Scooby Doo 2 - Monsters Unleashed can be thought
of as a greatest hits retrospective from the cartoon. Everyone's
favorite ghoul bad guys from back in the day return to make life
very difficult for the gang in Mystery Inc. This will probably be
the first in an avalanche of sequels, but the film is actually entertaining
and an improvement on the original. It's a children's movie from
start to finish, but succeeds in dropping some very adult themes
over the heads of younger viewers.
The gang from Mystery Inc., Fred (Freddie Prinze Jr.), Daphne
(Sarah Michelle Gellar), Velma (Linda Cardellini), Shaggy (Matthew
Lillard), and Scooby (voiced by Neil Fanning) are invited to an
opening gala at the Coolsonian Museum. This is, of course, in Coolsville.
It's a costume exhibit of the famous bad guys they've caught during
their career as investigators. The top baddies are all there on
display, the Pterodactyl Ghost, Captain Cutler's Ghost, the 10,000-Volt
Ghost, and the Black Knight to name a few. Just when the gang is
showing off their famous captures to the press, the Pterodactyl
Ghost comes to life and destroys the museum. Then it steals the
costumes from the exhibit and flies off into the night. Afterwards,
a sinister masked figure appears on the museum's roof vowing to
destroy the gang and bring devastation to the citizens of Coolsville.
The gang swings into action to discover who's behind the fiendish
There are two primary story arcs in Scooby Doo 2. The first involves
Shaggy and Scooby trying to prove that they belong in the gang.
They come to the conclusion that they're total screw-ups, which
is true, and must solve this mystery on their own. Velma has fallen
in love with the museum's curator, Patrick (Seth Green), but is
unsure if he'll like her for the dorky little fox that she is. The
emotional parts of Scooby Doo 2 are a complete and utter waste of
time. It's just out of place and dampens the spirit of the movie's
fun parts. There were a bunch of children sitting in front of me
during the screening. They laughed when it was funny, laughed harder
when it was silly, and groaned loudly during the "let me tell you
how I feel" scenes. The kids got this one right. The filmmakers
should have cut out the gooey emotional stuff. It's out of place
in the film and unheard of in the cartoon.
Linda Cardellini and Matthew Lillard steal the show as Velma and
Shaggy. They've absolutely nailed the characters from the cartoon.
It's uncanny how good they are. Lillard was great from the first
film, but Linda Cardellini shines as Velma. She's the most interesting
character and fleshes her out beautifully on screen, right down
to how she says "jinkies!" The same cannot be said for the other
principals. Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr. are vapid
in their characters. Fred and Daphne didn't really have a lot of
personality in the cartoon, but something should have been done
to make them more interesting.
Neil Fanning is the voice of Scooby. He deserves some credit because
Scooby is much better the second time around. The CGI looks good,
as it did in the first film, but that's expected. What was surprising
was how much Scooby was given to do in this film. The filmmakers
use his character more effectively and it pays off. Scooby has a
dance scene that's so infectious, you have to like it. A CGI dog
is wearing an afro-wig and polyester jump suit, breaking it down
old school on the dance floor. You have to laugh at that, no matter
how cynical you are about the film.
Scooby Doo 2 is worth watching. It's good family entertainment
that adults and children will like. It has its flaws, but turns
out to be much better than expected. That's an achievement considering
how terrible this film could have been. Look out for those adult-themed
comments, especially from Shaggy. They're pretty funny.