Scooby-Doo (2002) starring Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, Linda Cardellini, Rowan Atkinson, Isla Fisher directed by Raja Gosnell Movie Review

Scooby-Doo (2002)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Matthew Lillard as Shaggy with Scooby-Doo in Scooby-Doo The Movie


I remember watching the Scooby-Doo cartoons as a child, I know I enjoyed them but they didn't leave a lasting impression on me, they weren't my favourite cartoons as a child. And that is very much how I feel about "Scooby-Doo" the movie from 2002, I enjoyed it but it definitely didn't leave any lasting impression on me other than like with so many cartoons which get made into movies it goes on far too long.

After the case of the Lunar Ghost gets solved, the Mystery Inc gang go their separate ways as egos and differences make working together too difficult. But two years later they are reformed when Mondavarious (Rowan Atkinson), the owner of Spooky Island, convinces each one of them to come to his island to solve the mystery of why his visitors come looking normal but go away in an almost zombie like state. With Fred (Freddie Prinze Jr.), Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Velma (Linda Cardellini), Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) and Scooby-Doo back together it doesn't take them long to start solving the case.

Linda Cardellini and Matthew Lillard as Velma and Shaggy in Scooby-Doo The Movie

So like with the cartoon series "Scooby-Doo" the movie focuses on the characters of Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and of course Scooby-Doo as they go about solving a mystery. There is an amusing opening story which sees Velma grow sick and tired of being ignored as Fred announces "I do a lot of Team Work" leading to the splitting up of Mystery Inc but "Scooby-Doo" the movie follows the tradition of these five characters solving a mystery with a big reveal at the end and an explanation as to how they worked out who was behind things. As such we get the storyline about Spooky Island and the strange goings on as guests leave almost zombie like. As a storyline it's simple and intentionally so because "Scooby-Doo" the movie is all about bringing the nostalgia for the cartoon to the big screen and nothing more.

But here is the thing "Scooby-Doo" as a cartoon series came in with 30 minute episodes and as such were perfect in length. "Scooby-Doo" the movie is 88 minutes long and whilst that's not that long is too long for the storyline. There are countless moments where there is little going on, scenes thrown in which act purely as padding and that causes "Scooby-Doo" the movie to become bogged down by the inconsequential. Though saying that it doesn't surprise me either as turning a 30 minute show into a movie is always a hard thing to achieve especially with cartoons and it has to be said that "Scooby-Doo" the movie is one of the few which gets close to capturing the magic of the original cartoon.

What doesn't help is that "Scooby-Doo" the movie relies heavily on CG from creating Scooby-Doo himself through to monsters and special effects; it is absolutely laden with them. Now I am sure some will enjoy all of this CG and some of it is not bad, I did say some as there is lot which isn't, but there is just too much of it. It makes "Scooby-Doo" the movie look very fake and that possibly was the intention to make it comically fake but for me it spoilt things.

But the saving grace, the thing which stops "Scooby-Doo" the movie being a seriously terrible movie is the casting is spot on. Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr. are perfectly vain as Daphne and Fred whilst Linda Cardellini gets it spot on as braniac Velma. But it is Matthew Lillard as Shaggy who shines bringing the hippy-ish character to life brilliantly and whilst it's obvious that Lillard is talking to thin air the interactions with Scooby-Doo work surprisingly well. And aside from the main stars Rowan Atkinson is amusing Mondavarious the owner of Spooky Island and Isla Fisher crops up as Mary Jane.

What this all boils down to is that "Scooby-Doo" the movie is entertaining but also forgettable. It suffers because it tries to draw out a classic Scooby-Doo storyline to fill an entire movie and unfortunately it has plenty of dull moments. It also suffers because it overly relies on CGI making it an almost mishmash of a movie. But it will entertain especially children who will enjoy the comedy.