Movie Review: Scoob
It’s tremendously embarrassing for me to come out and say I was really excited to see how Scoob would turn out. I had expected an extravagant destruction of my childhood as perky colours and off-putting vocal performances flooded the nostalgia out of my system. But I still had hopes that this attempt at kickstarting a Hannah-Barbera cinematic universe could at least be, in some minute way, meritable. I have fond memories of watching Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated and Wacky Races, so to see Hannah-Barbera kickstart their very own world of animation is a nice surprise.
But it’s predictably horrendous. Rattling off how our group of protagonists came together in record time, Scoob wastes no time at all in getting to the mystery of its film. Surprisingly though, Scoob is devoid of any mystery. It quickly becomes a musing on friendship, and the importance of sticking together, rather than letting Simon Cowell tell you that you need to fire them from your business. That’s not even a joke, that’s the drive of this narrative. From there, you can probably tell Scoob is a feature filled to the brim with annoying pop culture references, jokes about dating apps and nods to Gérard Depardieu. You know, all the stuff kids love.
It’s easy to see why the references to Tinder, Netflix, Depardieu, Harry Potter and everything in-between is featured so prominently. Trying to peddle an already established and beloved brand wouldn’t be the same without trying to cram in as many references to culture as possible, shoehorning any immediately available internet meme available. From dabbing to internet search history, jokes about the name Dick and their obviously hilarious depth, Scoob is a draining piece of film. Even for a movie aimed entirely at kids, I doubt they’d appreciate many of the jokes. Outside of the adult-oriented jokes, the only other alternative is that of clumsy slapstick, thrown into any scene that needs even a slight second of padding. They take a non-story and bring about a lengthy, draining plot that hangs around for a half-hour longer than it was prepared for.
The change-up in voice actors from favourable nobodies to A-listers not fit for their role is a noticeable change. Zac Efron, Mark Wahlberg, Amanda Seyfried, Will Forte, Jason Isaacs and a returning Frank Welker make up a flatlining script and horrid, detestable collection of old and new characters. Forte standing in as Shaggy rather than the now-legendary Matthew Lillard is a travesty. It’s strange that this piece of film doesn’t come together in an at least tolerable fashion, especially given that Tony Cervone has helmed several Scooby-Doo oriented animations. Getting a feel for the series mustn’t have worked all that well, he directs with a lack of confidence. Pairing this with a misused cast makes for a “blind leading the blind” scenario.
Most of the animation looks dated, far too slick and lacking in any heart. A generic mash-up of sleek and emotionless animation with beloved characters who have been changed ever so slightly beyond repair. None of the designs or direction have any interest in the slightest. We’ve seen them all before in the likes of the most obligatory and futile of animated feature lengths, but Scoob is grating in its lack of heart. The show and, by extension, a few of the movies, had immense heart to them and some effective moments that coupled nostalgia with genuinely competent storytelling. That’s all lost entirely throughout Scoob, which looks to accomplish as few of the basics as it can.
Making the Matthew Lillard starring Scooby-Doo live-action piece look like the Citizen Kane of my generation, Scoob! Is a detestable piece that’s made in a creepy, cookie-cutter style. It saps the life out of these historic and timeless characters, making it feel like they’re completely interchangeable and ready for an asinine leap to the animated world. Predictable, farcical, useless in its entirety. Buzzwords dropped throughout without a care in the world, Scoob is a disorienting colossus of inane moments, squeezed together without any rhyme or reason. I question its existence, there’s no audience for this disaster.