So last week, I wanted to see if I could be happily surprised once again, and put on Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy! for Dash and I to watch. Was it worth it, or did we feel shanghai'd? Read on…
• Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy! opens in the Bermuda Triangle as a research ship glides into the notorious waters, only to be attacked by a ship of ghost pirates.
• We then join Scooby and the gang as they go with Fred’s parents on a cruise ship to (where else?) the Bermuda Triangle. It turns out to be a “mystery cruise,” where the crew stages mysteries for the passengers to solve.
• Well, with the gang’s extensive experience in mystery-solving (40 years this September!), they solve all the “mysteries” very quickly, ruining it for the other passengers.
• Soon, Shaggy spots a man floating in the water, and the crew rescues him. It’s Rupert Garcia, survivor of the attacked ship at beginning. Not surprisingly, nobody believes him when he says his boat was destroyed by ghost pirates. In fact, Scooby and the gang think his story is part of another staged mystery by the ship’s crew. They soon find out that it’s all too true, when the pirate ship shows up and its crew of ghost pirates – led by Captain Skunkbeard – take over the cruise ship and kidnap Fred’s parents.
• Scooby and the gang go after Skunkbeard’s ship to rescue Fred’s parents, and also to stop Skunkbeard’s quest for a painting of stars that was aboard Garcia’s boat, which will lead him to “Heaven’s Light” at the center of the Bermuda Triangle, and give him the power to travel through time…or something like that.
• The scope of the mystery within Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy! is quite ambitious, but falls a bit flat. Like other TV shows that leap to a full-length movie, the film largely feels like an extended episode from the original, classic series.
• SD!PA! does keep a couple of the trademark components of Scooby-Doo intact, including several requisite chase scenes with accompanying “chase music” (here in the form of blaring, pirate-tinged rock tunes).
• Lost from this Scooby movie are a lot of the in-jokes and grown-up references (so prevalent in Scooby-Doo and the Loch Ness Monster) aimed at grown-ups who, um, grew up on the original TV show.
• And not to be Cynical Grown-Up, but most adults will figure out who’s behind Captain Skunkbeard way before the end.
In terms of Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy!’s watchability: you could do worse, but as Scooby-Doo and the Loch Ness Monster shows, you can also do better.
Rating: 2.5 stars (out of 5).
What did Dash think?I figured Scooby-Doo and pirates would be a winning combo for Dash’s attention span, and I was right. Still, he surprised me by actually hanging with the whole film, even when the hour was getting late. His only question: “Why did the pirates want to kill everybody?” I explained they weren’t trying to kill anyone, just scare them. That seemed to satisfy him; either that or he was too tired to debate.
Will your kids like it?• If they’re not super-selective and don’t have a dedication to (or remembrance of) the original TV series like I do, they will probably enjoy it enough to sit through it – but I highly doubt repeat viewings will occur.
• The Y7 rating for SD!PA! (we caught it on Cartoon Network) seems appropriate – the ghost pirates are a bit creepy, with some of their mean, gnarly faces shot in close-up in the opening sequence. And there is a fair amount of swordplay and cannons blasting, but no injuries or deaths.
Will your FilmMother like it?Doubtful. She could probably tolerate it if she had to, but I’d tell her to seek out something better for everybody to watch.
Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy!
* Director: Chuck Sheetz
* Screenwriters: Margaret M. Dean, Jed Elinoff, Scott Thomas
* Stars: Dan Castellaneta, Mindy Cohn, Tim Conway, Grey DeLisle, Arsenio Hall, Casey Kasem, Edie McClurg, Kathy Najimy, Ron Perlman, Freddy Rodriguez, Frank Welker
* MPAA Rating: G
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