Someone’s resurrecting the ghouls of Mystery Inc.’s past cases and trying to take over the city of Coolsville! Somehow, the gang is to blame thanks to the haphazard reporting of an ambitious news woman.
There’s a lot going on in Scooby Doo 2. James Gunn gets a little bit deeper into the heads of the Scooby gang, adds a legitimate mystery to the plot, and refines many of the gags that made the original so much fun. If there is a weakness to SD2 that would have to be the pacing. All the hopped-up wackiness outdoes a lot of the quieter moments—mainly in the first ten minutes. But after we meet the Black Knight Ghost everything starts to speed up, and then slows down again. It’s not that the slow or quiet moments aren’t interesting; they’re just a little harder to come down from. The quiet moments do allow the actors to emote a few fine lines you wouldn’t expect during all the chases and fart jokes.
Amid the goofiness, there is a darker, creepier side to SD2, but it’s hard to put a finger on. Maybe that’s why Shaggy and Scooby act a little bit sillier this time around—too silly, even for them. It almost feels like a horror movie at times, but then again, the first movie had a dead Scooby-Doo in the frame, and Fred, Daphne and Velma were possessed by demons. The CG has improved. They’ve found a way to match the animation with the live-action, as in the disco scene at the ghoul bar. Some of the supporting cast seems to have a hard time interacting with Scooby, which would make the disco scene a little hard to film. All these real-life people seem to be looking at different parts of Scooby’s face, but you can’t blame them for trying.
Since we’re stuck with the horrible reality of miscasting Fred and Daphane, Gunn and Gosnell added new dimensions to their personalities. Fred is more endearing and sensitive to other people’s feelings, and Daphne’s not as self-absorbed, but at the same time is exploring her usefulness to Mystery Inc. All the characters of Mystery Inc. are learning more about themselves and their potential—which is the theme of the movie. They all spent a good hunk of their lives chasing and unmasking criminals, only to wind up hiding behind these façades—especially when the scrutiny of the media comes into play.
When it’s all said and done this is just one fun ride. It’s an adequate sequel if not better, and certainly fit for your Scooby-Doo library. If Gunn, Gosnell and the cast return for SD3 then it will be a much anticipated sequel. Since we can’t get Don Knotts, I hope they throw in Scooby-Dum next time.
The Monster Mosh (Where Ghouls Come to Party):
Van Helsing, Hellboy, Bloody Mallory, Blade, Blade 2, Blade 3, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Pirates of the Caribbean, Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat, Ghostbusters, 2002, The Mad Monster Party, Transylvania 6-5000Monster Inc., Army of Darkness, Fright Night, Fright Night II, They Live, House of 1000 Corpses, House of 1000 Corpses 2, Underworld, Underworld 2, Nightbreed, House, House II: The Second Story, Basket Case, Society, HP Lovecraft’s From Beyond, The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, Vampire Hunter D, Hellsing, Devil Hunter Yohko, Blood: The Last Vampire, Phantom Quest Corp, Captain Kronos…
Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (3 out of Four)
PG, 2004, 90 min., Warner Bros.
Freddie Prinze, Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, Linda Cardellini, Seth Green, Alicia Silverstone, Tim Blake Nelson, Peter Boyle, Music by David Newman, Written by James Gunn, Produced by Charles Roven and Richard Suckle and Directed by Raja Gosnell.