★ ★ ½
While Scoob! is undeniably gorgeous to look at, the film lacks the charm and mystery the original Hanna-Barbera cartoons had, mostly relying on lazy pop culture references and baby humor, which ultimately makes it a hollow experience.
After a falling out with the Mysery Inc., Shaggy and Scooby stumble upon a greater mystery that could lead them back to their past.
With an ever-changing economic landscape, it was a predictable yet grim headline when Warner Bros. announced that this film would, as ‘Trolls: World Tour’ before it, forego a theatrical release in favor of a video on demand debut. However, now having seen the film, I’m left wondering why they would have even bothered in the first place to release it in theaters.
Warner Animation has done great work for the past few years, including the incredibly successful Lego franchise and the under-appreciated Storks. Still, I’m sad to say that ‘Scoob!’ is far from the quality heights the animation studio has reached before. If I had to find an applicable comparison, I would say ‘Scoob!’ chooses to go forward with an approach akin to what ‘Illumination’ has specialized in with their ‘Minions’ franchise. And no, I don’t mean that as a compliment. It’s the type of film that is much more worried in appealing to all demographics than focusing on its message. Having realized this, you’re quick to find out the mess it is behind the great animation. From lazy and bland humor that I’d be surprised if it made a 2-year old chuckle to pop culture references without any meaning or commentary behind it, it just can’t help but come off as a blatant cash grab.
It’s not impossible to revive a dormant franchise as a blatant product of a film and make it enjoyable. Just ask Warner Bros. with what they managed to pull off with the Lego franchise. However, ‘Scoob!’, a film based on beloved cartoons that leaned into their wondrous mysteries and incredible characters, is merely a shadow of what came before. Every single character, perhaps except for the leading duo of Shaggy and Scooby, has no traits beyond being a shallow caricature of what they were in old cartoons. It makes for an awkward and meaningless watch.
Does it have any redeeming qualities? Fortunately, it does. Its animation is a perfect mix of the new technological advancements the medium has reached recently and of the silly cartoonish style that made the franchise so loved in the first place. The voice cast gives it all they’ve got even with as weak of a script as the one they’re given here.
In conclusion, the Hanna-Barbera animated universe is off to an admittedly underwhelming start, which is made all the more frustrating given all the potential left on the table.