Films are designed with a lot of things in mind. Budget (no point attempting to make Die Hard on a Clerks budget), the directors vision, the writers vision, even the actors vision (Johnny Depp’s performance in Pirates Of The Caribbean completely changed the franchise), but also you have the audience. You need to know who the film is aimed at. There’s not point doing a Die Hard sequel that is a romantic comedy, it will annoy the audience. This is why Birds Of Prey was a weird film, as it seemed to be aimed at young teenage girls, but then the rating made it so they couldn’t see it. I bring that up for this film for two reasons:
- To pad out the review.
- Because I’m not sure who it was aimed at.
The humour was very childish, but it was full of references to obscure Hanna-Barbera cartoons, one of the main characters is Blue Falcon, who’s television show ended in 1977. People might know Captain Caveman, but only through Family Guy and Simpsons references to the character. It’s just a bit of a weird choice as the intended audience won’t understand the references, and the people who would understand it won’t like the film.
This film seems to not like Scooby Doo that much, seemingly spending a lot of time mocking the characters. There’s a time and a place for slightly cynical and wry reboots, but that time and place will never, and should never be, scooby doo. He is brightness and light in a dark world. A symbol of skepticism and grounded reality-based courage in the face of fear. It’s about facing your demons head on, and realising that 90% of the time, the villain is not some mystical demon from an unspoken world, but a rich old white guy who just wants more money. It’s a childish franchise, with all the joy and wholesomeness that that entails. And trying to turn that into some cynical semi-gritty film just to suit modern audiences destroys the entire point of the character. It would be like doing an Assassin’s Creed game set not in the lush landscapes of medieval Italy, but instead in 1980’s Britain, where you just spend your time sitting around waiting for a bus.
It has some comedic moments, but they’re just enough to make up for how pedestrian a lot of the film is. The animation is….well kind of plastic. It reminds me of video games in the late 90’s. After the success of Mario 64, platform games felt the need to force themselves into 3D designs, even if it didn’t suit the characters. It was done because “progress” and the old 2D games felt outdated. But since the games were so ill-suited to a 3d environment/design, the push to feel modern only made them look more dated, like they were unsuitable for modern audiences (whereas if they stayed 2D, it wouldn’t have been noticeable). The animation for this is similar, the modern animation style doesn’t suit these characters. In 20 years time when people draw the Shaggy, Velma etc. They won’t be doing it based on these designs, they’ll be doing it based on the classic style, because that will definitely outlast this.
This year needed joy, it needed something wholesome. It needed Scooby Doo, and this? This isn’t Scooby. Also, no Matthew Lillard, which is unforgivable at this point as he pretty much IS Shaggy.