Scooby Doo? Scooby don't.
If you're between 30 and 40, you know about "Scooby Doo." The cartoon began running in 1969 and has not stopped.
"Scooby Doo" is about four friends: Fred, the dashing one with lots of ego; Daphne, the damsel in distress; Velma, the brainy one who solves all the mysteries; and Shaggy, who acts like a stoner. The final character is the series' namesake, Scooby Doo, a Great Dane that talks like Astro from the "Jetsons."
The movie begins with these four parting ways. But after two years apart, there is an uneasy reunion: a wealthy man has a mystery he wants solved. The man in question owns a theme park that is turning its teen-age customers into walking automatons. And as in all Scooby Doo mysteries, there is an ulterior motive. Therein lies the movie.
The movie itself lacks any real focus. There are no genuine laughs. The only thing remotely funny is the computer-generated Scooby Doo. The best thing about the movie has to be Matthew Lillard, who plays Shaggy.
Freddie Prinze Jr. is no Fred; his jaw isn't square enough. Sarah Michelle Gellar is too Buffy to be Daphne. Linda Cardellini is far too pretty to be Velma. The other cast member is the great Rowan Atkinson, whose comic talent is totally unused and unappreciated.
The movie's greatest problem is its abandonment of the original cartoon's convention. In every episode, the ghost turns out to be a person, generally old man Smithers, who has an axe to grind with somebody who has done him wrong. The movie begins with this device, but it quickly veers away.
It focuses on occult rituals and references to voodoo. Scenes of demons roaming around scare the target audience, younger elementary children. Movie-goers simply want the fun of the cartoon, but sadly that is not here.
There is no reassurance in the end that the ghost was just some person in a costume, using technology to scare everyone. The movie depicts spells cast, not stunts like the original cartoon. This is not a film for children younger than six.
This film will do great at the box office. Many shows have been sold out. But there is such a following for this franchise that it deserves much better than what this movie offers.
Mike Parnell is pastor of Burgaw Baptist Church in Burgaw, N.C.
MPAA Rating: PG for rude humor and scary, cartoonish violence
Director: Raja Gosnell
Writer: James Gunn
Cast: Shaggy: Matthew Lillard; Fred: Freddie Prinze Jr.; Daphne: Sarah Michelle Gellar; Velma: Linda Cardellini; Mondavarious: Rowan Atkinson.