You and I should be grateful for films such as this—how else would we understand the definition of "torture"?
Tony Cervone directs Scoob!, an animated adventure comedy about the Scooby-Doo gang as they embark on a new adventure with a superhero named Blue Falcon, as they try to stop a villain named Dick Dastardly. Before I review this film, I want to clarify that my knowledge of Scooby-Doo is minimal, as I have not seen it before this movie. Having said that, I can still say—
ZOINKS, this movie was awful! As in, unbearably awful. I had to check my movie rating statistics to be sure, but this is officially the most painful experience I have had watching an animated children's film. I found this to be a nightmare of a watch.
Yesterday, I reviewed a film called Capone. It's a very different film from this, but I criticized the film's slow pace and lack of anything eventful. Ironically, I now must criticize this film's ludicrously fast pace and the resulting cluster-fuck of events (sorry for the language, but I had to).
This movie takes the decades-old Scooby-Doo characters and beams them into modern-day. This film is chock-full of pop culture references, with a scene near the beginning showing Daphne dressed as Wonder Woman and Velma dressed as Ruth Bader Ginsberg on Halloween.
Our opening few minutes introduces us to our main characters, with Shaggy getting introduced as a lonely character through hilariously unsubtle methods of exposition (hint: it's shown through a Backstreet Boys song).
The first couple of minutes of this movie were surprisingly good. It gave us a classic Scooby-Doo adventure in a haunted house, and I believe that's what this movie could have been: an origin for how the Scooby-Doo gang meets.
However, after a classic Scooby-Doo intro sequence, we jump ten years into the future to a time when pop culture was still inexplicably stuck in 2018, with the singing of the A Star Is Born soundtrack and the use of words such as "bruh" and "dope", both of which did an effective job of making my skin crawl.
Now, many are familiar with the typical Scooby-Doo formula, and this movie updates that formula with a superhero twist, giving us a Hanna-Barbera crossover event that seemed to be piggybacking off of the recent trends of superhero cinema and shared universe franchises.
If this movie were made twenty years ago, it would look vastly different. However, this film makes the mistake of rushing us into a gigantic Avengers-style crossover without giving audiences time to care about the individual characters from series such as Scooby-Doo and Dynomutt, Dog Wonder. It trusts that children will have seen the shows the characters are based on, but these cartoons are long past their prime.
So this movie yada-yadas over the character development and the fun adventures the Scooby-Doo gang has and kicks off this shared universe with the Avengers: Infinity War of animated films, this time with all of the action and none of the quality.
Let me tell you something: I thought Trolls World Tour was as effective as an acid trip with nothing but a mirage of song covers and assaults on the senses. But this movie went to a whole new level. It was maddening watching every single second of this movie be filled to the brim with either talking, action, music, or all at the same time.
This movie is a non-stop craze, with our characters continually scrambling from one place to the next. While this fast pace is as thrilling as a roller coaster, imagine if you had to ride that roller coaster for an hour and 33 minutes. Yeah, it wouldn't be so fun after a while.
In the past, I've praised films such as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, a movie that moves at a breakneck pace but manages to be entertaining. However, this film is a boisterous attack on our eyes and ears that never stops for a single moment to give characters time to breathe.
One longs for the days in which a children's film could take its time and give us compelling characters (take Wall-E and Up, for example), but the writers were so worried that children would sit around bored that they threw everything in this movie all at once without any real thought.
When this movie's not leaping from one action scene to the next, it is giving us dialogue scenes. However, the comedy in this film is so painfully unfunny and torturous to watch that I found myself laughing more at the idiotic pop culture references than the actual jokes. I had to watch Blue Falcon dab for crying out loud.
The villain of this film is named Dick Dastardly. The best thing about this villain is the fact that he gets to scream out, "DIIIIIIICK!!!" during this film. I do hope he's not too popular with the kids because the last thing anyone would want is for their child to watch this bad guy and go, "Haha, I love Dick!"
But how do I feel about Dick? Dick is equipped with the evil twirly mustache that every bad guy in a children's movie has had since 1573. I'm not saying I have problems with a hairy Dick, but I feel like a Dick needs a trim to be unique (hey, I had to watch this movie, let me have my fun).
Why else did I hate this movie? There are a lot of reasons, so here's one that children won't care about, but I did: apparently, Velma can find all the information she needs through internet searches. The internet gives our heroes quite literally every single piece of information they need in a matter of seconds, and it's just used so conveniently.
Speaking of convenience, there is a scene in which it appears as if the writers opened up a book titled MOVIE CLICHES, stumbled across "Deus ex machina," and then proceeded to write the shining example of it into the film when a gang of bowling ball robots corners Shaggy and Scooby.
Conveniences such as this that are sidestepped over to move the plot forward are merely offensive, as there is zero sophistication in this screenplay. The characters have no arcs, and the backstories and conflicts that arise are obligatory and predictable for a children's film.
If the writers do not care to make the characters grow through the adventure and conflicts they face, at least they should have sharp dialogue and give them more of a personality. However, there is no wit or charm to be had in any of the exchanges, scenes, or events in this film.
All this movie is is a frenetic series of events. While this movie is very child-oriented, I was not under the impression that children these days cared more about Scooby-Doo and Dynomutt, Dog Wonder than they did about Spongebob Squarepants, Adventure Time, and Phineas & Ferb.
Now, children may enjoy the fun adventure aspect of this film. If you're a longtime Scooby-Doo fan, you may enjoy watching these characters, but be disappointed at how much time they spend in this film apart. And if you, like me, are someone with no attachment to the source material, don't bother with this movie.
This movie was a pain to sit through, and if you want my advice for what to stream this weekend, don't watch Capone or Scoob!. Watch a better 2020 release like The Way Back or The Invisible Man, or watch my 6-minute sci-fi short film (I deserve this shameless plug after watching this movie).