A good rule of thumb for whether or not a new animated movie is worth your time is to see if they resort to including their own Minions knock-off. If a movie is that desperate, it’s probably not going to be a good movie.
Even though the new animated Scooby Doo movie — shortened to just “Scoob!” — is a nifty crossover of a bunch of classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons, it still felt the need to create it’s own tiny Minion rip-offs. “Scoob!” is not a very good movie.
But as an actual new film released at home during quarantine, it ain’t half bad.
The villainous Dick Dastardly wants to kidnap Scooby Doo as part of his latest nefarious plot. Fortunately, Scooby and Shaggy have the heroic Blue Falcon and Dynomutt in their corner, along with Fred, Daphne, Velma and the far more obscure Dee Dee Skyes. Throw in Captain Caveman and you’ve got yourself a party.
“Scoob!” is a weird movie in that it’s clearly made for children, yet it focuses on classic characters that only adults are going to remember. Scooby Doo and friends have been rebooted into new cartoons ad nauseam since the 1970s, but Dick Dastardly? Blue Falcon? Captain Caveman? Only fans of a certain age are going to remember these characters and get any nostalgic value out of “Scoob!”, but the rest of the movie will be like nails on a chalkboard to them.
“Scoob!” is one of those animated movies that does not try to appeal to all ages. It’s simplistic and zany, the sort of film that’s really only concerned with trying desperately to keep a child’s attention.
It’s not unwatchable. It’s got good energy and is occasionally entertaining or funny. And for an older viewer like me, it is fun to watch the crossover elements. Clearly some thought went into the plot, as Dick Dastardly’s evil scheme has a pretty sweet twist.
But “Scoob!” is fairly unrelenting in its drive to be as simple and as in your face as possible. It’s only redeeming value is as a colorful distraction to young children who are still bored in lockdown. And the nostalgia can only go so far, because this Scooby Doo movie isn’t even really a take on classic Scooby Doo. The famous Great Dane and his pals are not solving mysterious or being detectives. This is Scooby Doo as a superhero.
In the end, “Scoob!” is a blatant attempt by the studio to create both a new Scooby Doo franchise and a possible Hanna-Barbera cinematic universe. Hopefully it won’t succeed with either.