Here’s a movie I just found out existed very recently. After re-watching the live-action Scooby-Doo movies, I was curious to find out why they hadn’t tried to do another Scooby-Doo since then.
Honestly, it’s not bad, and if you enjoyed Scooby-Doo and Scooby-Doo 2, then you’ll very likely enjoy this one. That being said, if you didn’t like the first live-action attempts, then I don’t really see this one changing your mind. Then again, it might seeing as how it feels more authentic to the Scooby-Doo experience.
Scooby-Doo: The Mystery Begins is not a reboot of the live-action Scooby-Doo films. It’s a prequel. It explores how the gang got together and how they solved their first mystery.
Some noticeable things that differentiate this movie from the original two. It wasn’t made as a theatrical release. Instead, they opted to go the route of TV movie. You’ll notice a considerable shift in production value. Not terrible special effects but nothing on the scale of the movies. Scooby-Doo himself is a good example of this. He’s not bad looking, but I did find he looked a tad more CG-ish. The ghosts are low budget also. All of this isn’t a criticism as none of this takes away from the enjoyment of the movie. More of an observation and to temper your expectations.
What really stood out for me apart from the production value was the cast. All the main characters have been recast. Obviously this makes sense since it’s a prequel and they had to go for younger actors. I liked all the cast members. Noticeable ones again would have to be Shaggy (Nick Palatas) and Velma (Hayley Kiyoko). Honestly, even Fred (Robbie Amell) and Daphne (Kate Melton) are great!
My one criticism with Fred is he isn’t blonde, which is weird. It kind of makes sense. Fred (Freddie Prinze Jr.) in Scooby-Doo always looked more like a bottle-blonde rather than a natural blonde. Apart from that one minuscule issue, the entire cast feels very authentic to their cartoon counterparts. Which I loved!
What’s also noticeable about the new gang is their age. Now I haven’t seen every single episode or movie in the Scooby-Doo franchise, so don’t take my word as gospel. But I don’t think we’ve ever seen the gang as high school students, which is when this movie takes place. They’ve always been referred to as kids – “And I would have gotten away with it too if it weren’t for you meddling kids!” They just never really looked like kids, more like young adults. So it was definitely weird to see them as actual high school students, but it’s neat, and it works.
More kid Friendly
As a whole, Scooby-Doo: The Mystery Begins feels more kid-friendly than the previous live-action Scooby-Doo films. There’s less adult humor for one. Honestly, I can’t think of a single piece of dialogue which was said that only adults would understand. There’s less sexual innuendo, and the flirting between Fred and Daphne is what you’d come to expect from a couple of high school students.
Obviously, the setting plays a role here. It would be weird if high school students made crude sexual references (or would it?). Also, it’s the fact that it’s was made for television, and they tend to be even more restrictive on what can and can’t be said. Especially on a channel like Cartoon Network, which caters to a younger audience.
This isn’t a bad. This is, after all, Scooby-Doo, and I’d not only expect it to be kid-friendly, but I’d want it to be. In a lot of ways Scooby-Doo: The Mystery Begins feels more authentic to Scooby-Doo than previous live-action incarnations.
As for the mystery itself, it’s not terrible. Didn’t find it be very engaging, but still, it’s better than the first Scooby-Doo and maybe on par if not slightly worse than the mystery in Scooby-Doo 2. Like the dialogue, it gets hit with the PG hammer. Still, that doesn’t excuse it from being mediocre. The cartoons can come up with a more engaging story, and they’re just as restricted as this movie when it comes to what they’re allowed to say and explore.
Enjoyed it more than the original two
In the end, that’s all that needs to be said, really. This movie didn’t make me never want to watch Scooby-Doo again. In fact, it’s the opposite, and it got me excited to see the next two movies.
I’ll miss the old cast, but the new cast is fantastic. So check it out if you can. I’m definitely glad I came across this movie!