I went to see the first Scooby Doo movie 2 years ago, because I was bored, and when I got out of the theater I was somehow bored even more. I went to see Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed by accident. I looked at the wrong time for Jersey Girl, and my friend and I decided to see something else. Scooby Doo 2 was the only viable option. It was that, or Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, so I chose the lesser of two evils and off to Scooby Doo 2 we went. Sure, it's pretty corny at times and the acting won't win any awards, but this is a pretty damn entertaining movie.
The movie starts out in Coolville. Yeah, I know that is a really dumb name for a town,but lets move on. So yeah, we're in Coolville, at this gala event celebrating Mystery Inc, where all the costumes of the "monsters" they've unmasked over the years are unveiled. But, alas, a bad guy shows up and all heck breaks loose. The bad guy steals one of the costumes and Fred (Prinze), Daphne (Gellar), Thelma (Cardellini), Shaggy (Lillard) and, of course, Scooby Doo have to search for clues and track down the dastardly villains.
The thing that I really liked about this movie, is that they went back to the old-school. They brought back a lot of the villains from the original cartoon, and I thought that was a really cool move. If you remember the cartoon, you'll see new creations of the 10,000-Volt Monster, the Tar Monster, Miner 49er and, I can't remember his name, but the monster that came out of the sea with that big moss-covered scuba helmet that you always saw on the opening credits of the cartoon. I can't remember his damn name, (and IMDB didnt list it) but he was there too, and that just rocked, I thought. Along with the monsters, you'll see a lot of the old-school "techniques" that Shaggy and Scooby used, like one part where they follow someone under the guise of bushes. This part gives us one of the best lines in the movie, from the man they're following, "Darn bushes howling at me again."
The acting, overall, isn't too bad, because there are a few good performances that cancel out the bad performances. Freddy Prinze Jr. is pretty bad as Fred, but Seth Green turns in a nice performances as a museum curator. Sarah Michelle Gellar's performance isn't nearly as hot as she is, but Linda Cardellini is great as Thelma, and you do get to see how hot she really is under the orange sweater and glasses. And Matthew Lillard is solid once again as Shaggy, and Alicia Silverstone, in her first major movie since 1999, turns in a decent smaller performance as a conniving TV reporter.
The script is the most surprising part of the movie, because it is pretty damn good. James Gunn, who wrote the first movie as well as the wonderful zombie remake Dawn of the Dead, has written a solid, succinct script here. The movie is only 88 minutes long, which is just perfect for something like this. This type of movie shouldn't be long and drawn out, and Gunn had just enough of everything to make this movie good, while not making it excessive. Sure, some of the dialogue is pretty corny and there is one scene at this ex-monster bar where Scooby and Shaggy go "incognito" that is just plain dumb. But these parts are cancelled out because of the wonderful ending. It is actually a surprise! Seriously. Gunn has some of the subtle M. Night Shyamalan touch where he gives you certain elements, but makes you forget about them until the end. Wow, I just compared Scooby-Doo to Shyamalan. What's scary is that the comparison is valid. Overall, the script, with subtle themes of dating and being yourself, was very nicely done.
Director Raja Gosnell is pretty good at the helm of this movie. He handles the action nicely and I just loved what he did with the old-school monsters. They all looked just great. My only beef with his direction is he added this really stupid dance thing at the very end of the movie, with a singing performance from the American Idol winner Ruben Studdard. Let's just say this movie could've easily been 85 minutes instead of 88 minutes... But other than that, Gosnell does some very nice work here.
Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed is a movie about, well, monsters, umm, being unleashed. There are some nice bits of actual substance here, which was nice, but the movie is basically just a big goof-fest that will have you laughing a lot more than you probably planned. I know it's April Fools Day today, but I'm being serious here. It's really not that bad. I guess it's April Fools on me for thinking otherwise.