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‘Scoob!’ Review: Once More Into the Mystery Machine


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At the beginning of “Scoob!,” the latest Scooby-Doo reboot, directed by Tony Cervone, Velma (voiced by Gina Rodriguez) announces that it’s time for the gang “to take on bigger cases, scarier villains and creepier mysteries.” It sounds less like an opportunity than a threat.

Anyone who complained that the show’s durable let’s-find-out-who-you-really-are mystery formula showed signs of repetition now gets what passes in corporate boardrooms for an original take: a frantic overhaul teeming with robots that sound like R2-D2, as well as other pop-culture shout-outs maladroitly designed to bring Scooby up-to-date. (Does a Simon Cowell cameo count?) Warner Bros. even plugs a forthcoming sequel: For Halloween, Daphne wears a Wonder Woman costume.

The movie almost immediately turns into a Hanna-Barbera crossover event, the unvarnished groundwork for potential spinoffs. That means, for no particular reason, Shaggy (Will Forte) and an especially talkative Scoob (Frank Welker) wind up collaborating with characters drawn from other shows, like Dynomutt (Ken Jeong), Dee Dee Skyes (Kiersey Clemons) and the Blue Falcon — or rather, his son (Mark Wahlberg) — to take on the villain Dick Dastardly (Jason Isaacs). It causes cognitive whiplash when Dastardly describes the heroes, creations from the 1960s and ’70s, as “mewling millennials.”

George Jetson is not involved (yet), but Cerberus, of mythological fame, is — and he would have gotten away with guarding the underworld, too, if it weren’t for these meddling kids. (Just kidding: No one tries to unmask a three-headed dog.) The overall vibe is scarily close to what happened when “The Itchy & Scratchy Show” on “The Simpsons” added Poochie, except this time the pandering is not a joke.


Rated PG. Scooby steals gyro meat. Running time: 1 hour 34 minutes. Rent or buy on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes and other streaming platforms and pay-TV operators.

www.nytimes.com 2020-05-15 07:01:05

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