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Scooby-Doo 2

Scooby-Doo 2 on DVD

It’s always hard to justify making a sequel to a bad movie that was based on a TV show that wasn’t any good in the first place.

However, you’d be surprised to learn that Scooby-Doo 2 (which should have been called “Scooby-Deux”) is actually a pretty good movie.

An evil masked villain is wreaking havoc in Coolsville, bringing back all of Mystery, Inc.’s former adversaries and doing his best to shatter their reputation. When Mystery, Inc. is unable to stop the series of monsters, all of Coolsville turns against them, leaving the group defeated and cast aside. As Fred (Freddie Prinze, Jr.), Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Velma (Linda Cardellini) discuss what went wrong (“you know how Scooby and Shaggy can be”), Scoob and Shagg overhear and decide to thwart the baddies on their own, in order to show the others that they’re not just screwups.

Needless to say, Scooby and Shaggy pretty much just goof around the entire time, leaving the other three to actually solve the mystery of the reincarnated ghosts and the masked man. But you’d be surprised what the two can accomplish, whether they realize it or not.

I’m not sure what makes Scooby-Doo 2 better than the first one, but it’s considerably more entertaining. The original had only one funny bit involving a series of fart jokes, including Shaggy passing wind in a suit of armor (that’s comedy gold!). Although the sequel features the same writer and director, they seem to have put a little more thought into this one. There are more jokes, and a greater number of them work, and the story is more interesting as well. Even many of the gags that are aimed at children are humorous for us older folk.

One thing I enjoyed was that the characters are easier to relate to this time around. In Scooby-Doo, Fred and Daphne were such jerks that we didn’t even want to see them triumph. Now they’re much more human, concerned more with the safety of humanity than with their own images (but they’re still moderately concerned with their image, which is fine). It’s an important touch, because when Mystery, Inc. is condemned by the city, we actually want to see them beat the bad guys, instead of thinking “well, they had it coming.”

It’s not going to make anybody’s list of the best movies of the year, but Scooby-Doo 2 is a lot of fun. The gags are plentiful, the story is fun in a kid-friendly kind of way, and the pace is almost nonstop. Even if you were disappointed with the first movie, the second is well worth a watch.

Raking in about half of what the first movie made at the box office, Scooby-Doo 2 is likely to be the last in the series. It’s unfortunate, because they just figured out how to get it right.

Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, picture quality is great. There are plenty of bright colors that shine off the screen beautifully, and detail is visible down to the finest grain. Speaking of grain: there isn’t any. This is an absolutely fine-looking video transfer.

Audio, presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, is almost as good. Separation of elements is done very nicely, with no single aspect hogging too much of the speakers. The only flaw is that when the surrounds spring to life, they’re a bit muddy. All the things whizzing by your head sound as if they were recorded through a thick pane of glass. But then, that could have been the intention, so who really knows?

Most of the extras are aimed at children, and are not really all that interesting if you’re older than 12. The “True Ghoul Hollywood Story” takes a few minutes to give us the background on some of the monsters featured in the movie. It’s done in the style of all those VH1 behind the music things, and even though it’s kinda cute, it’s too short and was obviously made for about three dollars.

Scooby-Doo himself also gives us an insider tour of the movie-making process. Unfortunately, it’s mostly fluff, but it means well enough. There’s a short featurette on how they made Scooby-Doo dance, but the producers don’t seem to realize that the dog-dancing scene is probably the weakest in the whole movie. So it’s hard to take the thing seriously. A series of deleted scenes add a bit more depth to the characters, but are ultimately unnecessary, and the music videos are probably great if you like the songs.

Finally, there are a couple of interactive games, one of which takes so long to get through that you’ll likely have lost interest very early.

If this is to be the last Scooby-Doo movie, at least they gave it a decent DVD to send it away with a bang.

Scooby-Doo 2, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
93 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Freddie Prinze, Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, Linda Cardellini, Seth Green, Peter Boyle, Tim Blake Nelson and Alicia Silverstone
Produced by Charles Roven, Richard Suckle
Written by James Gunn, Directed by Raja Gosnell


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