and is only a surprise because they were never a suspect. Giving the gang a proper antagonist that opposes them all gives us more to work with dramatically. Velma is fighting a man that she once idolised, Daphne and Fred are going up against a high-ranking man with a lot of power and influence, and Shaggy and Scooby are trying to prove their worth to this man and the gang that thinks they're useless.
This is the point in the story where all of these fights are brought to the forefront.
Shaggy and Scooby go back to the hotel, looking for Fred and Daphne. They instead find Mary Jane, who looks concerned. She asks them to come to her room to help her with something, which she doesn't exactly explain. Scooby is growling the entire time.
As they enter the room, their is a faint chill in the air. The two step inside, egged on by Mary Jane who hangs around just outside. As they step further in, they hear the door shut behind them. They turn back, slowly, to find Mary Jane standing against the door, her eyes glowing green. She speaks with a voice that is not her own.
'We need you, Shaggy and Scooby. We need you.' When Shaggy asks what's going on, she steps forward towards him.
'We need everyone. As many as possible. And then the world will be ours' or something to that effect. Her eyes intensify, and Shaggy seems to fall under a spell.
That's when Scooby wacks her over the head with a serving tray, bringing Shaggy out of the trance, and the two begin to run. Mary Jane yells after them and gives chase once again.
As they sprint to the end of the corridor, the window smashes, and a purple dress and red neckerchief tumble through. Fred and Daphne, eyes also glowing green, stand up. The two are now stuck between Mary Jane and their new friends. As the two groups pelt towards them, closing in on them, all seems lost. Suddenly, Shaggy notices a fire extinguisher, and in a last ditch attempt, grabs it and points it at Fred. He apologises and fires. The blast knocks Fred off his feet.
Gleeful that it worked, he turns it to Daphne who also goes down. The two writhe on the floor, then they arch their backs. A demon of some description explodes from them in a cloud of green smoke and dissipates. They slowly clamber to their feet, and wipe their eyes. At first their is still a fleck of green, but it fades and they come back to themselves.
Shaggy embraces them, and the two reluctantly hug back. Fred says that he could vaguely remember what had happened since the previous night. Maybe it was the shock that broke them out of the trance. Daphne mentions that she hates water. Shaggy mentions that they clocked MJ over the back of the head and she was still possessed. That's when they remember about her and turn back. MJ is gone. And so is Scooby.
The evil villains plan
Scooby Doo wakes up, tied down. Looking around for a moment, Mandovarious finally steps out of the shadow. He says hello to Scooby and then goes on to reveal his grand plan.
He discovered the Daemon Ritus when he came to the island to build the park, originally space-themed, and found the underground temple. When he cracked the door he was contacted by a supernatural being, and took his body, using him as a MASK to hide his true plan, which was to take over humanity. Starting from this park, and spreading his message over the world.
I'm just going to skip to the part where the gang break back into the temple, as how they get there really isn't important, and it's fairly easy to figure out, but this is where, for the most part, where we catch up with the original film. For the most part, it plays out the same. The gang infiltrate, Scooby is about to be sacrificed. Shaggy runs into MJ and has to run from her. Velma is off sorting out something to wake everyone up, whilst Daphne and Fred pretend to still be possessed and join the gathered park residents who are there for 'the awakening'.
Just before they take Scoob, Daphne and Fred manage to free him and they begin to run. As they run, Scoob tries to explain what Mandovarious is, but the two are struggling to understand, that is, until they run into Shaggy and MJ.
They clock her over the head and tie her up.
Shaggy is able to translate Scooby's panicked rambling and explain the plan.
Velma reveals her plan. She's figured out that you have to trigger peoples survival instinct to snap them out of the possession, by exposing them to their greatest fear, or by making them scared for their lives. She does this with one simple trick.
By using the rides directly above, she convinces the possessed people that there's a volcano eruption. The shaking from the roller coaster combined with some clever sound effects played through speakers snaps enough people out of it to start them running to safety.
Velma finally confronts her boss. The evil being inside him is screaming for blood. She talks to the boss that is stuck inside, that she looked up to, and brings him face-to-face with his own fear. That of being left behind and not recognised.
Her impassioned speech which I haven't written for... lazy reasons, snaps him out of it. He realises what has happened, and is immediately apologetic. Velma drags him away as the spirit begins to lose his mind and actually ignite the volcano. How is not yet known.
The gang reunite and make a break for the dock, escaping with every person in the nick of time before the volcano erupts. Mandovarious watches as his life long dream is drowned under a running river of lava.
6 months later, and the news is wrapping up a special follow-up with Mandovarious, talking about his fall from grace, and how he sees it as a kind of repentance for his actions. It's still a mystery what transpired on the island, as scientists say the volcano had no chance of erupting.
The news anchor signs off, and the next programme starts. Daphne is on screen, stood in front of a brightly coloured van with Shaggy, Scooby and Velma, as they approach an old dilapidated house. She says that a ghost has been reported wandering through the windows, and they enter the house as the titled card comes up of 'Mystery Incorporated.'
I hope you enjoy this hypothetical rewrite of Scooby-Doo. Like I said up top, this is just a bit of fun, and let me know if you can think of any other films that deserve the remake treatment.
About the Creator
Film reviews, movie-making articles, and more. Follow a fanboy's journey in exploring pop culture and everything else around it.
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