Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
8 out of 10
Extras Rating:
7 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Rating: PG

Starring:
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

Special Features:
7 Minutes of Delicious Additional Scenes

2 Music Videos: Big Brovaz's "Thank You (Falletin Me Be Mice Elf Again)" and Simple Plan's "Don't Wanna Think About You"

2 Audiovisual Puzzles to Solve: The Scooby-Doo Monsters Unleashed Challenge and The Mystery of the Missing Pants

Dancing Dog How They Made Scooby-Doo Dance And How You Can Dance Just Like Him

Triple Threat Featurette: Scooby-Doo Gives You an Insider Tour of the Moviemaking Process

True Ghoul Hollywood Story

DVD-ROM PC Web Links to Cool Scooby-Doo Stuff

Other Info:
Widescreen
Dolby 5.1 Digital Surround Sound
French and Spanish Language Track
English, French, and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 93 Minutes

Synopsis:
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.

The Movie:
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.

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.

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.

Overall, Scooby-Doo 2 was a fun movie for my kid and I. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for some lighthearted entertainment.

The Extras:
There are quite a few extras included on this DVD. Here are the highlights:

7 Minutes of Delicious Additional Scenes None of the main deleted scenes feature completed effects, but they do have rough Scooby-Doo animation in them. In one scene, Shaggy and Scooby split up in the old man's house and Scooby chases his tail. In another scene Shaggy gives Scooby a heartfelt speech about how they're going to die and how he loves him. Another scene features Scooby in a stunt with the skeleton monsters as they slide down the slope. One of the final deleted scenes has more or less completed effects as the 10,000 Volt Ghost and the Black Knight break into the museum and get rid of a couple of guards who were horseplaying and trying to shock each other with static electricity. None of the scenes are that great and they aren't missed by being on the cutting room floor.

2 Music Videos: Big Brovaz's "Thank You (Falletin Me Be Mice Elf Again)" and Simple Plan's "Don't Wanna Think About You" In Big Brovaz's music video, the singers and Scooby-Doo sneak around a dark factory ala the Mystery Inc. Gang. Clips from the film also play in the background. It's a little hip-hop and a little rap, but it's a decent video. They at least have some Scooby animation in it. Simple Plan's video doesn't even really have anything to do with Scooby-Doo. They don't even show footage from the film in the video, but you do see the Mystery Machine drive around in the background here and there.

2 Audiovisual Puzzles to Solve: The Scooby-Doo Monsters Unleashed Challenge and The Mystery of the Missing Pants The puzzles are fairly elaborate but they are geared more towards kids. In the Challenge, you follow clues throughout the town as Scooby and Shaggy guide you. Along the way you can find outtakes of Matthew Lillard clowning around on the set. The Missing Pants game seems to be a bit more complex and I think it relates to finding Easter Eggs on the CD. I didn't quite get what I was supposed to do. Kids should enjoy these.

Dancing Dog How They Made Scooby-Doo Dance And How You Can Dance Just Like Him This featurette shows how they did the effects for Scooby-Doo dancing. You see a woman in a bizarre costume doing all the dance moves for Scooby as well as an elaborate bit on how to do his moves. The first half is interesting but the second half is definitely geared more towards kids.

Triple Threat Featurette: Scooby-Doo Gives You an Insider Tour of the Moviemaking Process This "Making Of" featurette, hosted by Scooby-Doo, covers the set design, stunts, and effects from the film. It's pretty cool to see the detail involved with all of them, especially with the ghost props in the museum. I personally thought this was the best of the highlights. (You also get to see how dramatically different Linda Cardellini looks when not dressed like Velma.)

True Ghoul Hollywood Story In this parody of the E! True Hollywood Story, we meet three of the ghosts and follow them from their childhood to their infamy. Some of the extras who play there characters come on and act out the roles telling their life story. It's amusing and thankfully brief, but worth checking out.

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

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