Scooby-Doo (2002)

Rating: **
Review Date: 10/27/02
Cast: Freddie Prinze Jr, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, Linda Cardellini, Rowan Atkinson, Isla Fisher, cameo by Pamela Anderson

Scooby-Doo and pals make their transition to the big screen, abandoning the classic Scooby formula and adopting the worn out Hollywood convention of "getting the team back together." Tensions are running high in the group, and after busting the notorious Luna Ghost, Mystery Inc. splits up. Two years later, they're all invited to a mysterious theme park called Spooky Island, where all of the hip young guests are being brainwashed into becoming clean-cut, street-talking dorks. Having not made amends with each other, Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby all attempt to solve the mystery individually, but eventually start working together and becoming a family again. After saving the world from certain doom at the hands of a megalomaniac, the kids take a well deserved break by pairing up with members of the opposite sex, leaving Scooby-Doo all alone.

It's a light-hearted romp with a lot of visual style. The sets and costumes are all very lively and colorful, and Spooky Island looks like a great place to visit. Matthew Lillard does an amazing job as Shaggy, and channels Casey Kasem's voice with astonishing accuracy. Linda Cardellini is wonderful as Velma, although her character seems much more troubled and insecure than her animated counterpart. She also shows off some amazing and gratuitous cleavage, which I certainly wasn't ready for (but appreciated nonetheless). Unfortunately, Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar seem sorely miscast, and don't really bring Fred and Daphne to life (although I certainly didn't mind Ms. Gellar's low plunging necklines and purple go-go boots). Scooby is somewhat of a mixed bag, but overall his computer generated character is effective. There are lots of physical gags in the film to imply his physical presence, and all of the actors do a very good job interacting with him. There's not a lot going on in the story department, and there's very little sleuthing done by the gang. It's really just a big morality play on the importance of friendship, teamwork, and farting.