Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost (1999)

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Released 31-Mar-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Making Of
Music Video-Scooby-Doo Where Are You? & Hex Girl
Trailer-Scooby-Doo's Greatest Mysteries
Trailer-Scooby-Doo Meets The Boo Brothers
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 66:36
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Jim Stenstrum
Studio
Distributor
Hanna-Barbera
Warner Vision
Starring Scott Innes
Frank Welker
Mary Kay Bergman
B.J. Ward
Jane Wiedlin
Pete Renaday
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost is a movie-length episode of Scooby Doo made in 1999 and thankfully among the better of the recent Scooby-Doo offerings. There is mystery aplenty for the meddling kids from Mystery Inc to solve in this episode and with the help of their cowardly and ever-hungry great dane there's also plenty of fun to be had.

    Things get underway when Freddy, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and of course Scooby-Doo have been called in to help solve a mystery at a local museum, where the local curator has been terrorised by a couple of evil looking monsters. The gang manage to quickly solve the puzzle and unmask the crooks with the help of noted crime writer Ben Ravencroft (voiced by Tim Curry). Ben is immediately impressed by the knowledge and courage of the kids and invites them to travel with him to his childhood home in Massachusetts and visit where he wrote his first books. Velma in particular is thrilled at this prospect, since she harbours a bit of a crush on the dashing young writer. On arriving in the town of Oakhaven, Ben and the kids are surprised to learn that a large festival is in full swing. Seems the Mayor has capitalised on the appearance of an old ghost in the town and has decided to use the appearance to make some quick cash for the coffers. Of course as with all Scooby mysteries all is not as it seems and when the ghost turns out to be none other than a descendant of Ben Ravencroft and a supposed witch who was executed hundred of years before, emotions start to run high. It seems Ben has been trying for years to clear the name of his descendant, Sarah Ravencroft, who he claims was not a witch, but a peaceful wiccan and healer. Of course there may also be a bit more to Ben than first revealed.

    The festival includes a couple of performance by The Hex Girls, a local rock band claiming to have links to the occult and witchcraft. There are also a few other witch and wicca references, and as such this could be a little on the dark side for those younger audience members. Thankfully for the older members of the Scooby audience the things that make Scooby-Doo episodes such fun are all here. Plenty of mystery and the cowardly great dane getting up to all sorts of antics with Shaggy. The restaurant scene, where the two buddies are given free reign and told to order whatever they like is a hoot.

    The quality of the animation on offer here is also extraordinary. It really is clean and incredibly modern looking. Coupled with a lovely Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, this is one Scooby-Doo episode that can easily be watched many times.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer of this more recent production is excellent. It is bright, colourful, and quite modern looking animation. Certainly a far cry from the grimy looking original Scooby-Doo mysteries.

    It is presented in the original made-for-TV aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is therefore not 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is very sharp throughout with virtually no major blemishes and only the smallest amount of visible grain.

    Colours are superbly saturated. They are vivid and vibrant with bold reds, oranges, yellows and blues the highlights. In particular the backgrounds on offer here seem to have had substantially more work than you would expect from an original Scooby episode. The colours of the autumn trees in particular look a treat. There was no evidence of any problems with colour bleeding or cross-colouration.

    Compression artefacts are completely absent as are film artefacts.

    There are two sets of English subtitles available. Both are accurate and well placed on the screen.

    This is a single sided and single layered disc only so there is no layer change with which to contend.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is only one soundtracks on this disc, it being an English Dolby Digital 5.1 effort. Compared with the original series and its mono soundtracks, this is really like comparing chalk and cheese. It is full in delivery and really quite engaging. The front soundstage really opens up on occasion, most notably when the two songs are performed by The Hex Girls.

    There isn't a significant amount of surround channel use with probably two or three scenes really making full use of the rears, while the subwoofer also doesn't see a significant amount of action.



Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Audio

Featurette-Making Of

    At 2:58 this is hardly an in-depth making of featurette, but it at least gives the viewer a chance to see the faces behind the main character voices.

Music Video

    A 1:10 music video for two songs. First up is a 30 second rendition of the Scooby-Doo theme song by none other than Billy Ray Cyrus (which is about 29 seconds too long for me). This is followed by another 40 seconds of the I'm a Hex Girl song from the feature.

Trailer

    A 1:02 trailer for another Scooby Doo disc, Scooby-Doo's Greatest Mysteries

Trailer

    A 0:56 trailer for yet another Scooby Doo disc, Scooby-Doo Meets The Boo Brothers

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 disc is basically the same as the local version save for a few soundtrack differences and a couple of minor extras.

    The Region 4 disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 disc misses out on;

    Obviously the content alone swings this in favour of the Region 1 disc, but the main feature and important extras are the same, so I'd suggest you pick it up wherever you can get it the cheapest.

Summary

    Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost is a welcome return to form for the meddling kids of Mystery Inc and their famous talking great dane. With voice help from Tim Curry and a solid plot packed with intrigue, this is one Scooby-Doo movie that sticks to the premise of the original series and probably even betters it.

    The video quality is excellent, with a clear, clean source print used with bold and vibrant colours abounding.

    The audio quality is pretty solid and wide reaching in range, though it is essentially anchored to the front speakers despite the 5.1 surround tag.

    The extras are quite limited.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Thursday, July 22, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5106DO, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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