- Emma Simmonds
- 6 July 2020
Mark Wahlberg steals the show in this overstuffed animated adventure
Not anywhere near as exciting as that exclamation mark makes it sound, Scoob! is the latest crack at bringing the Mystery Inc gang to the big screen, this time in an all-animated outing from director Tony Cervone. If a character repeatedly shouting the word 'dick' sounds like provocative material for kids' entertainment, sadly there's nothing truly boundary breaking about a film that incoherently combines super-heroics and various Hanna-Barbera favourites for a brisk but slapdash adventure.
Fronted by ravenous mutt Scooby-Doo (Frank Welker, the original Fred Jones in the 1969 series, who has long been voicing Scooby himself) and his mangy human friend Shaggy (Will Forte), it begins as an origin story, with a lonely young boy scrolling through sad songs on his phone, before he finds a canine friend who's happy to share his pilfered kebab meat. Later, the pair bond with Fred, Daphne and Velma (voiced by Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried and Gina Rodriguez as adults) and become a successful amateur sleuthing squad. The villain of the piece is Dick Dastardly (Jason Isaacs, giving it some trademark oomph), whose outlandish scheme involves accessing the gate to the Underworld, with Scooby's distinguished ancestry giving him a part to play.
Kids may relish the chaos, while adults might get a kick from the starriness of the voice cast, the aforementioned risqué gags ('You thought Tinder was an app that delivers firewood!') and from the fact that the film functions as the best of Hanna-Barbera. However, bringing characters such as Dee Dee Skyes and Dynomutt together in an Avengers-emulating mash-up results in something infuriatingly overpopulated. The plot – which combines the actions of Alexander the Great with a variety of middling madness, including a gladiatorial battle set in prehistoric environs – is baffling, quickly throwing out the idea of a modest mystery in favour of tokenistic shenanigans, which merely serve to string together the action set-pieces.
The CG animation is inconsistent and sometimes really quite ugly – especially in the early beach scenes – but there are other, minor pleasures. 30 Rock's Tracy Morgan makes an exuberant Captain Caveman for all of ten minutes, and Mark Wahlberg thoroughly steals the show in the more substantial role of Blue Falcon or, rather, Blue Falcon's adult son Ryan, who's haplessly following in his father's footsteps. Ryan's comically infantile persona and embarrassing attempts to impress work well, even if the character, like so many here, is poorly incorporated into the story; in fact, forget the nonsense elsewhere, a film following him would have been much more fun.
Available to watch on demand from Fri 10 Jul.