Scooby-Doo 2 is pretty-much the same as the original film. Oh, sure, the plot differs slightly, but for the most part, this is the same film. If you liked the first one, you will like this one. However, if you hated the first one, like I did, then this is regrettably more of the same mindless fluff.
Recently, movie studios have caught on to the idea that if they make children’s movies with subtle in-jokes for adults, their profits will rise. This was the case with Finding Nemo, Shrek an… even Looney Tunes – Back in Action. Unfortunately, this trend does not continue with the Scooby-series. These films are purely and unashamedly “kids only”. The jokes are lame, the mysteries are transparent, and the film takes itself way too seriously. The inherent problem with a film based on a cartoon is that it must develop a cast full of characters that were previously one-dimensional. This is not an easy task for any filmmaker, and it is clear that Raja Gosnell (which sounds curiously like a pseudonym to me) is not up to the challenge.
He really shoots himself in the foot, however, by relying way too heavily on computer effects. Now, obviously the dog has to be a CGI character, but many other monsters and even whole set pieces are quite obviously created in post-production as well. This would not be so bad if the effects were finished off better, but many of the computer effects are very poorly produced, marking a pitifully obvious contrast between the real and the virtual. In fact, the digital effects are so painfully bad that they are reason enough to not see the film, even without the poor acting and absurd script.
For as bad as the movie is, Warner Brothers sure went all out on the audio. This track is just a hair short of perfect, with all the necessary ingredients for a perfect soundtrack except for that certain indefinable something that would have put it over the top. The track is big and involving, with an excellent use of the surround speakers. Sounds properly follow their sources not just across the screen, but around the room. In addition to these impressive spatial imaging traits, the track also delivers plenty of kick from the subwoofer channel. This is especially apparent during the louder musical segments of the film. Dialog is clear, and there is no static or other aural interference present. This is a first-rate soundtrack for a third-rate film.
The video is also perfect. In fact, it is a little too perfect. It is obvious that many of the shots in this film have gone through some excessive digital grading and touch up, and the result is a film that is so perfect that it doesn’t look realistic. Colors are too bright and overly consistent. No flaws are present anywhere, and the whole film lacks the depth that accurately-reproduced film stock can offer. Combine these digital touch-ups with the absolutely revolting use of copious CGI effects, and this makes a film that just doesn’t look realistic. I would happily trade perfection for realism any day. Perfect colors and lighting don’t exist in the real world, why should they exist on film?
This is one of those shameful cases of there appearing to be a ton of extras on a disc, but there is not that much here in reality. In addition to the token trailers for such products as Kangaroo Jack – G’Day U.S.A., there are two bad music videos by Simple Plan and Big Brovaz. Two games are also included. One, called The Scooby-Doo Monsters Unleashed challenge, is actually a fairly-enjoyable interactive feature that allows the viewer to explore many of the sets used in the film in much the same way as the bonus disc in The Nightmare on Elm Street Collection. The second game, Behind-the-Mystery Mystery, is a much more ambiguous offering, and it is difficult to tell exactly what the user is supposed to do.
There are also a couple of short featurettes included on this disc. Dancing Dog is a segment that is supposed to discuss the animation techniques utilized to make Scooby dance, but it mostly consists of rehashed shots from the film. The Triple Threat Featurette is similar in quality, with a focus on the production as a whole. The last featurette is True Ghoul Hollywood Story, which is a six minute E! True Hollywood Story on some of the monsters from the film. This is an excellent idea, and it reminds me of the R2D2: Behind the Dome segment from the Star Wars – Episode 2 disc. Unfortunately, the execution is not nearly as humorous as the Star Wars piece.
The extras wrap up with some deleted scenes with optional commentary. Most of these scenes are presented in an early stage, with rough CGI animation. Some of these scenes are interesting, but the majority of them were discarded for a reason. This closes out the special features section of the disc.
This is certainly a film that kids will enjoy, but if you are a parent, then get ready to groan. Bad jokes, questionable acting and a sickly-sweet video transfer means that this disc will wind up in the same stack as Barney and anything starring Yahoo Serious. If Batman and Robin were re-made as a children’s comedy, this would be it. If you are over the age of 12, beware of this film.
Special Features List
- Deleted scenes with optional commentary
- Triple Threat featurette
- True Ghoul Hollywood Story
- Dancing Dog
- The Scooby-Doo Monsters Unleashed Challenge
- Behind-the-Mystery Mystery
- Music Videos