Reviewed by: Misty Wagner
|Featuring:||Matthew Lillard, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Linda Cardellini, Freddie Prinze Jr., Alicia Silverstone|
|Producer:||Charles Roven, Richard Suckle|
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.”
“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.
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]