Scooby-Doo has existed since 1969 and has continued to get made-for-TV and theatrical films throughout its history. Scoob! is the latest theatrical release, though it went straight to streaming because of Covid-19. I am glad I got to watch this one at home as it would have felt like a chore in theaters. The movie was made for kids, but everyone can have a fondness for Scooby since we all grew up with it over the last 50 years. I watched Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island a few months ago and enjoyed it a lot more than Scoob!
The trailer for Scoob! teases the Scooby and Shaggy relationship origin. Unfortunately, the origin part of the film is just about as long as the trailer. I wanted to see more relationship building. The movie also introduces Blue Falcon and Dynomutt, a superhero and his robotic dog. It comes across as a heavy-handed cash grab to bring in a superhero. Blue Falcon has daddy issues that seemed tacked onto the story. I was not interested in his bumbling ineptitude because of an absentee father.
The villain, Dick Dastardly, is not a run of the mill Scooby-Doo villain. He is an evil genius with an army of robot helpers. It feels way too close to Gru and the Minions of Despicable Me. Dick does not have the same heart as Gru, and his robots will never be as adorable as the Minions.
I like my Scooby stories to end with a fact-based explanation and a mask reveal. The kids first mystery followed this well-worn path, but it is just a small detour from the main storyline. The main plot is not so much a mystery as an action-adventure. Everything is explained in detail before it happens, so you are never wondering how the bad guy is doing what he is doing. Dick’s motivations are centered around getting his canine companion back. If you pause to consider his motivations, they are far nobler than most villains.
I would say the movie comes off its rails, but I am not sure there ever were any. Scoob! is a jumbled mess of themes taken from other properties. Scooby-Doo has a long legacy and can stand on its own, it is disappointing to see the current writers not pay homage to the past. There are far too many ‘hey look what we can do’ moments in the movie to make it enjoyable, even for younger viewers. Simon Cowell makes a cameo, begging the question of which young child is aware of Simon Cowell and why are parents supposed to find this funny. If you are desperate to distract your kids this movie may work for a little bit. A better solution is to just put old episodes on so they can appreciate what made Scooby-Doo what it is today.