Reviewer's Rating 3 out of 5  
Scooby-Doo (2002)
PG

On Spooky Island, something decidedly spooky is happening. Visitors to the new amusement park opened by Mondavarious (Atkinson) are being turned into soulless automatons before being shipped back home. Is it the result of an evil voodoo curse, or does Mondavarious have a secret agenda? Time to call those kids at Mystery Inc.

But there's a problem - the gang has split up. Scooby (voiced by Neil Fanning) and Shaggy (Lillard) are hanging out in the Mystery Machine van frying egg-plant burgers, Daphne (Gellar) has become a martial arts expert, Velma (newcomer Cardellini) is now a scientist, and Fred (Prinze Jr) is a fully-fledged teen idol. Will they be able to rediscover the chemistry that made them the best ghost busters in the country?

Treating the original cartoon with a surprising degree of respect, director Raja Gosnell tries his best to make "Scooby-Doo" as faithful as possible. The costumes are exactly right, Lillard's Shaggy and Cardellini's Velma are uncannily accurate imitations, and there are plenty of ironic references to Shaggy's dubious smoking habits and, of course, Scooby snacks.

The only problem is the CGI. Mixing the computer-generated canine with live-action sequences, the film's effects just don't do the concept justice. That coupled with the overly complex plot and some very silly Spooky Island locations (complete with questionable voodoo "natives" and a bunch of guys who look like they've escaped from a Mexican wrestling movie) don't help make this as much fun as it could have been.

As in the cartoon, the best moments are those that involve Scooby and Shaggy - a fart and burp contest of epic proportions and a scene where the pair have to defend themselves against an attack of flying plastic sausages - are guaranteed to raise a smile. But you can't help thinking that they could have gotten away with it, if it wasn't for those pesky CGI effects.

End Credits

Director: Raja Gosnell

Writer: Craig Titley, James Gunn

Stars: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr, Matthew Lillard, Linda Cardellini, Rowan Atkinson

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Family

Length: 87 minutes

Cinema: 12 July 2002

Country: USA

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