Prayer Focus
Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!
Movie Review

Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed

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

Reviewed by: Misty Wagner
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
Add to your list?
View your list
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids
Genre:
Comedy, Kids Family and Animation
Year of Release:
2004
USA Release:
______
Copyright, Warner Bros.
Copyright, Warner Bros.
Copyright, Warner Bros.
Copyright, Warner Bros.
Copyright, Warner Bros.
Copyright, Warner Bros.
Copyright, Warner Bros.
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros.


Teach your children about the Creator of the universe. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, lessons, answers to childrens’ questions, coloring pages, and more! A popular Christian education and evangelism resource. One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, biblical, nondenominational.
Featuring: Matthew Lillard, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Linda Cardellini, Freddie Prinze Jr., Alicia Silverstone
Director: Raja Gosnell
Producer: Charles Roven, Richard Suckle
Distributor: Warner Bros.

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: Jinkies! In “Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed,” Scooby and the gang lose their cool—and their stellar reputation—when an anonymous masked villain wreaks mayhem on the city of Coolsville with a monster machine that re-creates classic Mystery Inc. foes like The Pterodactyl Ghost, The Black Knight Ghost, Captain Cutler’s Ghost and The 10,000 Volt Ghost.

Under pressure from relentless reporter Heather Jasper-Howe (Alicia Silverstone) and the terrified citizens of Coolsville, the gang launches an investigation into the mysterious monster outbreak that leaves Shaggy and Scooby questioning their roles in Mystery Inc.

The ever-ravenous duo, determined to prove they’re great detectives, don a series of far-out disguises in their search for clues. All signs point to Jeremiah “Old Man” Wickles (PETER BOYLE), the former Black Knight Ghost who was once unmasked by the gang and thrown in jail. Did the creepy wannabe launch the monstrous attack on Coolsville in a diabolical quest for revenge?

Meanwhile, brainy Velma (LINDA CARDELLINI) becomes smitten with another key suspect, Coolsonian Criminology Museum curator Patrick Wisely (SETH GREEN), as macho leader Fred (FREDDIE PRINZE JR.) and image-conscious Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar) attempt to determine the identity of the Evil Masked Figure whose monster army is wreaking havoc on Coolsville.”

Review

“Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed” was one of those “family” movies that I consider truly entertaining. It was quite a surprise! From the opening credits (which reminded me a lot of “Spider-Man”) until the ending credits (which are done in a musical/dance sequence with American Idol’s Ruben Studdard) my entire family was entertained.

There was a visible effort throughout the film to make it acceptable for most of the family. That effort was NOT something I remember seeing in the first film, and it is for that reason that I think this sequal surpasses it!

The movie begins when Mystery Inc. teams up with a new museum to display all of the old costumes from the mysteries they have solved. It’s a big, red carpet event, because in their hometown of “Coolsville” the gang of Mystery Inc. are quite the heros!

While at the premiere of their display, a masked, evil villain appears. He has somehow managed to steal one of the old costumes and creates a real monster out of it. The gang gets busy looking for clues and trying to solve the mystery, while, as usual Scooby and Shaggy find themselves getting into all sorts of chaos—though their intention was to help rather then hinder. Their efforts are endearing and the role of Shaggy (Matthew Lilliard) is once again brilliantly portrayed! To bring a cartoon to life as a person requires a significant effort, and he certainly pulls it off!

There is also a smaller, side storyline involving with Velma (Linda Cardellini). She begins to develop romantic feelings for the museum curator Patrick Wisely (Seth Green.) Velma feels out of place and vulnerable with feelings, because it is as a factual person that she finds her confidence.

OBJECTIONAL CONTENT:

Many parents may have a hard time not thinking of the first “Scooby-Doo” when considering whether to take their family to this sequel. Though I did not find anything hugely objectional in the first one, I did feel they pushed the envelope quite a bit in regards to comments, what seemed to be sexual tension, and there were many low-cut outfits worn by Daphne. I can honestly reassure you that this movie is spared much of that! As I mentioned earlier, I see a genuine effort to make this a family film. There are a couple of scenes with tight clothing or super short skirts, but it is something that is very off focus.

There was even an extra effort to take those horrible “oh my G**” statements and replace them with things like “oh my!” or “oh my goodness!”—which was very refreshing!

The movie may seem a little scary for young kids. My 5 year old really had to snuggle up to her Daddy or I a few times. You know your kids, so I would recommend simply that you take it into account.

My one real complaint are the drug references. They are subtle, but still present nonetheless. My husband and I discussed them after words. He did not pick up on them at all. I definitley noticed them though, and my concern is primarily for those tweens and teens who will watch this and struggle with these temptations and peer pressures of drug use. To those kids, these light-hearted things may stick out like a sore thumb and make casual drug use seem okay—even funny. The most major of these references occurs in the beginning, when the gang arrives on the red carpet for the premiere. Each member of Mystery Inc. has his/her own little cluster of fans waiting just for them; even Scooby has dogs waiting for him! They each seek out their little “following” and as Shaggy seeks out his, he all of a sudden seems to smell something that “lures” him over to a crowd of very obvious stoners. They are happy to see each other.

I am not trying to sound legalistic about this. It honestly did not affect my perspective of this movie; it is just my job as reviewer to lay it all out. I realize that it has been rumored for as long as I can remember, that the original cartoon series meant for Shaggy to “secretly” be a marijuana user. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do believe the movie was trying to play on that a bit and incorporate a laugh for those of us who grew up as fans of the series.

My bottom line is that, slight drug references aside, this is an acceptable and entertaining movie for families. It’s very funny in parts. The acting is “over dramatic” enough to make cartoon characters come to life. The entire premise of this story is that being okay with who you are makes you a hero. So many of us have so many flaws, and we become consumed, often obsessed, with changing these things. This movie can help younger audiences see that we all are special and all have special gifts! It is up to us to use them.

I recommend this movie, still encouraging parents to consider the Parental Guidance rating. Overall, the best part of this film was in being able to watch my little girl get so excited and into the story! I am sure other parents will enjoy the same experience.

[See our review of Scooby-Doo 1]

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—This movie in my opinion was very well produced, and a very good watch. The humor is undeniably much more in touch with the original cartoons. Very entertaining. I would agree though that the reference to Shaggy and pot is very evident in the beginning of the movie as was alluded to in the cartoons as well. But overall it was a great movie.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4½]
—Jeffrey Jamieson, age 19
Negative—…personally, I feel the first Scooby-Doo, was far superior, this movie should have been direct to video, it was boring, but at least the new trailer for the Garfield movie was shown before it. I’m glad I got in for free to see this movie, because I wouldn’t spend the money on it.
My Ratings: [Average/2]
—Jack Jensen

Comments from young people
Positive—Even though I’m 15, I got a big kick out of it. Yes, it isn’t even as good as the first but it is still very entertaining. But it is a little scary, I wasn’t scared but my 8 and 10 year old sisters were, so I would make sure that you kids are ready—but its not that scary.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/4]
—John Kehr, age 15
Positive—…This movie shows the friendship between Shaggie and Scooby. How they always are the goof ups, but how they were able to work together as a team. I didn’t think that the adult theme was appropriate for a family movie, but overall I enjoyed it.
My Ratings: [Average/4]
—Derek Lyles, age 15
Positive—…a good movie. My little brother, age 5, thought it was a little scary, but, overall, we enjoyed it. There are some slightly objectionable stuff (e.g., Velmas tight outfit, Scooby farts to ward off a monster), but overall, its good.
My Ratings: [Good/4½]
—Garrett, age 11
Movie Critics
…there’s little else that will surprise or disappoint families in this sequel, which is an improvement on the 2002 original…
—Bob Smithouser, Plugged In!
…silly fun…
—Margaret A. McGurk, Cincinnati Enquirer
…Youngsters will eat it up, but the TV series’ empty headedness seems in full force here: plenty of monsters without plenty of motive… If you enjoyed the first film, you’ll want to “Doo 2.”…
—Sun Newspapers of Cleveland
…lacking any significant positive content, the movie will leave many audiences unsatisfied…
—Eddie Turner, Movieguide
…To call this a movie a dog would also be an insult to canines, so let’s just say Scooby-Doo 2 is a Scooby-Don’t…
—Robert K. Elder, Chicago Tribune
…pretty stale fare… no worse or better than the first installment…
—John Monaghan, Detroit Free Press