Scooby-Doo (2002)

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Released 28-Nov-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Deleted Scenes-+/- commentary
Featurette-Making Of
Audio Commentary-Filmmakers
Audio Commentary-Cast
Music Video-The Land Of A Million Drums-Outkast
Featurette-Scary Places
Featurette-The Mystery Van
Featurette-Daphne Fight Scene
Trailer-Scooby-Doo Soundtrack
DVD-ROM Extras
Easter Egg-Zoinks!
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 83:00
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (44:39) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Raja Gosnell
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Freddie Prinze Jr.
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Linda Cardellini
Matthew Lillard
Rowan Atkinson
Sam Greco
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $34.95 Music David Newman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Italian
Arabic
German
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Immediately

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

Plot Synopsis

    For many years, producers Charles Roven and Richard Suckle had tried to bring Scooby-Doo to the screen. Originally trying to get the film made in the early 1990s, I shudder to think how the film would have looked, obviously before the digital revolution. Thanks to this revolution, a fully digital Scooby-Doo has appeared on screen along with the rest of Mystery, Inc.- Fred, Daphne, Velma and of course, Shaggy.

    How does the film shape up? Not very well. While there is nothing offensive throughout the picture, there really is not anything to get excited about either. There are some massive plot holes, portions of the story that seem completely washed over, key portions of the film missing and story lines that go nowhere....but it is still harmless enough to make it watchable - the first time.

    Some aspects of the film are first-rate, like the set design and the look of the film itself. The massive array of colours on show and intricate sets and building are something to be proud of. In both commentary tracks on this DVD, special mention is continuously made of these designs, and rightly so. Along with the fantastic and original look of the film, the performance of Matthew Lillard is outstanding as Shaggy. He completely nails the voice, inflections, pitch and tone of the character perfectly. Why does this guy continuously hook up with second rate talent like Freddie Prinze, Jr instead of using some of his natural talent and charisma for good, and not evil?

    For every good thing about Scooby-Doo, there are a few negatives to go with it. Firstly, Scooby-Doo himself. A fully CGI character, he does not look enough like the original cartoon for me to think of him as the same character. While I do recognise that the filmmakers would not want the character to look exactly like the original, I felt as if Mystery Inc. had a new Scooby snack munchin', hamburger huntin' friend instead of someone who should be the main attraction to this film. The lighting on Scooby often looks too bright and he has a very computer generated look about him which does not help to sell the idea of a walking, talking dog very well.

    The script itself seems very congested, as if too many key scenes have been cut out. A good example of this is shown in the deleted scenes featured on this DVD. In the director's commentary, it is pointed out that the scene was cut to preserve a certain rating on the film, yet it serves to delete a major plot point in the film! In my mind, decisions like this have made the film appear 'slapped together' and uneven, which may be the reason why it did not get received too well by older audiences. Nevertheless, the kids loved it, and the sequel will perform as well.

    The basic plot involves the Mystery, Inc. gang - Fred (Freddie Prinze, Jr), Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Velma (Linda Cardellini) and Shaggy (Matthew Lillard), plus Scooby being invited to 'Spooky Island' by its owner Emile Mondavarious (Rowan Atkinson) to solve another mystery. After getting past their personal differences with each other, the team must work together to unravel the mystery behind what is terrorizing the island's visitors.

    Scooby-Doo has some good points, but they are outweighed by its bad ones. The script is weak, the plot is muddled but the casting is good and the production values are excellent. It is a film that could have been a load of fun, like Charlie's Angels was, but instead is more like Batman & Robin.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer of Scooby-Doo is bright and colourful with a clear image. It suffers from some very mild but frequent artefacts.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    Sharpness is not a problem with this transfer with no instances worth a mention here. There is some grain to be seen, particularly in the dark scenes throughout the film, mainly noticeable at 3:40, 20:18, 20:55, 27:27, 27:31, 29:25, and 36:48. There was some edge enhancement that appeared from time to time, most noticeably at 11:19, 16:26, 35:42, and 55:44. These artefacts are never overbearing and they only stood out because I was looking for them. Shadow detail is of a decent quality throughout the film, and there were no problems with low level noise.

    The colours in this film are very bright and vibrant throughout the feature. The palette used has a very wide range and there are plenty of bright greens, blues, purples, oranges and reds on show. There are no colour-related artefacts to be found. A very bright film, this is the most appealing part of this transfer for mine.

    There were no MPEG artefacts, and only some very minor examples of aliasing to be found at 4:32, 6:29, 19:16, and 44:08. There were virtually no film artefacts to be found, except a large spot in the sky at 38:42.

    I watched about 15 minutes of the English subtitles and found them to accurate to the spoken word.

    This is an RSDL disc with the layer change occurring at 44:39. It is horribly placed and happens during a scene when the music, effects and camera move are all interrupted.

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

Audio

    The audio transfer is solid, but underwhelming considering the film's age, production values and budget.

    There are five audio tracks recorded here. I listened to the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack at 384 kb/s and then to both audio commentary tracks. There are also Italian and French soundtracks available.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times, and there were no problems with audio synch.

    The musical score in this film is by David Newman. It is fairly uneventful, but it serves its purpose. There are a lot of other musical cues to be found here from contemporary rap artists that are featured on the film's soundtrack. The music emanates from the left and right channels and is a major part of the film.

    The surrounds are where this soundtrack is let down. As stated above, the budget, and production of this film should have allowed for more action to be coming from the surround channels, but sadly, they are used sparingly when they have to be. There is no moment in the film when I can remember being impressed with them.

    Like the surrounds, the subwoofer does not get used too much. At moments when it is used, it is effective, but these are few and far between.

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

Extras

     A goodly quantity of extras are available here. The commentaries and the deleted scenes are very good, and there are a few featurettes thrown in for good measure.

Menu

    An animated menu with Scooby running around all over the place. It has some most annoying music underscoring it that has since been stuck in my head for the remainder of the day!

Audio Commentary 1 -    Director Raja Gosnell & Producers Charles Roven and Richard Suckle

    This commentary threatens to turn into a 'step up to the mike and pat yourself on the back-a-thon' but does not really go the whole way on that point. Gosnell records his commentary separately from the producers, and as a result the commentary seems very disjointed and does not flow well. Often someone will introduce a topic and then we will hear someone else talk about something completely different, only to be suddenly listening to the original person talking about the topic they introduced well beforehand. There is plenty of adoration for the Australian crew on the film, and Gosnell gives a decent commentary when we hear him. Roven and Suckle seem so pleased with themselves that they do not realise when they should stop talking. Suckle tells us about how Rowan Atkinson passed on the film six times before doing the role after Johnny English fell over. Probably should not have mentioned that...!

Audio Commentary 2 -    Actors Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Linda Cardinelli and Matthew Lillard

    A more enjoyable, yet not as informative commentary from the actors with good shows from Gellar, Cardinelli and especially Lillard. It is upbeat and fun, as you would expect. Sarah Michelle Gellar probably has a few too many 'favourite things in the whole movie' but she is pretty good. Freddie Prinze, Jr, on the other hand, comes off like an arrogant, stuck up, no talent, no personality prima donna. While everyone else is having fun, he telling us how he hated the locations, hated particular scenes and is trying to make fun of those who are actually making comments. For the guy who probably delivered the least in terms of personality on screen, he does not really make up for it in the commentary. As I said, the rest of the commentary is a great deal of fun and enjoyable.

Deleted Scenes    (13:33)

    Here are 7 deleted sequences from the film that sadly are not chapter marked, so you need to fast forward through them to get to where you want to go. There is an optional director's commentary on all of them and they are all interesting. To my mind, it would have made the film a LOT better had they been included. All are presented in a ratio of 1.78:1, non 16x9 enhanced.
    Alternate Opening
    This is a 2-D style cartoon introduction with original-looking cartoon characters. It is well done, but the filmmakers wanted to distinguish this live action film from its cartoon counterpart as much as possible.
    Flashbacks
    After the gang reunite, there are a series of flashbacks showing us how each of them have failed to make it on their own.
    Nightmare Boulevard
    A fairly non-eventful scene after the group arrive on Spooky Island. Has a ripper gag in it, though.
    Velma's Song
    Velma gets 'drunk' and starts singing a song on top of a piano ala Michelle Pfeiffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys. This scene explains why people in the bar start applauding for no reason in the finished film. This is one of the instances where parts of the finished film make no sense because of the deleted scenes.
    Locker Room
    This scene was cut because audiences thought that the girls were standing around in their underwear. Again, it is a scene that would have made the film make a lot more sense.
    Daphne's Spirit Thingy
    And another scene that should have been in the film, so we knew what happened to Daphne instead of her just disappearing!  It was deemed too scary for the kids they were targeting the film at.
    Heart Attack
    Featuring Scooby trying to escape after being captured - he fakes a heart attack to try and get out.

Featurette -    Unlocking The Mystery    (22:11)

    At first, I thought this would be a run of the mill 'making of' but it is probably one step higher than that. It is interesting and has a nice balance of people talking about  the shoot, the effects, the locations and the cartoons. It features all of the principal cast as well as key contributors to the production of the film. It is in a ratio of 1.33:1.

Featurette -    Scary Places    (4:24)

    With a ratio of 1.33:1, this featurette talks about some of the locations in Queensland where the film was shot.

Featurette -    The Mystery Van    (1:04)

    With handheld footage of Lillard and the Mystery Machine, this talks all too briefly about different designs for the gang's van in the film. It has a ratio of 1.33:1.

Featurette -    Daphne's Fight Scene   (2:29)

    Again with a ratio of 1.33:1, this shows footage of Sarah Michelle Gellar training for her big fight scene with Sam Greco toward the end of the film. There are comparisons made to The Matrix, which are clearly out of line.

Music Video -    Outkast  'The Land Of A Million Drums'    (4:27)

    Presented in a ratio of 1.78:1 and not 16x9 enhanced, this clip is well produced and featured Matthew Lillard as Shaggy.

Easter Egg    Zoinks!    (1:18)

    Very easy to find, this egg can be accessed by going to the second page of the Special Features and pressing left from any of the available options until the 'Zoinks!' sign is highlighted. There, you will find a few short clips of the cast and crew during one of the many rain storms that Tropical Queensland dumped on the film's production.

R4 vs R1

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

 

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    Widescreen Review reports that the Region 1 disc offers a very punchy and impressive soundtrack. While I cannot assume that the extra 64 kb/s is going to make that much of a difference, it might be a different transfer. I would still give the nod to the Region 4 release due to its superior PAL transfer of the video.

Summary

   Scooby-Doo could have been a fun, enjoyable film but ultimately falls short of this mark. While I would not consider it a 'bad' film, it certainly could have delivered a lot more in terms of its plot and flow. The scenes that were deleted would have made for a better film. As it stands, it feels very slapped together and sloppy with some of these scenes removed. If this film was directed solely at children, then this is fine. On the other hand, if the film is aimed at older audiences as well, then sadly, it is not up to scratch.

    The video transfer is fine, but with a few flaws.

    The audio transfer is underwhelming.

    The extras are informative and add a lot to the film.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Hugh Fotheringham (what the hell is going on in bio??)
Thursday, November 28, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-S525, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos (81cm) 16:9. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS797- THX Select
SpeakersJamo X550 Left and Right, Jamo X5CEN Centre, Jamo X510 Surround

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Comments (Add)
bad comparison! - orangecat (my kingdom for a decent bio)
A Complete Bust - DarkEye (This bio says: Death to DNR!)
Is this edition cut? - 'kin pom. REPLY POSTED
Hmmm - Adam Barratt (symbiosis)