ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  raja gosnell

RATED  -  pg

GENRE  -  children

LENGTH  -  86 minutes

RELEASED  -  14 june 2002

DISTRIBUTOR  -  warner bros.

OFFICIAL SITE  -  scooby-doo

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $52,000,000
scooby-doo - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from scooby-doo at

buy the dvd from scooby-doo at

a live-action adaptation of the classic cartoon series.

to create shaggy's scratchy voice, matthew lillard screamed until his voice was hoarse before filming. he ended up with laryngitis.


picture from scooby-doo

picture from scooby-doo

picture from scooby-doo


one out of four possible stars

Casting actors who greatly resemble the famous cartoon faces of the Scooby-Doo cartoon seems to have been the paramount concern in putting together this film. Things like plot and special effects were undoubtedly placed on the back burner for the duration of the film shoot. Not a lot of thought was placed into the execution of this film and it shows on several fronts. The acting notwithstanding (it's not all bad), this film still lacks energy and intelligence in its cinematography and its script. The filmmakers tried so hard to emulate the original series in the look and voice of their characters that everything else about the film falls by the wayside.

The film has a PG rating, meaning that it is very much directed towards a young audience, but the creators of this film missed a chance for cross-generational appeal in their "dumbing down" of the series. Now, the original series was not brilliant, but as a half-hour cartoon, its format fit the Saturday morning cartoon regimen very well. But stretched out into an hour and a half, this film comes up with a few flat spots. Whether this is because the elements of the series are not well-suited to a long-format story, or because the actors up on the screen can't handle the length is a question for serious debate.

The filmmakers tried to make a carbon copy of the original series. And the translation from animation to live action wasn't very smooth. It just didn't "feel" like an episode of Scooby-Doo. Everything, from the sets to the special effects to the script, looks to have been thrown together as quickly as possible to take advantage of the popularity of a group of teen stars. None of whom are in their teens. And one of whom is in his thirties. But, for all the lackadaisical attitude in assembling the different parts of this film, the performances were the most entertaining element.

Matthew Lillard is probably the person in the bunch most like his cartoon personality, Shaggy. And though most of that credit should go to his dead-on voice impersonation, he still embodied his character well and seemed to be part of a team with the animated Scooby-Doo, even though during filming, the Great Dane wasn't even on the set. Knowing that all the characters, save Scooby-Doo, had to act to thin air makes criticizing their performances harder, since some talent had to come into play during production. And though it is hard to bestow any favors on the usually talent-less Freddie Prinze Jr., his character was so out of touch with reality that his performance was more entertaining than his usual.

He's had so many disastrous films in the past few years, that he should be glad that the kiddies will probably enjoy his Ascot-wearing version of Fred Jones. And his significant other in real life, Sarah Michelle Gellar, the magically disappearing woman (at last count, her weight was reported as ninety-three pounds), also brings her character, Daphne, to the screen with enough gags to entertain the young viewers in the audience. And Linda Cardellini gives a decent performance as Velma, though her character has few scenes dressed in an outfit that would be considered anything but usual Velma fare.

And although Scooby-Doo was never really on the set, Scott Innes's voicing of the beloved dog brought the character to life. It was much more his voice though that made Scooby-Doo sometimes seem like a real dog. One has to suspend one's disbelief very early on in this film, and since Scoob never seemed to be really in any of the shots, having a talented voice behind the character was fortunate. Scooby wasn't drawn badly, per-se, he just didn't look like he belonged in the picture. As did many of the elements in this film.

Things like the large amount of extras in the film (didn't Scooby always revolve around some haunted deserted mansion?) didn't add anything to the film other than eye-candy. Interest in the cinematography is negligible, and the soundtrack is filled with nameless pop-tunes that run over one another soon after the opening credits. All in all, Scooby-Doo has a good sense of humor, and will be enjoyed by the very young members of the audience, but older fans looking for the true spirit of Scooby-Doo will just have to look on another haunted island.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content 2000 - - ninth symphony films - photographs warner bros. 2002
home | archive | ratings | links | photographs | about | contact