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4.0 out of 5 stars For The Adults: Painless, 30 Mar. 2013
This review is from: Scooby-Doo: Mask of the Blue Falcon (DVD) [2013] (DVD)
If you're wondering if your child will love this movie, then the answer is most probably yes, especially if they're a Scooby Doo fan. The real question is, will you love this movie? You, the long suffering but well meaning parent, looking to enrich your child's imagination, but at the same time worried that you will have to suffer through a movie more Snow Dogs than The Incredibles?

The Scooby Doo DTV movies are something of a mixed bag: they often don't have the cleverness/post-modern zaniness of Mystery Incorporated, but on the plus side, they don't have the gang going through 'teenage-relationship soap-operatics' like their edgier T.V. counterpart. I find it hard to sit through some of the earlier movies ( for example, Scooby-Doo: Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase, Scooby-Doo: Scooby-Doo and the Samurai Sword, or Scooby-Doo: Pirates Ahoy; in fairness, my daughter has loved all these movies), although I most recently enjoyed Scooby Abracadabra-Doo for it's gorgeous art direction which punched well above its 'straight to DVD' weight.

And so to Mask of the Blue Falcon, a movie literally dripping with 'nudge nudge/wink winks' to the geekier parents out there. The Scooby Gang visit a thinly veiled San Diego Comic Con to find the original, semi-retired, Blue Falcon, an Adam West-esque actor out of work and desperately trying to sell autographs, whilst a new, grittier Blue Falcon movie is being promoted by a Tom Cruise a-like actor. (The 're-booted' Frank Miller-esque Blue Falcon comes across like Christian Bale's Batman ramped up to 11.) Naturally, the original Blue Falcon becomes prime suspect when an evil Mr Hyde starts tearing up the convention, and in the process of doing so, allows the film-makers to touch on the eccentricities of the convention floor, homage John Romita's 'Spider-man no more' cover with Scooby dumping his cosplay costume in the bin, and poke fun at the shallowness of the Hollywood cultural machine.

And so, the movie is clever, but it never quite shakes off the DTV vibe. Partly I wonder if this is to do with the mandate of following the Scooby 'formula', probably laid down by the studio (certainly, Mystery Incorporated feels fresher). Or Perhaps it's because the usual Scooby Doo story beats have to be stretched out to feature length, as opposed to being wrapped up in 30 minutes. In any case, the nods to the nerd-parents out there certainly were engaging, if not enthralling.

But I probably expect too much. The production team know what is required of them by Warner Bros, and still manage to shoehorn in a lot of clever little quirks, enough to make this painless. And, excusing the terrible voice for Scooby (seriously, there has to be a better actor out there more able to emulate the classic Scooby 'voice'), this movie, whilst not being genuinely innovative, is certainly far above the lowest, eyeball gnawing, pits of hell that many "kids' movies" seem to exist in. Finally, there are plenty of relevant extras, including three episodes of the 'classic' cartoon (with Scrappy Doo *shudder*).

And your son or daughter will probably love it regardless!
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