Scooby Doo is different things to different people, embracing a large overall audience, and that is one of the reasons that the myriad versions of the cartoon have been so successful. A young audience can be amused by the surface level jokes and the ridiculous mystery, while an older one can laugh at the recycled plots and the potential hidden meanings in the dialogue.
The two big screen, live-action, adaptations of Scooby Doo – Scooby Doo (2002) and Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004) – definitely opt for the more self-aware, self-referential, potentially older crowd, version. There is certainly a lot for youngsters to like, and they still won't get many of the unquestionably intended double-meanings, but they are more obvious and purposeful here than they have ever seemed in the cartoon.
Both films feature the same actors portraying the main characters, with Freddie Prinze Jr. as Fred, Sarah Michelle Gellar as Velma, Linda Cardellini as Daphne, Matthew Lillard as Shaggy, and Neil Fanning voicing a CGI Scooby. Both films are also directed by Raja Gosnell and have all the mystery-loving, goofy hijinks we have come to expect from those meddling kids of Mystery, Inc. Essentially, for better or worse, both movies are everything that one would expect from a Scooby Doo film.
In the original, the gang breaks up to go their separate ways only to be brought together again by the rich owner of Spooky Island, an amusement park of sorts for college students, Mondavarious (Rowan Atkinson). Mondavarious is concerned that the rowdy college students who arrive on the island leave incredibly well-behaved, seemingly well-rested, and with preternatural strength. Certainly that is not what one would expect from college students at a spring break-like location. The gang ends up working together, solving the case, and everyone, except the evildoer, goes home happy.
Monsters Unleashed finds the gang back home in Coolsville, where a museum is opening an exhibit in their honor. On display are a multitude of costumes worn by the villains Mystery Inc. has unmasked. The entire event is a happy one until one of the monster suits comes to life. Coolsville soon turns on Mystery Inc., the other costumes come to life, and the gang has to figure out just what is going on and thereby save their reputation.