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Sequels have become rather famous for ruining franchises, but when the first in the series is utter tripe in the first place, can it really get any worse for Mystery Inc? I am afraid so folks…It’s going to be a bumpy ride, so I strictly advise those with a weak heart and unstable bladder to kindly avert their eyes at this time.

Movie
Sadly cinema isn’t always good. As we know from recent years, films can be downright appalling. So bad can they be, that one often wonders whether those involved behind the camera (and indeed those in front) have been brainwashed into thinking what they are producing is some sort of a masterpiece. Ether that or the salary was so high they couldn’t care less. Putting it in that perspective it seems the latter is a more logical conclusion.

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Unfortunately, that is one of the film industry’s weakest, most terrible downfalls. It always seems to be a case of how much money one can try and earn in this day and age, with very little emphasis on actually telling quality stories or producing enjoyable antics. Execs are constantly screaming; “Market this to be something it isn’t” and “Glamorise that to widen the appeal” and so on and so forth. The worst part about this is the horrific reality that it seems to be a mainstream way of producing film in the twenty-first century. It gets the job done though doesn’t it, especially if you populate said films with mega-stars that don’t have so much as a glimmer on their track record if they were to run for say, the annual Mr. and Ms. Perfect award.

A question that really burns on my fore-mind is this: where’s the art in such mass-produced garbage? Though I realise that not every film can be a genre-defying masterpiece, I also believe that it would be nice for those involved to actually do a good job once in a while—the job that they were presumably paid to do in the first place. As you can probably fathom from the pace of this review thus far, it is my opinion that nobody cared or even invested a single intellectual thought into this steaming pile. No seriously, not one. It actually makes me sit here and think, ‘how on Earth did this ever get passed for approval?’

For what it’s worth, I shall attempt to give you a rough idea how the story, or lack of, pans out. Once again Mystery Inc, comprising of the loveable team Shaggy and Scooby, Fred and Velma, and of course Daphne, set out to discover another spooky villain. This time, all the ghost costumes have been stolen from a museum and it’s up to the gang to stop the madman before his ‘monster machine’ can produce the scariest villains Coolsville, and perhaps the world, has ever seen. Right, let’s stop right there before I give myself a migraine.

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Joining me in my home theatre at the time of viewing were my younger eight-year-old brother and his friend, who both kindly agreed to loan me their expert opinion (and snatch the perfect opportunity for free popcorn). Being a film tailored for children after all, I thought I would gauge their reactions throughout the showing and attempt to formulate a more thorough opinion in so doing. The lights went down, and the screen lit up... Nearly ninety minutes later, when the illumination inflamed the room with light once more, there were two very oblique faces in my midst—both with distinguishable, furrowed brows. It appeared the very target audience of this film was clearly unimpressed with the foray of cliché’s, crappy CGI and downright heinous story and comical farce that they had just endured. Unsurprising, I also emerged with a face of utter contempt for those who made, and worst of all, those who approved this would-be excuse of entertainment. Even as pure laid-back amusement this film falls flat on its back. It’s boring, dizzy, down right stupid and worst of all it’s condescending to all of its demographic range.

I normally enjoy this part of the review, but this time I shall let my younger brother do the honours of wringing it out by summarising the film in a simple, two-syllable phrase: “It stinks”. Coming from the audience Gosnel and the folks at Warner were clearly aiming for I think that is a highly alarming stab in the chest, and certainly a worthy one at that.

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Video
Being a colourful film, Scooby Doo 2 really had the chance to shine here, and it does. Colours are bright, vivid and always a delight to witness. The most notable colour palette naturally belongs to the actual costumes on display. Shaggy’s green shirt always appears sharp and expertly detailed. As does the bright red catsuit Velma wears at one stage of the film. Is this one of the most impressive discs of 2004? Not for a moment, but as a live action film the colours are very animated in nature and this really bodes well for the disc.

Surprisingly the transfer here was most worthy of recognition, unlike the images that inspired it. Overall, a very solid disc that will impress you more than you might expect.

Audio
Who saw this coming—thunderous bass and superb audio all-around? I didn’t for one. But indeed the audio is impressive, bass is often surprisingly deep and with a good deal of action in the film, you can expect a healthy dose of complaints from the neighbouring houses.

All you get is the bog standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track, but it’s plenty good enough. Directional audio is solid, if not borderline strong in some scenes. Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout. Once again, this is another good aspect of the disc that unfortunately shares the same environment with the film.

Extras
Ruling out any sign that adults actually like and buy kid’s films, Warner has lumbered the disc with a rather meagre helping of hollow extras. So, without further ado, let’s dive in and discover the joys that be. Just before we do though, I must warn you of the menu system. It is extremely annoying. I felt so ashamed in fact, that the volume had to be muted while making my selection. Yes, it’s that bad. Also, I really didn’t want to route such a mess through my sound system. You know some films just don’t deserve it.

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The additional scenes can either be viewed with or without audio commentary. Lasting for about several minutes and presented in a mostly unpolished format (time indicators/rough CGI included) I have to admit to being bored throughout their entirety. I was surprised as to how much was actually left on the cutting room floor, but let’s just say that they deserved to be.

Okay, next we have a feature you will probably not be able to get through due to the inane first minute whereby a laughably bad CGI Scooby finds a camera and takes you behind the scenes. If you persevere you will actually find that he goes away after a while and the cast/crew start to ramble on about how amazing the sequel is. Yeah, okay, how much were they paid to say this stuff? The feature I am talking about is of course the 'Triple Threat Featurette'. I think that its problem is that it is overly cramped with positive praise, which can often provide one with unexpected laughs rather than a serious behind the scenes look. The addition of Scooby Doo to this feature was obvious, to try and give the little ones an insight into filmmaking. Yet again something appears amiss. The feature, like the film, is too annoying for adults to appreciate or even take interest in, and as for the kids, it can be a little too pompous and grown up for them to fully understand.

'True Ghoul Hollywood Story' is actually one of the more entertaining and thought provoking on the disc. Filmed like a serious TV program, accompanied with quiet piano music and grainy black and white footage, this mini-documentary looks at the monsters in the film. With interviewed segments with the villains, the commentator questions the motives of their actions, which bring out their softer side. We discover that they had troubled childhoods and tormented souls. Actually, I am not sure if this spoof is slightly crude, but still, it is one of the few features here that will ever elicit any laughs.

'Dancing Dog' will be mentally torturous to your child’s growth! Do not, repeat, do not let them watch this. Yes, it is the scariest, most mentally disturbing of all. If you have seen the film then you probably know which scene this featurette casts light on. Scooby Doo as dressed in 70’s dance gear. Unfortunately it does shed light on how the dance sequence was filmed. I am sorry but seeing a Great Hound Dog dressed in glittery clothes and sporting an afro is enough to turn ones stomach. Moving on…

Lastly there are two interactive games and music videos: 'The Monster’s Unleashed Challenge' and 'The Mystery of the Missing Pants' are neither interesting nor even entertaining. The same can be said for the music videos. Though that all depends on your tastes. The first one is called ‘The Things You Do’, which was recorded by Big Brovas and the second is by Simple Plan which is entitled ‘Don’t Wanna Think About You’.

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Overall
Two problems arise when attempting to recommend this atrocity to at least one of the demographics: it is too crude for the very young (to the point of confusion) and it’s too wacky for the older kids to appreciate. A bit of a pickle you might say. That aside, there will be some who actually like what’s on offer here. Not many, granted, but there will be some. I am certainly not going to recommend it, and especially after two eight year olds emerged also having a very similar opinion as myself, my loathing could not be more pronounced or textured in this instance.

Technically, this disc will actually pull out all the stops. With an impressive combination of image and sound, the DVD shines. There are also some fun features on the disc for the kiddies but nothing too challenging or time-consuming, unfortunately. Overall it is very difficult for me to commend anything however. On one hand the film sucks big time, yet the video and image impressed me enough to encourage at least a viewing for those who appreciate quality discs. Ultimately, I would have to give it the thumbs down, which is unfortunate, all things considered.

Alas, there is reason in my madness that is this review. Through all the whining and moaning I have let loose, there is actually an underlying theme here; why should parents have to sit through this kind of perpetual trash? Kids films don't have to be dumb you know, see Pixar for further details...


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