Thursday, September 17, 2015

Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness

Right off the bat, I'm gonna say it, I'm a Scooby-Doo fan. I have liked for years, now heading toward decades, this character and his friends, my favorite hokey series of this character has been A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. Then there was a shift in power, Scooby wasn't the character he was anymore, this shift is where I became a Shaggy fan, now I'm going towards Velma, it's a weird evolution, but this is the current state of things for the characters. The people responsible for their development are forgetting the spirit of the characters and grouping the Mystery Gang together as one being, it happens with long series, though I'm glad they keep reinventing what makes each member special, not only toward solving mysteries, but to each other. With this recent film for the series, let's see what made Scooby-Doo in Space better than the other cartoons that Hanna-Barbera shot into space or is Warner Brothers following in the footsteps of their predecessors when it comes to making an old idea new?

First impressions of the cover were low, since the characters didn't feel like themselves, it was like an after thought, since the heads in the suits felt like they were put in as stickers. That's the problem with a lot of "home video" films, the cover feels like it had two artists for the same image. It's a common thing within commission pieces, since there's a lot of people influencing how it should look. Which gives this final cover the look of a storyboard first draft, and less of a professional feeling. After the cover my hopes aren't high for this film, but I like to give everything a chance. Again I enjoy Scooby-Doo with all their hokeyness, so a DVD cover that's not great isn't going to stop me, since most contemporary posters for films don't impress me much. So with reputation and interest with the theme of this film behind my decisions, I place the DVD into my computer and start the nostalgic engine on my evocative goggles.

We open to exposition alley, after a failed driving test (they're totally teens still, shush), it seems the gang have won a contest and we're introduced to the co-stars of the film. All the characters are secondary, they all feel like they're unneeded. This introduction felt more like a video pitch for a pilot of "Scooby-Doo in Space!", I'm not saying that would be a bad thing, though it would be short lived like Jose and the Pussycats in Space or Gilligan's Planet. Now each new person feels like a personification of each Scooby character, so instead of using the gang like three dimensional beings and the creators have made everyone flat.

Throughout the launch (that's right, they're getting a free ride into space, rocketship and all) the side characters keep talking about aliens, though there wasn't any implication of there being one for the gang to be involved or the idea that all five of them would win a sweepstakes. And this dates the movie, it seems the writers establish that the setting is in modern time, though these type of events rarely happen or the crew are chosen, which we find out that the ladder was something that's happened. Okay, here's what bothers me, they enter a raffle, though we don't see that nor is it mentioned by the characters before it's thrown in our faces. After they get to the station the film truly starts to take place, since problems start appearing in the film and giving the viewer something to want to watch rather than awkward conversations.

Gom is giving the Gammal Sae a new coat of flower power paint.
Tea is craving speed over safety, hang tight guys.

Now this is my opinion, though this is one of the best Scooby movie that sets up the suspects well, there's four people that could be the alien in the film. And this is expressed really well, it leads to the idea that this place is very wide and no one is in one spot throughout the whole film, though two of the characters are constantly being followed by Freddy. It's great to see that someone is thinking about the mystery aspect of the series, I'm worried that they might focus on a gritty version essentially remaking the characters and taking away from what's been established. Another direction that would be interesting would be to make the character stuck in this 1970's/present time setting, it would be a great poke at its self and give the writers a lot of space to work with the characters.

Anyhow I'm just going to skip around since even the film leaves the film, so we'll pop over to my favorite part of the movie. The Fantasy Sequence is maybe the best thing in the whole film, since the animation, designs, execution, colors, everything is perfect, even the music with the "happy" ending. This is the part of the film that I like, all of the characters are giving their two-cents for what would happen if aliens attacked and took over Earth. Elaborating on that the Scooby Gang are teens (or early twenty somethings) giving the characters depth and showing that even minds that hunt for mysteries can be skewed, which would help the point of the sub-plot for Velma and Daphne.

Something I really didn't agree with was the petty fighting of Daphne and Velma, it seemed forced, though Daphne tries to fix the problem more than Velma. Then turns around on taking the high road and starts reflecting the mood set by Velma. It's a build up, though a tension that doesn't really amount to more than having the characters say something per scene.

Surprisingly I predicted it was Shannon way back in the beginning, the clues don't add up well in this story, though something about her character screamed villain on sight. Shannon may be the best villain, since she got away with the crime, and now murder. Since the cast except her are sealed into an impossible room to get out of, though they do get out and have to chase her back to Earth. Again the writer did a great job on having a villain that can kill the main characters, and preforms the act without any remorse. We're followed up with the main characters flying to Earth, Daphne being the only person to be able to fly and land the spaceship. Everyone gets a classic coconut knockout, like a 1970's sitcom, I hate this ending, it connects the beginning of the film with Daphne failing her driving test. Also they all should be dead since it was girders and such that hit them, solid steel smashing into everyone's faces. Oh, and microtape, MICROTAPE really! Though somehow having all the video feeds linked up and that Shannon has collected a press conference is incredibly unlikely too, though it looks like she's just telling random people she did things. Following they catch Shannon and the gang gets the classic line read and my favorite line in any contemporary Scooby-Doo cartoon is said, "Blah blah bloobidy" love you Shaggy. The ending is full of speeches and connecting the loose ends, it's nice to see it all tied up, but every character get's a speech, it doesn't end till everyone get's an essay read. And the End credits are beautiful, though the final "joke" was unneeded, like it felt as if they needed to do something to fill time and less about having a last "ha".

Professor Steeping, his niece Tea, and his creation Gom have stumbled
across something haunting their home. Looks like a mystery, gang.

Now there are things that I really did enjoy, since referencing works are one of my favorite things in media. Homage (or parody) work is something I enjoy, since it leads me to find out either more interesting works or where the mind of the creative team was going. Like the homage to Alien isn't bad, since the suit design resembles the same one used in the film series. Another example would be the lens flares, it's a great visual joke and nod to J.J. Abrams. Also the 50 foot automatic gold doors and "money no object" could be a reference to Star Trek, since in their time and universe money isn't a problem. During the Fantasy Scene it was a great War of the World, Escape from New York, and Mars Attacks Reference, though Mars Attacks would be a parody in its self of War of the Worlds, but still wonderfully executed. Even the background had a reference to Metropolis, in the design of the station. While on the subject of mentioning something that doesn't get looked at too often, the sound design was fantastic, with blaring trumpets giving the classic suspense that a lot of Sci-fi movies throw into films. One could tell that a lot of research went into the making of this movie, though mostly for the genre.

Here's the things that really bothered me, the pacing is slow, the jokes rely on awkward silences, and cliches. I'm a fan of interesting takes on cliches, though when it's being fired at me like a gatling gun, it's not a new take it's just listing what are famous cliches. Also the weird character actions like a ton of hair flips, blinking, unneeded blinking, audible blinking, and pausing to fill time on dumb things (like looping animation that has a ton of silence). Then there are things that were well made, like the acting, designs (character and background), and animation were amazing! The sound design is very well executed and mixed. Oh, the timing was perfect, all the audio cues and physical jokes were on point. That's the thing about this film, there were moments of disappointment, then there were other sections that amazed me.

Short and long of this film is, it's not my sense of humor. The pauses are way too often and the characters don't really grow from the events. It ends on a forced note and the over all plot seemed strained and out of character for the world. If you're a fan of Scooby-Doo, but grew up with the stories, then you know there's never really been a plot, but if you're wanting to love a group of teens in their twenties then this is the film you wanna watch with your family.

I trust you enjoyed the inspection, thank you for reading.
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Keep well and Stay well.

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