Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed

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Cast:
Freddie Prinze Jr. as Fred
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Daphne
Matthew Lillard as Shaggy
Linda Cardellini as Velma
Seth Green as Patrick
Peter Boyle as Old Man Wickles
Tim Blake Nelson as Jacobo
Alicia Silverstone as Heather
Neil Fanning as Scooby-Doo (voice)
Zahf Paroo as Ned

Summary:
Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed is as good or better than the first film. It feels more like the cartoon than ever before.

Story:
This is the sequel to the 2002 film Scooby-Doo and it is based on the old Hanna-Barbera cartoon.

The Mystery Inc. kids are now big celebrities in the town of Coolsville. A new exhibit at the local museum celebrates their biggest cases. The costumes of all the villains they have busted in the past are now on display. However, the grand opening of the exhibit takes a horrific turn when the costume of the Pterodactyl Ghost comes alive. After the ghost destroys the display and steals the costumes of the Black Knight and the 10,000 Volt Ghost, the kids are faced by yet another new villain – the Evil Masked Figure. He threatens to ruin their reputation and terrorize the city to spite them.

Fred, Daphne, Shaggy, Velma and Scooby start their investigations, but there is a long list of possible suspects. All signs point to the first bad guy they busted, Old Man Wickles. But is he really the one responsible for the crimes? Things are also complicated by news reporter Heather who seems to have a grudge against the “meddling kids”. Meanwhile, Shaggy and Scooby try their best not to screw things up while Velma falls in love with geeky museum curator Patrick.

Scooby-Doo 2 is rated PG for some scary action, rude humor and language.

What Worked:
If you liked the first Scooby-Doo film, I think you’re really going to enjoy Scooby-Doo 2. I’d say it’s as good as, if not funnier than, the first film. It has more humor, more monsters, a better script, and more Scooby than the first one. All in all, I think it’s even closer to the original cartoon than the first movie as well. The final result is a fun film that is entertaining for both adults and children.

Matthew Lillard and the CGI Scooby-Doo again steal the show. Lillard is still the perfect choice to play the cartoon character Shaggy. His voice and mannerisms are dead on. Plus his chemistry with the CGI Scooby (voiced by Neil Fanning) is wonderful. They are funny together and still faithful to the cartoon. Some of their best scenes together are in a bar for villains where there’s a dance number and in the bad guy’s secret lair where they are transformed into various forms.

Fortunately, Lillard and Scooby aren’t the only ones that deliver laughs this time around. Linda Cardellini is also wonderfully cast as Velma while Seth Green is great as her new love interest Patrick. The two do some great ad-libbing, especially when Velma gets a sexy makeover. Another scene between Green and Lillard and Scooby is hilarious as well. Our heroes catch the meek, geeky Green in a dark alley intimidating a thug. He then turns on Lillard and Scooby and totally freaks them out with his bizarre behavior. Lillard tells him, “Well, we have to make like your personality and split.” The supporting cast is also great. It includes Tim Blake Nelson, Peter Boyle, and even Americal Idol winner Ruben Studdard who appears at the very end (to the cheers of some kids in the audience).

This movie is also more fun because of the large number of monsters, most of which were from the original TV series. You have the Tar Monster, Captain Cutler’s Ghost, the 10,000 Volt Ghost, and more. This reminds me even more of the cartoon I used to watch religiously, so I enjoyed it a bit more. (Plus, Scrappy Doo wasn’t the bad guy.) I will add that though my daughter wasn’t scared by the first movie when she was 3, the sequel scared her now that she’s 5. She hid her eyes at the zombie ghost and the 10,000 Volt Ghost. She wasn’t that terrified, but it’s something that parents may want to consider when deciding if their kids want to see it. By the end of the movie she was fine and she didn’t have nightmares later.

What Didn’t Work:
Just like in the first movie, Freddie Prinze Jr. is totally miscast as Fred. He really doesn’t look the part or act the part like Lillard or Cardellini. While Sarah Michelle Gellar makes a good Daphne, her “Daphne the Vampire Slayer” routine doesn’t fit her character. It does add a bit of excitement to a battle with the Black Knight, but it isn’t faithful to the cartoon like the rest of the movie.

The movie also loses a little steam at the end when each set of characters has a heartfelt feel-good speech to encourage someone. It slowed down the pace of the climax and took away from the comedy feel of the film.

The Bottom Line:
Overall, Scooby-Doo 2 was a fun movie for my kid and me. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for some lighthearted entertainment.

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