ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  raja gosnell

RATED  -  pg

GENRE  -  disaster

LENGTH  -  88 minutes

RELEASED  -  26 march 2004

DISTRIBUTOR  -  warner bros.

OFFICIAL SITE  -  scooby-doo 2

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $84,000,000
sky captain - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from scooby-doo 2: monsters unleashed at

buy the dvd from scooby-doo 2: monsters unleashed at

the gang investigates the dastardly plans of a masked villain who is planning to take control of the world.

filmed in vancouver, british columbia, canada.


picture from scooby-doo 2: monsters unleashed

picture from scooby-doo 2: monsters unleashed

picture from scooby-doo 2: monsters unleashed

picture from scooby-doo 2: monsters unleashed


zero out of four possible stars

Garish, ugly, and overblown, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed is an assault on the senses and is a franchise that begs to be put to sleep. Possessing the most despicable excuse for dialogue of any film released this year, the filmmakers seemed entirely unaware of the need for decent speech. Relying on art direction that has seemingly come from the mind of an insane asylum escapee, it's impossible to just sit back and enjoy the goofiness. Partly because that "goofiness" just doesn't come through with real and genuine comedy from the actors.

Excepting the usually entertaining appearance by Matthew Lillard as the long-haired stoner, "Shaggy," the performances seem flat and without real direction. A theme handled throughout the film with multiple characters is one of not wearing a "mask" to change who you really are. And while this "lesson" might be a valuable idea for five-year-olds to learn, it's far too "on the nose" to make it sound like anything more effective than an educational after school special. Anyone over five years of age will find this "lesson" pushed in their face far too often.

Was there a reason that the filmmakers decided to skew this film's intelligence quotient toward such a young audience? This film could have appealed to a large percentage of potential viewers given the adoration many people in their twenties, thirties, and forties have for the show. The Scooby-Doo phenomenon is thirty-five years old and the various cartoon series incarnations have gained millions of fans over the years. But the Scooby-Doo of today is a franchise more interested in releasing a film that would appeal to only the youngest audience members, with nearly every scene peppered with fart jokes or other inane humor.

One of the fundamental problems with this film is the way it tries to portray its characters as fun-loving late 1960's flower children yet makes the mistake of trying to "update" the character's sensibilities to a present-day audience. The clothing might be reminiscent of the goofy costumes worn by the original cartoon characters, but with all the strictly modern supporting characters and sets, it's impossible to just appreciate the long-beloved characters. No mention is ever made as to why the characters seems stuck in the 1970's while the rest of the world resides in the twenty-first century.

But beyond the problems with the story and characters (the story is too simple, the characters are too), the film is just plain ugly. Although some of the film takes place in an abandoned mine (a suitable creepy location for a monster hang-out), the set design and decoration, the costumes, and the lighting are dark, depressing, and dirty half of the time and insanely colored and garish during the other half. The computer generated and costumed "monsters" throughout the film are craftily done, but their effectiveness is lessened by the distractions of lame dialogue and the aforementioned sets.

Regardless of the cute-factor concerning the computer generated Scooby-Doo character (voiced by Neil Fanning), and the likeability of Matthew Lillard's "Shaggy," there are no other redeemable aspects of this film, beyond some of the various computer-generated monsters. If audience members' retinas remain intact even after the blinding display of set design, they will long be bored by insipid dialogue, weak characterizations from the. Some of the most engaging and enjoyable action in the film is had by the computer generated puddle of black tar.

And while that might be a vote in the favor of the computer graphics artists involved in the film (the bobble-headed skeletons are quite lively and scary - props to the creators of those characters), the human content is usually lacking. The casting choices seem based on physical looks rather than the actors' appropriateness for their roles. Save Lillard's performance, the rest of the cast seems to be a miss-cue. Freddie Prinze Jr. cements his lack of acting ability in his role as the leader of the troupe, "Fred," but his blond hair is more interesting than what he has to say (what casting director thought he would look natural as a blond?).

Linda Cardellini, as the brain-powered "Velma" has her vocal cords appropriately squeezed to approximate the character's famous nerdy voice, but her character is all show and no heart, despite a welcome performance by Seth Green as her love interest, museum curator, "Patrick." Sarah Michelle Gellar wears her fashionista clothing well in the role of "Daphne," but like Cardellini, her dialogue is flat and she looks the part much more than she acts it. Overall, the casting is disappointing, the cinematography and set-design is dizzying, and the dialogue resembles the lines written for an episode of "Barnie & Friends."

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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