One of many films to be hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, Warner Bros Pictures’ Scoob bypassed its theatrical release earlier this year for a premium digital launch. Now available on physical home media, the film can hopefully continue to recoup its losses which, at the time of writing, sit somewhere around the $60 million mark.
Intended to be the first instalment in a new Hanna-Barbera Cinematic Universe, Scoob combines the characters of Scooby Doo with familiar faces from other properties including Dynomutt, Wacky Races and Captain Caveman for a charming nostalgia-fest for old fans or a wonderful introduction to these characters for newcomers.
With an all-star cast including Will Forte, Mark Wahlberg, Jason Isaacs, Amanda Seyfried and Zac Efron to name but a few – not to mention original Scooby voice Frank Welker in the titular role – the film is bursting with voice talent that gives the proceedings a high level of quality. This is complimented by the film’s absolutely stunning animation from Reel FX Animation Studios that breathes new life into the character designs while retaining their traditional appearance and movement style. Seeing not only the Mystery Inc gang but also characters like Dick Dastardly and Muttley in this new style is an absolute joy for audiences who have grown up with their respective programmes, while hearing their new voices is also a treat – Tracy Morgan as Captain Caveman is a particular highlight.
Narratively, Scoob doesn’t really deliver any surprises. The film is overly simplistic in structure and all the story beats are predictable – but this is not even remotely an issue when the film also packs so much heart and humour. The film is wonderfully charming and surprisingly poignant, touching on themes of friendship, loyalty and change in a mature way for younger audiences to learn from, while not feeling too heavy-handed. It may not be Disney Pixar levels of quality, but it’s certainly closer than most other animated films get.
All in all, this is one of the best kids films in some time. Exceeding all expectations, Scoob is a surprisingly entertaining and beautifully animated romp packed with humour and heart.