Movie Review: Happy Halloween Scooby-Doo25th October 2020
I’m no fan of horror films. Between Hubie Halloween and The Exorcist, there must be some form of middle ground that I can slip into. I think I may have found it. Another piece of the Scooby-Doo series, yet another feature-length mystery, Happy Halloween Scooby-Doo provides a film that isn’t going to elicit any fear from me, but will coax out enough nostalgia to, at the very least, be a completely watchable movie. I’ve no love for this autumnal horror nonsense, Adam Sandler’s latest Netflix piece was a push for me, but at least that was enjoyable. Happy Halloween Scooby-Doo is far from enjoyable, no amount of engagement with this spooky season will ever change that.
Consistent animation throughout this one, but it feels bereft of life. I don’t feel that energy the classics of the series once brought. I’m not expecting the same impact, especially now that I’ve aged gracefully, like a choking swan or a fine milk, but Scooby-Doo’s live-action pieces managed to tap into my nostalgia no problem. This has all the makings of a 90s feature, with Bill Nye, Elvira, and Matthew Lillard all showing up in various capacities. It’s nowhere close to being enough, though, and the thin layer of charm presented at the start of the film wears extremely thin, extremely quickly.
Much of the story takes place on the road, with Scooby and the gang arresting The Scarecrow from Batman. I’m not sure why, and Batman never shows up, but Jonathan Crane appears as our red herring for the first half of the film. Clearly, he and voice actor Dwight Schultz had somewhere better to be, they go missing and never return after a banal setpiece has them flee the scene of our rather rigid setting. Director Maxwell Atoms refuses to take his foot off the gas, with such a lack of pacing that it all meshes together into a truly forgettable mess. We spend nearly all the film in a car chase sequence that loses steam within the first few minutes. It goes from light comedy to agonizingly bland, the writing unable to adapt a setting for that long a period.
Happy Halloween Scooby-Doo provided my stifling, deafened mind something to stare at for eighty minutes. That’s as good an offering as you’ll get with these feature-length cartoons, made like clockwork on a conveyer belt the length of Russia, Hannah Barbera has certainly lost its sentimental touch. Their care for the craft seems to have been replaced with stoic, cold-hearted efficiency. Perhaps it’s me that’s losing it, though, as I’m the one sat writing about Scooby-Doo in the early hours of Saturday morning. My nostalgia has withered, my patience has snapped, and my love for Scooby-Doo ends, not with a bang, but with a miserably bland Halloween special.