I was seriously dreading the first Scooby-Doo movie. What was conceivably a very, very bad idea turned out to be a surprisingly good film with a fair amount of comedy. Originally a Mike Myers vehicle (thank God THAT didn't work out), but then recast with I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream actors, the realization of Scooby-Doo as a CGI character interacting with live action actually works. I'd say it was a one in a million chance but Raja Gosnell managed to pull it off.
The most impressive transformation tho is not cartoon Scooby to CGI Scooby but Matthew Lillard's performance as Shaggy. No way would I have believed he could possibly take on the role of one of my most fave characters ever but he just seems to completely disappear and the spirit of Shaggy takes him over. He brings some real integrity to what is widely regarded as an artless family movie. Even Freddy Prinze Jr. seems to nail the voice and narcissism of Fred, and Sarah Michelle Gellar is quite good as Daphne. Though I was always more attracted to Velma as I really dig nerdy chicks. Linda Cardellini brings some true sex appeal to the role. I wish the never-seen lesbian kiss between her and Daphne never got cut out.
Of course the plot is the usual baloney but there is constant action and invention to keep even the most impatient viewer stuck on till the end. The gang go to a theme park resort called Spooky Island (actually an Australian resort) to solve the mystery of why the wild spring break kids are turning into well-mannered nerds. But not only are there guys in masks but there are some REAL spooks too. I would have liked Rowan Atkinson to have a bigger role as Emile Mondavarious but considering the twist (which comes as an amusing surprise) at the end, the plot doesn't really have room for it. It's good to have him in there though instead of a cast full of 20-somethings. But 99% of the comic genius comes Matthew Lillard.
The CGI has dated somewhat since its release. Scooby and the various demons don't look very photo-realistic anymore and it's a little bit distracting. I doubt the target audience will care.
An unfairly trashed and fun movie, but the sequel is better.
As a Scooby fan I may be a bit biased but how anybody can deny that Scooby-Doo 2 is just great entertainment is beyond my understanding. It ain't high are but it's loads of fun, and there are plenty of in-jokes for the wiser viewers. The movie is fairly mindless, otherwise it would lose its kid audience. but that doesn't mean there's no good humor or plot to it.
Granted, the plot is dumb (the gang go up against all the monsters from the first season of the TV show, only this time they're real). The manic set-pieces just bombard us, one after the other. Once again, there's not a moment of boredom, but there are enough quieter scenes with the Mystery Inc. gang. The main stars are, as usual, Shaggy and Scooby. Matthew Lillard is dead-on as Shaggy, so much so that he actually replaced Casey Kasem as his animated voice.
One moment that requires major suspension of disbelief is not any scene featuring sludge monsters or a cotton candy ghosts but a scene in which Velma utters 'I'm not hot'.
NOT HOT!!!???? WHAT??? She's a total babe, more so than Daphne. Every frame of her is a work of art as far as I am concerned.
The CGI effects this time round are thankfully superior to the trashy effects of the first film. It's a much better movie all round and will not fail to amuse anyone of any age.
The Blu Rays in this 2-disc set present each movie in 1.78:1 1080p with non-HD Dolby 5.1 sound and a decent amount of extras. The first film looks good, but the sequel looks much better. Both have bright, colorful cinematography though the low-res CGI of the first let it down overall.