Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Scooby Doo

MPAA Rating: PG for some rude humor, language and some scary action.

Reviewed by: Douglas Downs

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
1 hr. 27 min.
Year of Release:
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Linda Cardellini, Matthew Lillard and Freddie Prinze Jr. in “Scooby Doo”

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr, Matthew Lillard, Linda Cardellini, Rowan Atkinson | Directed by: Raja Gosnell | Produced by: Charles Roven, Richard Suckle | Written by: James Gunn, Craig Titley, James Gunn, Andrew Gunn, John August | Distributor: Warner Brothers

The Mystery Machine

In 1969, the team of Freddy, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby Doo entered the homes of America. The original action/adventure cartoon was based on the premise that there is an explanation behind ghosts and goblins. In each episode our crew would climb aboard the Mystery Machine and try to solve a case. Most of the episodes were just a simple form of animated silliness. We overlooked the obvious stereotypes. Many of the Scooby fans enjoyed Shaggy and Scooby fighting over Scooby snacks the most.

Hollywood seems to enjoy trying to cash in on the success of popular hits from the past. We have seen live action versions of Casper, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Inspector Gadget and the Flintstones, to name a few. There has been a lot of disappointment in this process. The big-screen adaptation of Scooby Doo is no exception.

I am amazed that Warner Brothers was willing to fork over $90 million to try and make this happen. This cheesy adaptation is by far the worst that I have seen. It truly is a dog (pun intended).

Freddie Prinze Jr. and Matthew Lillard in “Scooby Doo”Our story begins with Freddy (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) taking credit for solving the mystery of the Luna Ghost, even though we all know that Velma (Linda Cardellini) is the brains behind this gumshoe crew. Poor Velma announces that she is going to quite the team. Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is tired of the teasing and always being the damsel in distress. She too quits. This leaves Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) and Scooby-Doo together. Our company of friends departs and do not see each other for another two years.

When a mild eccentric (Rowan Atkinson) contacts Shaggy to help him solve the mystery of Spooky Island, Shaggy sends invitations to his former team in hopes of pulling them together yet again. What needs solving is the problem of Spooky Island visitors who appear to be brainwashed upon their exiting of the island.

This lame plot, written by James Gunn, is an obvious combination of “Final Fantasy,” “Men in Black” and “Atlantis.” Matthew Lillard’s brilliant imitation of Shaggy is commendable. But the decision to rate “Scooby Doo” at “PG” is a major oversight—“PG-13” is a much more appropriate tag.

Most of the film runs like an obnoxious music marathon. The gratuitous use of pop and product placement is way over the top. I was also uncomfortable with the idea of people trading souls and contemplating lustful advances. This flic also was extremely distasteful as it exposed women in revealing clothing. One scene, perhaps thrown in for the “older” crowd, plays off of an obvious drug association (Shaggy exclaims that he loves the name “Mary-Jane” just as we see billows of smoke coming out of the Mystery Machine.) And while some children may enjoy the gross humor, much of the content is totally inappropriate.

Seeing that “Scooby Doo” seems to be more focused on the occult instead of debunking ghostly tricks, my strong recommendation is to skip this. Just say “Scooby Don’t.”

Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive—Although the “Scooby Doo” plot was ultimately disappointing, I’m surprised at the overly-critical reviews it has been getting on this site. I enjoyed the character adaptations as well as the humor and the impressiveness of the digital Scooby character. I was most impressed with being able to see a rare film with minimal profanity and no sexual innuendos. I would recommend it for people of all ages.
My Ratings: [3]
—Kris Avalon, age 19
Negative—This movie should have been rated PG-13 for the way the girls were dressed, the monsters and disembodied spirits flying around. It scared me, not to mention my 10 year old! We did not like the voodoo rituals, sacrifice idea, or the Satanic-like possessions of the people with monsters. I should have read the reviews before we went. We regret seeing this movie!
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 1]
Negative—This film was a very poor adaptation of the cartoon series we grew up with. With a great deal of bathroom humor, and sex related jokes it should not have been rated PG-13. The story line is not what one would have expected by the original writers with the team fitting among themselves and Scrappy-Doo made to be the villain of the movie. Opening with the team solving another mystery, by catching the phantom in a trap which went awry, one is quickly puzzled by the presence of Pamela Lee Anderson. Fred is made to look like he is very self centered, Daphnie to be a total air head, Velma looking for recognition, while Shaggy and Scoobie are close to the characters we expect. Arriving at Spooky Island by invitation from the mysterious owner the group is forced to work as a team to attempt to find out what is causing the leaving vacationers to become evil zombies.

With the normal chases by monsters and the screwy plan of catching the phantom working as it always does the villain is exposed. The film is filled with a lot of one line jokes and barbs. Some very subtle and others very blatant about sex and various body functions. If you are trying to teach your children about the right way to speak to others and respect this is not the good example. Short hemlines, and low cut tops are also not useful in teaching children the proper way to attire themselves. The only part that one could use to guide children properly is when the team comes back together to fight the bad guy with each realizing he cannot do it on his own and everyone can share in the glory. Other than the special effects of computer generated characters this film is very poor. It should only be watched by an audience that knows right from wrong and even then they would be very bored with it.

At best this film rates a “D-”—but is really a failure. Do not even waste your time if you get free tickets.
My Ratings: [Average / 1½]
—Kenneth Soule, age 39
Negative—“The Flintstones”… “Rocky and Bullwinkle”… Hollywood just doesn’t get it do they? What happens when you throw a large budget at a live action version of a cartoon? You get something that resembles a Thanksgiving dinner! This film was terrible. In fact, I can’t remember the last time a film stank so bad. It was awful. Filled to the brim with vulgar jokes and the occult not even Rowan Atkinson could save this childish piece of trash. To say that this film is a family film is to say that we should all let our kids sit through the first 30 minutes of Saving Private Ryan. There are so many references to the occult that Buffy would have a hard time keeping up. All in all 90 million dollars were thrown at this, a complete waste of money. Here’s a thought… the next time a studio wants to throw away money, throw some this way please!
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 1½]
—Chris St. John, age 30
Negative—I took my three children, ages 4, 9, and 11 to see the movie. They are all big fans of the cartoon show, so we went to see the movie on Father’s Day (after reading some positive reviews). This movie was repulsive to me as a family/child movie, and more suited to a scummy teen movie. If you think seeing Shaggy and Scooby having a belching and farting contest is funny, and seeing Scooby get covered in dog snot by a demonic super dog… The “bad guys” were extremely evil and demonic, there was demonic possession heavily emphasized—loudly and graphically—and the entire movie was extremely offensive. It reminded me of the darkness of the Indiana Jones adventure, “The Temple of Doom,” and sometimes it was worse. It was simply the worst “family” movie I have ever seen. Extremely offensive! I wanted to walk out, and wished that I had.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 1]
—Victor Alexander, age 47
Negative—I went to the movie concerned about the marijuana references I had read might be there-I didn’t pick up any. What is of real concern is the heavy emphasis on voodoo, dark and sadistic and totally unnecessary. There is so many other story lines the makers of this movie could have used and been successful without voodoo. And they made Scrappy Doo-the puppy-into a monster, which all the kids I was with were bothered by.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 2½]
—K. C. Skidmore, age 41
Negative—We were extremely disappointed in this movie. Scooby has always been a favorite in our home, he’s goofy, the “ghosts” are always shown to be real people and IMO its pretty harmless. That said, this movie departs from that formula to show multitudes of scantily clad college students being possessed by some sort of alien, doing ritualistic chants/dances, a voodoo man trying to cast spells and has adult level humor. Fred is vain, Daphne an air head, Velma is having a pity party, Shaggy and Scooby are OK. About the best part of the movie is after the movie is over and Shaggy and Scooby are shown having an eating contest. I never would have guessed that Scooby could be ruined, but it has happened. Don’t waste your money.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 2]
—Michelle Kruger, age 34
Negative—I took my fifteen year old son and eleven year old daughter to see the movie. We heard children laughing the first ten or fifteen minutes when it was classic Scooby Doo. As the story progressed, it was obvious that the target audience, adult males, was not present. There was an abundance of skin, not fun-loving mystery. There was evil spirit possession, soul stealing, scary monsters that were REAL—and even Velma was reduced to cleavage. BOMB!
My Ratings: [Average / 3]
—C. T., age 38
Negative—We were very disappointed and wish we would have seen a Christian review before “subjecting” our children to this film. We figured it would have some “ghosts” (possibly in a comic way) in it, but were totally astounded at the intensity of the satanism and occultic display. Everything from voodooism, Buddhism, satanic rituals and demon possession was shown, along with an attempt to make a “sacrifice”. (at least it was Scooby and not a human) We strongly advise any Christian to stay away from this movie. We are sorry we didn’t.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 3]
—Lori Pilcher, age 43
Negative—The beginning of the movie is typical of a Scooby Doo film, a man in a ghost costume. Once the gang reaches Scary Island, the film goes from okay to bad. All the VooDoo and chanting made my husband and myself very uncomfortable. It had more witchcraft than Harry Potter. I would not recommend this movie to small children, the creatures in the movie are very frightful. My 13 year old liked the movie, but up until this movie we had never talked about VooDoo. My 9 year old thought Scooby and Shaggy were funny. After the movie our family had a lot to talk about.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 3]
—Teresa Heap, age 37
Negative—This movie is A.) a waste of good money and B.) a waste of a perfectly good 2 hours. I had just seen this movie and needless to say, I walked out during the last 20 minutes. This movie is hardly PG material (more like PG-13). The film also contains really dark, occultic elements (although it is portrayed as really bad), and stuff that might be too scary for kids. The worst part of this movie was the premise, which I’m not giving away. The premise for this movie was stupid and it does a great disservice to the cartoon we all know and love. Frankly, I pick the cartoon over the movie any day. If I could, I’d call Mike Nelson, Crow T. Robot, and Tom Servo from “Mystery Science Theater 3000” to rip this film into shreds and believe me, there were times where I wanted to start making fun of this film. Rowan Atkinson’s talent was wasted (I liked him better in the BBC show, “Blackadder”). For a PG movie, this film is loaded with sexual references, references to bodily functions…
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 3]
—Shannon, age 20
Negative—Although I like the old cartoon version of Scooby Doo, this live action is too trendy for my taste. Not that but there is a lot of necromancy and demon possession which is nothing more than a doorway for Satan to plague peoples minds. I must warn you, don’t be fool be it subtle, cartoonish appearance, this movie is a tool for the devil.
My Ratings: [Average / 1½]
—Sly, age 18
Negative—I took my five children to see our beloved canine. We were very disturbed by what we saw unfolding on the big screen. Only 20 minutes into the movie we are faced with scores of demon looking characters chanting and bowing to some kind of projected image. As a christian my spirit certainly didn’t bear witness with this kind of blatant evil. I would recommend to any christian parent that if scenes like this and more offend you, then don’t waste your time or money. Hollywood is alive and well, and satan still has his agenda in it.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 1]
—Carla, age 30
Negative—“Scooby Doo” disgraces the original cartoon by so many standards. First of all, the characters are shown getting involved in occultic junk and consulting with someone who does so. They never did this in the cartoon. I didn’t hear any language, Velma does get drunk once or twice, and the bodily humor was somewhat tame, though still too much. When I heard that Velma was made into a lesbian in this movie (though it was thankfully cut), I was horrified and it totally ruined the affable bookworm girl from the classic cartoon. Fred, Daphne, and Shaggy were also destroyed. Fred was never a lustful guy in the cartoon, Daphne was far less selfish, and Shaggy was never a smoker (though there was a theory about that, but it was thankfully debunked by the creators and the original voice actor).

While I can see why Velma would get annoyed about never getting her credit for working hard in the beginning, it is not worth ditching your friends over; talking it over and politely objecting with the intention of working everything out is another thing. Even worse is when it turns out Scrappy was the main villain. This movie is an utter joke, Biblically unwholesome, and a shark jumper.

The only laugh I can get out of it is when Scooby says “Scooby-Doo? Don’t you mean Melvin Doo?” and some random guy is shown. Yeah, that’s the only thing anyone can get from this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Peter, age 22 (USA)
Comments from young people
Negative—I went to see Scooby-doo the day after it opened, I was babysitting five kids (ages 14, 12, 12, 10, and 8) with my friend and we thought this would be a fun film to take all of them too. I was wrong… Having watched scooby-doo reruns as a little girl and now my brother watches them, well, I figured it would be Similar plots… I was wrong. I had no idea there were “real” monsters. Not only were they real, but they possess bodies, took spirits in and out of bodies, and there was a cult and voodoo theme throughout the movie with crude humor to tie it all in. I felt uncomfortable, as a Christian, throughout the whole movie… In fact, I would have walked out if I hadn’t had the kids with me. I don’t recommend seeing the movie.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 1½]
—Melany, age 17
Positive—I am a 17 year old Christian, and I enjoyed Scooby Doo very much. It was a fun roller coaster ride, that really kept with the original show. True there were some things changed. Fred was never so egotistical, but he was funny. Daphne was never kicking butt, but even that was pretty silly. Velma, Shaggy and Scooby were all right on target. The plot was not meant to be taken seriously, they made fun of everything including the occult. There was also a moral to the story “Friends don’t quit.” I’m going to see it again, but keep in mind I really liked the TV show.
My Ratings: [Average / 4]
—Mike, age 17
Negative—I saw this movie last week. I have always loved the cartoon so when I saw the movie I was very disappointed. There was a lot of occultic ideas and a few sexual references (a guy wanting to see a girl naked). The movie was NOTHING like the cartoon. I almost walked out but I thought it would get better… it didn’t. I do not recommend it.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 3]
—Susan, age 14
Neutral—Scooby Doo was a good movie, I feel I got my moneys worth! There were a few things that shouldn’t have been included but overall it was a good movie! As I watched Scooby Doo, I noticed there was a lot of Voodoo, but then a few days after I saw the movie, I watched the cartoon and realized that Scooby Doo, does have a lot of voodoo in it! People that didn’t care for Scooby Doo because of the voodoo should have expected it! I mean, Scooby is all about monsters and ghosts and voodoo! I believe that it is the viewers fault if they didn’t like it for that reason! The body issues such as farting and burping was something that was also inappropriate for the movie. In a children’s movie, I don’t think that is the way we want the adults of tomorrow acting. The only other thing I didn’t really like was the way that they showed Pamela Anderson in the beginning! I mean, come on, Pam is known for her covers on PlayBoy and then they put her in a PG movie, that is stupid!! Well, I guess a lot of children don’t know [about that]…
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Diane, age 13
Positive—I am a Christian teenager who went to see this movie with my little brother (he’s 11). We both enjoyed this movie a lot. More conservative Christians may find references to a cult to be offensive, but the cult is shown as being bad, and it’s destroyed in the end. There was a little bodily-function humor (snot, farts, etc.), but nothing worse than most 5 year olds hear and talk about anyway. I would recommend this movie to anyone aged 6-15. Older teens might find it a bit boring, adults will think its cute but too silly, and kids under 6 may be scared by the appearance of monsters. So if you’re between 6 and 15, or you’re a Scooby fan, see this!!!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3½]
—Emily, age 14
Negative—Many families would be lead to believe, as I was, that this movie was acceptable for family viewing. Although the movie is well done, it contains many satanic and worldly views. The movie contains horrible monsters (demons) that inhabit the bodies of the people on the island. In many scenes, there are references to rituals, chants, or spells. The only characters that provide some relief from this darkness, are the free-spirited Shaggy and Scooby.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 3½]
—anonymous, age 16
Neutral—I am a very strong and dedicated Christian. I saw Scooby Doo the day it came out. The critics are making a mountain out of a molehill. Half of the material they are complaining about will just go through one ear and out the other. The movie was funny here and there, but some parts could have been changed. There is some bare skin, but it barely shows anything. It’s nothing to worry about. Overall, it was your average 7 and up movie.
My Ratings: [Average / 3]
—Maddie, age 14
Negative—Scooby Dooby Doo is a very, evil movie. This movie has several scenes where spirits are drug out of bodies and put back in them. Also there is a possible reference to people being in a cult. This movie contains one of the crudest scenes I have ever scene in which Scooby and Shaggy have a burping contest and also do something else but I will not say. Children under 10 should not see this movie, it could plant very bad thoughts in them. The demon like creatures, the Oigi board looking pyramid, and the very crude humor are enough to say, Don’t see this awful excuse for a movie. This movie should be PG-13.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 1]
—MItch, age 14
Positive—I thought it was great, critics are too hard on kids’ movies. I went to see it expected only to be entertained by the adorable face of Freddie Prinze Jr, but it was a really cute movie. some little girls might want to copy Sara Michelle Gellars’s attitude, but other than that its a good movie for kids. Scooby is cute, Freddie is cute, Shaggy’s even cute. It’s a good movie.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4½]
—Hope, age 14
Positive—Scooby-Doo was Great!!! I saw it with two of my friends, and we all loved it! It is a funny/some what scary movie, and Daphene is Awesome. I would say only 6 and up should see it though, it does have some scary action. But overall, it is really good.
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Vicki, age 13
Movie Critics
…Those who were brought up on the cartoons may be willing to put up with the result, if only for the sake of nostalgia; and there are a few stray lines and incidents that are worth a chuckle strewn about the picture. But unless you’re a fanatic, the best advice is: “Scooby” don’t…
—Frank Swietek, One Guy’s Opinion
…Unlike the cartoon, which usually showed the monsters and ghosts as human tricks, the dark, sinister Spooky Island creates an image of supernatural forces much too frightening for young children. Characters are possessed by demons, and protoplasmic images of disembodied heads emerge from a whirlpool…
—Preview Family Movie and TV Review
…A young woman screams: “I have a wedgie,” a young man says, “even dorky girls turn me on,” and a young man talks to a dog about “cleaning his beans.” When a young man’s “protoplasm” enters a young woman’s body he says, “I can look at myself naked” and we see her stroking her clothed breasts…
…Various forms of imitative behavior are present (including a burping and farting contest between Shaggy and Scooby-Doo)…some people have drinks and one of the gang seems a bit tipsy, while a misdirection-based drug joke (where no drugs are actually used) is also present…