Review and Synopsis Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed

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That was the final sentence in my 2002 review of the first “Scooby-Doo,” which had a refreshingly honest opening line: “I am not the person to review this movie.” I was, in my own words, “unable to generate the slightest interest in the plot, and I laughed not a single time, although I smiled more than once at the animated Scooby-Doo himself, an island of amusement in a wasteland of fecklessness.”

Whoa, but that day I was not in a good mood. I rated the film only one star. The movie “Scooby-Doo 2” (or, as it will undoubtedly be called in France, “Scooby-Doo Deux”) now in front of me. A subtitle is present: “Monsters Unleashed.” The story opens with our heroes from Mystery Inc. going to the opening of a museum that displays artifacts from every case they have ever solved. When one of the monster costumes turns out to inhabited and terrorizes the charity audience, the event goes horribly wrong.

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Review Scooby Doo 2

Now, I don’t want you to think that I went into “2” with a grudge towards the 2002 movie. I was able to approach the sequel with a fresh perspective because I had entirely forgotten the first movie. I saw it as the follow-up to the day’s first film, “Taking Lives,” which featured Angelina Jolie soaking in energy from the victims of a serial killer’s graves. The next film was Bresson’s “Au Hasard Balthazar,” a masterwork from 1966 that may have been titled “The Passion of the Donkey.” So as you can see, the film-crit rhythm requires fast gear changes.

The reaction I had to “Scooby-Doo” wasn’t the same as my strong distaste for the previous movie; rather, it was a benign indifference. The animation of Scooby-Doo is so cheerful that I even enjoyed him in the first movie. There was a lot of eye candy on the screen; the colors were vibrant; the action was nonstop. This movie unquestionably designed with its target demographic of 10-year-olds and those who desperately want to be 10-years-old in mind.

Review Scooby Doo 2

Again, to paraphrase myself, I am not the right person to judge this film since the principles I uphold are unimportant to the audience that will watch it. This is a stupid machine, designed with undeniable competence, to swirl foolish acts before the eyes of easily distracted audiences. It is similar to seeing synchronized swimming in that one is astounded at the technique and discipline applied to an endeavor that exists for no other reason than to be itself.

But let’s talk a bit more about the film. The original cast, which also includes Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Linda Cardellini, is back. Lillard plays Scooby-Doo’s friend Shaggy. A trash-TV reporter who is out to disprove the existence of Mystery Inc. is played by Alicia Silverstone. Mean Old Man Wickles, played by the consistently dependable Peter Boyle, appears in the film under false pretenses and may or may not implicated in skullduggery. As the museum curator, Seth Green is entertaining. And there are numerous monster cartoons.

Compared to the original, is this better or worse? I am clueless. While the movie is clever, it’s not really trying all that hard, so I’ll only give it two stars because I didn’t experience the negative feelings I mentioned after the first movie. I believe that young viewers should watch more films like “Whale Rider” and less films like “Scooby-Doo 2,” but that is just my opinion.

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