Scooby-Doo the Movie

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr., Rowan Atkinson, Matthew Lillard & Linda Cardellini
Warner Home Video

RRP: £15.99

Certificate: PG
Available now

Two years after the members of Mystery Inc (or the Scooby gang as they are better known) go their separate ways after a disagreement, an eccentric millionaire reunites them to look into strange goings on at his island funfair. Here, on Spooky Island the rowdy children who turn up are being transformed into living zombies...

The movie starts in much the same way as the old cartoons concluded - with a ghost being caught and unmasked. Then the gang members realise they hate each others guts and decide to go their separate ways, ignoring Scooby and Shaggy's pleas to carry on the years of good work they have achieved. But Daphne is sick of being captured by the ghosts and Velma is sick of Fred taking all the credit when he is really a space cadet and she is the brains of the gang.

Fast forward two years and Rowan Atkinson's character gets the gang to reform to tackle a problem on his island. Thankfully Atkinson, playing himself, has only a small amount of screen time. Matthew Lillard manages to impersonate the cartoon voice of Shaggy so well that at times I was convinced that Casey Kasem (who voiced the cartoon) had dubbed over Lillard's speech.

Linda Cardellini also turns in a commendable Velma impersonation while Freddie Prinze Jr.'s Fred is a complete dork - not the cool level headed member of the gang as was seen in the cartoon. And Sarah Michelle Gellar just plays Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

After a lot of speculation on whether the computer generated animation for Scooby would be any good you'll be glad to hear that it pretty impressive and manages to work well for the duration of the movie. Also of merit are the animated ghosts which run riot on Spooky Island.

There is a great surprise for fans of the cartoon series in the appearance of an old favourite (?) who provides a little light relief for the adults in the audience. But there are not enough adult jokes to keep anyone over the age of 13 entertained for long. While the effects are above average and the story line is passable for a kids movie there is very little substance here.

In fact there is very little original plot here at all (apart from the surprise bad guy unveiling at the end). Spooky Island, where the kids are transformed is a complete rip off of Adventure Island in Poncho. And the rest of the movie is an amalgamation of any number of the original cartoons formulaic scripts.

Look out for cameo appearances from Pamela Anderson and Kristian Schmid (who used to play Tod in Aussie soap Neighbours.)

DVD extras include filmmaker audio commentary, cast audio commentary, Unmasking the Mystery Behind Scooby Doo featurette, never before seen footage and a music video.

The kids will love it, but most parents will find little to laugh at. In fact, if it wasn't for Matthew Lillard this would be a hell of a lot more painful. I did enjoy the DVD release much more than I did when I originally saw this at the cinema and looking back it could have been a lot worse.

Pete Boomer

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