Posted: 06/19/2002

 

Scooby Doo

(2002)

by Laura Abraham



Scooby Doo is definitely a kid’s film. But that’s okay…


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Let me first say that I was never a big Scooby Doo fan. I didn’t hate the original kid’s cartoon program, but I sure as Hell wouldn’t miss any other show to watch it. If it happened to be on and I wasn’t busy picking dirt from my toenails I would watch it. I always felt the story lacked substance, as I could always figure out who the villain was. I was sure if I could figure it out it couldn’t be very well written. I mean I was only a kid! What I did like, however, were the costumes. They ruled! Everything from the accessories to the van just reeked of cool. And Scooby Doo was intriguingly funny too, at least for a six year old.

Having said that, I really wanted to like the new live action version of the cartoon. Although normally I am opposed to remakes of 70’s shows and cartoons, I had hoped the cool factor of this would pull us through. It certainly helped Charlie’s Angels two summers ago, so I was rooting for Scooby Doo this season. I was miserably disappointed. The costumes were not cool and the dog was not funny.

Velma’s sweater was too thick. It is just that simple. In the cartoon her sexy librarian look was cool. She was nerd chic. In this? Her sweater was too thick. She made me sweat and not in a good way. Daphne wore the same ugly purple dress throughout much of the movie and purple is not her color. Her hair is just too red for purple. Speaking of hair, why would anyone in their right mind put Freddy Prinze Jr. in blond hairs. It was as if the costume person was drunk or on drugs! The costume designer for Scooby Doo is Leesa Evans, the same woman that did a perfect job with American Pie. I live in Michigan and I am telling you everything she did in that movie was the real deal. Something did not go right with this film, however. On an encouraging note, Shaggy had some fine corduroys on throughout the film. But in the original cartoon, they were all dressed funky! It was part of the charm. Charm that was, for me, lost in this live action remake. My companions’ views on the costumes were entirely different than my own. They’re two teenage boys visiting from Columbia and neither of them spoke English, and therefore could only focus on the visuals of the film. Upon questioning it became clear why they enjoyed the movie. They remembered the costumes Velma and Daphne wore throughout the whole film. They enjoyed the breasts, as I suspect most of the young boys that filled the theatre found alluring, as well.

Scooby Doo wasn’t funny because I couldn’t understand much of what he was saying. In the original series he had an accent, sure, but in this it was just impossible to understand. Maybe I’m just not a dog person.

Mystery Inc is the name of the group comprised of Velma, Daphne, Fred, Shaggy and Scooby Doo. They are a clan that has been fighting crime together for a number of years. Recently, they broke up due in part to Fred’s giant ego and have just recently reunited for this one last mystery on Scary Island. The story is essentially the same story we have seen hundreds of times in the cartoon. Fundamentally the story is a solid one, full of mystery and intrigue coupled with personal sacrifice and self-awareness. Specifically, some evil mastermind is out to take over the world and in the process harm Scooby Doo. This time the crew gets to really show off what they have learned. Fred learns to be more humble and share the spotlight. Daphne learns skills that allow her to kick some serious arse in some of the last scenes. Velma finds love. Shaggy, well Shaggy…I guess he gets to be the dumb hippy we all love to laugh at, just as he always is.

If I am to say anything positive about this film it would have to be the casting. I really cannot say enough good things about the choices made. Sarah Michelle Gellar as Daphne seems so perfect I really could not imagine anyone else in the role. Ms. Gellar, a.k.a. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the perfect person because her acting talents stretch only as far as a parody of herself allows. The recognition of this is why the people involved in casting this movie deserve so much credit. Velma was a perfect fit for Linda Cardellini, whom many of us loved in her fabulous role as Lindsey Weir in Freaks and Geeks. Some actresses work the camera with their eyes-nothing so prosaic for Ms. Cardellini! I have never seen an actress flare her nostrils so skillfully and so often. I thought this was a characteristic unique to Lindsey Weir in Freaks and Geeks, but no!! She used the same nostril flaring technique in this film. Mathew Lillard had the voice and mannerisms of Shaggy down to a science. A longhaired, crumpled shirted, farting science that is.

Freddie Prinze Jr. was not brilliant casting. I must admit I was embarrassed for himas I witnessed the horrible acting that came screaming out of Freddie. He had all the excitement and pizzazz of a log. It is not as though Mr. Prinze cannot act, but he must be given decent direction and appropriate roles. He was tremendous as the eccentric brother, Anthony in House of Yes and showed great promise. Maybe the blond hair affected his mood. I know it did mine.

I hated Scooby Doo and had to overeat to compensate for it. I ate three boxes of popcorn during this film. The bad costumes and horrible acting by Freddie Prinze Jr. made me gain weight and I will never forgive the actors or the director for this.

Laura Abraham is living like a rock star in Ann Arbor, Michigan. What she means by rock star is none of your business.



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