Written by Musgo Del Jefe
The latest direct-to-video Scooby-Doo movie, Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo marks the fourth film in a row of the series that Musgo has had a chance to review. This movie is the fourteenth in the series that started off so strongly with the 1998 Scooby-Doo On Zombie Island. Previously, Musgo was highly entertained with the storytelling and self-deprecating humor of the 2007 release of Chill Out, Scooby-Doo. In 2008, Scooby-Doo and the Goblin King failed to live up to the horror film themes promised in the trailer. The magic based story wasn't a mystery, and even worse, it wasn't funny. The Spring 2009 release of Scooby-Doo and the Samurai Sword looked on the surface like a real upgrade to the quality of the animation and overall production. Hopes were dashed with a razor-thin plot and a "mystery" that relied more on chase scenes than actual clues being solved. Musgo left that film knowing that the franchise would survive but imploring a return to more classic mystery stories.
Since the last release, Scooby-Doo has only made one new appearance. In September 2009, the new live-action film, Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins aired on Cartoon Network and had a decent reception. Enough so that the cast is being reunited for another film in the near future. The new animated series, Scooby-Doo - Mystery, Inc. was to air in 2009 but will now start some time in 2010. The series will feature the voice actors from the films and return to the half-hour storytelling of the original series.
The first scene of Abracadabra-Doo sets the tone that this is another departure from the last film. Whereas, we've started the previous films establishing geographic setting, this one tries to establish tone. And that tone is classic horror. In a scene that could be pulled out of a horror film of the '50s (or Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video), two teenagers are alone in a forest where they encounter a huge scary monster.
The title sequence is a return to the crazy, very busy credits of films previous to the last one. The animation style is very different for this series. There's a feel here that Warner Bros. is announcing that this is their property now and they needed to distance themselves from the Hanna-Barbera style. There are computer-generated and colored backgrounds and the characters appear much younger. The song over the titles has a very generic '60s Flower Power sound that fits the wacky color scheme. It was most shocking here to see all the bright pastels. Luckily, that color scheme was mostly lost once the real film began.