Scoob!, the latest effort from Warner Animation Group, is being promoted as the origin story of Hanna-Barbera’s classic Mystery Inc. gang. Therefore, the movie is at its strongest when it focuses on the tried-and-true character dynamics of Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo. Sadly, the group’s relationships get lost in the midst of an incredibly convoluted storyline that ineffectively attempts to launch some sort of Hanna-Barbera cinematic universe.
What makes this all the more disappointing is that the film starts so strong. Seeing the origins of Mystery Inc. as children is tons of fun, and the movie’s re-creation of the classic opening montage from the original 1967 cartoon — complete with some of the series’ classic villains — is wonderfully nostalgic.
However, the second this montage is over, we’re treated to an egregious Simon Cowell cameo (yes, you read that right), and the emotional core of the story’s five leads dissipates as the movie descends into endless action scenes and a cavalcade of more obscure, B-list creations from William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.
The voice cast is all over the place as well. While Will Forte’s interpretation of Shaggy grew on me, Zac Efron’s stagnant voice for Fred will likely make you long for the live-action performance of Freddie Prinze Jr.
Available to rent via iTunes, Amazon and other streaming platforms