Written by Musgo del Jefe
Musgo has enjoyed the Scooby-Doo franchise since its very beginnings. And when the original entries began to wane in the late '80s with some terrible TV films like Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf (1988) - I still held out hope. The premise is so simple and brilliant that I kept faith in a return to form. I was rewarded in the late Nineties with the return to grandeur of the franchise with the new direct-to-video series of films starting with Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998). The series of releases have kept up to one or two per year since and I've been anxious to step up and review each and every one of the past five up through this past Fall's Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare. But somehow in all of my Scooby mythology, I missed the live-action theatrical releases. Lucky for Musgo, the first two live-action films have been released as a Family Double Feature Blu-ray from Warner Bros. with Scooby-Doo (2002) on one disc and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004) on a second disc.
Whenever looking at a live-action version of an animated series (especially one so well entrenched in our pop psyche) it's important to look at the casting choices. The cast and crew essentially remained the same from one movie to the sequel.
Director: Raja Gosnell. Previous to these two films, his best known work was probably Big Momma's House (2000) and Home Alone 3 (1997). The reliance on broad slapstick humor in both of those films is a clue to what we were getting ourselves into with these films.
Writer: James Gunn. His association with Troma films and the writing on The Specials gave me a little more confidence in the project. The man has a good instinct for horror - witness his work on the Dawn Of The Dead remake - and that's just what a live-action Scooby-Doo film needs.
Shaggy Rogers: Matthew Lillard. Never a big fan of his - I was hoping to see more of what we saw of him in SLC Punk but as I feared, we got more of him as we saw in Scream. I think that trying to do the physical comedy of Shaggy and pull off the voice was too much in these films. He's very self-conscious in his movements. Maybe part of that is constantly acting with a computer generated dog. But he's grown into the voice portion of the character and sounds much more natural currently doing the voice for the animated films and the TV series.