November 11, 2008

Scooby-Doo and the Loch Ness Monster (2004)

In the words of our president-elect, let me be clear: There is, and will only ever be, one true incarnation of Scooby-Doo – and that is the original flagship TV series, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? All future iterations of Scooby, Shaggy, and the gang – spinoff series, revival series, live-action movies – are chaff to the original series’ wheat. (And the less said about Scrappy-Doo, the better.)

So I set myself up for a heroic dose of self-injected cynicism when I sat down with my 5-year-old son to watch Scooby-Doo and the Loch Ness Monster, a direct-to-DVD movie I TiVo’d off Cartoon Network. But for the sake of movie-bonding with my son, and my childhood fascination with the Loch Ness Monster back in Nessie’s heyday of the ’70s, I made the popcorn, served the drinks, and started the show.

Plot: Scooby and the gang go to Scotland to visit Daphne's cousin, Shannon. But when the mythological Loch Ness Monster appears and wreaks havoc at the site for the annual Highlander Games, it's up to the gang to solve the mystery and answer the question that’s baffled mankind for years: Is the Loch Ness Monster real?

There’s always a risk when stretching a 30-minute show to a full-length feature film. But by and large, Scooby-Doo and the Loch Ness Monster pulls it off. The plot and action keep moving at a decent clip, there are plenty of shenanigans to keep the kids entertained, and quite a few times I found myself chuckling aloud (mostly at Shaggy’s quips; Mr. “Zoinks!” had quite a few good zingers).

In addition, the film’s Loch Ness Monster stands out in more ways than just its size. It’s impressively ominous, and there seems to have been an added level of attention given to its design and animation.

For the adult viewer, the film makes several nods (and in-jokes) to the original series, including jabs at splitting up and searching for clues, and Fred’s famous plans that never work. The movie also includes a staple of the original series: chase scenes complete with “chase songs,” written for the movie by the appropriately named Thomas Chase. (There are also visual and verbal homages to several classic films and TV shows, including Jaws, Titanic, Jurassic Park, Apollo 13, and The Six Million Dollar Man.)

So yes, regarding my belief that there is no Scooby-Doo anywhere near as good as the original TV series, Scooby-Doo and the Loch Ness Monster has silenced the cynic in me. Sort of. For now.

• The voice of Fred was done by Frank Welker, the same (and only) Fred since the original TV series debuted in 1969. That includes this year’s Scooby-Doo and the Goblin King. Nice work if you can get it.
Scooby-Doo and the Loch Ness Monster was nominated for a 2004 Annie Award for Best Home Entertainment Production. (It lost to The Lion King 1½.)
• The Wikipedia page for Scooby-Doo and the Loch Ness Monster says the monster bears a striking resemblance to the Giant Behemoth, a creature from the 1959 movie of the same name. Decide for yourself…

The Giant Behemoth trailer:

A scene from Scooby-Doo and the Loch Ness Monster:

Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5).

Will your kids like it?
My son got a big kick out of Scooby-Doo and the Loch Ness Monster. Still – and I have no data to back this up – don’t boys and girls both like Scooby-Doo and the gang? If so, I think this movie would appeal to both genders. The fact there’s a giant monster that looks like a dragon/dinosaur hybrid may sway the appeal slightly to the boys’ side, is all I’m sayin’.

Will your FilmMother like it?
I think she’ll appreciate the fact that the filmmakers put enough effort into the story and script to keep both kids and parents entertained…and entertained she shall be.

“When they invent a game that tests eating and sleeping, let us know!”
– Shaggy on the theme of the Highlander Games

Scooby-Doo and the Loch Ness Monster
* Directors: Scott Jeralds, Joe Sichta
* Screenwriters: George Doty IV, Ed Scharlach, Mark Turosz
* Stars: Frank Welker, Casey Kasem, Mindy Cohn, Grey DeLisle, Michael Bell, Jeff Bennett, Sheena Easton
* MPAA Rating: G

Buy this movie for less at >>


Kristin said...

Wait...Sheena Easton was in this?!? No props for Her Eyes Only after all of that other totally impressive knowledge, FilmFather?!? And Mindy Facts-of-Life-Cohn, too? Do tell...I don't want to have to go look this up on myself. ;)

Anyway, I agree that those monsters look pretty darn close. And I will take your word for it that I would like this one. Just one more thing: Scooby Doo...AND (S)CRAPPY TOO!!!

Gemma said...

Great review, FF! I'm sure #1 son enjoyed this one. Thanks for keeping us up on all the good and not-so-good kid flicks.

Kathy B. said...

Sheena Easton, Mindy Cohn AND Casey Kasem !!!!! Too funny !!!!
Thank you !

FilmFather said...

Yep, Kristin/Hun and Kathy B.: Mindy Cohn has been the official voice of Velma since 2004. And Sheena Easton is the voice of Professor Pembrooke, a scientist who believes the Loch Ness Monster is real. Quite a career trajectory for each of these ladies...


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