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Scooby Doo (PG)
Warner Brothers
Official Site
Director: Raja Gosnell
Producers: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera, Sheryl Benko, Robert Engleman
Written by: James Gunn II, William Titley
Cast: Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, Linda Cardellini, Rowan Atkinson

Rating: out of 5

Well, kids (of all ages), the long-awaited movie version of your favorite bizarre 1970s mystery thriller cartoon is here at last.

Scooby Doo has, hands-down, the most right-on, movie tagline of the year: ďBe afraid. Be kind of afraid.Ē Die-hard and casual fans of the original cartoon alike will be impressed by the fabulous casting, the dazzling special effects, the groovy costume design and the live action portrayals of the youth-sleuth caricatures we all know and love.

Even though I canít say it with a straight face, itís true: I love the Scooby Doo movie! Itís highly entertaining, fast paced, appropriately campy, and occasionally hilarious. Basically, the fearless foursomeóFred (Prinze), Daphne (Gellar), Velma (Cardellini), and Shaggy (Lillard), along with their loyal pet Scooby, are going along their merry way pulling masks off thieves and the like. Then the egos get in the way. Fred is Mr. Hollywood, and he always takes sole credit for the groupís achievements. Daphne is tired of playing the damsel in distress role. Velma is sick of the lack of teamwork. Since Shaggy is the only one left wanting to stick together, they each go their separate ways.

Skip forward two years, and the group is reunited for a mission. Theyíve each been called upon by Mondavarious (Atkinson), the slightly creepy owner of Spooky Island, a tropical amusement park/resort exclusively for highly attractive students between the ages of 18 and 23. They reluctantly comply and begin searching for clues. I wonít give away the rest of the plot, because itís not as formulaic or expected as, say, the cartoon series.

The most annoying parts of the film were, in ranked order: crying toddlers in the theater; excruciatingly cheesy moments of romance between certain unnamed members of the gang toward the end of the film; Mr. Bean not getting any funny lines, nor enough screen-time. Otherwise, way better than expected.

The aging teenybopper crew, fiancťs Freddy Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar, were so perfect for their roles that it seems they must have some of the vain, airheaded qualities of their characters in real life. Scream alum Lillard looks and sounds wonderfully like kindhearted slacker Shaggy. And relative newcomer Linda Cardellini is refreshingly nerdy as the bespectacled Velma.

Last, but not least, Scooby Doo himself. At first, the computer-generated animation was distracting, but soon I got used to it. And who couldnít love Scoob, the bumbling dog detective who starts every word with the letter R? Not this reviewer.

Looking for a worthwhile no-brainer this summer? Go see Scooby Doo, dudes!

ó Michelle Fajkus


hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

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