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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed
Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed
Warner Bros. // PG // September 14, 2004
List Price: $26.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted September 20, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

"Scooby-Doo" continues to appeal to new generations of children, with popular new direct-to-video animated features being produced at a rate of what seems like one every couple months. However, we've now been presented with not one, but two live-action films based upon the cartoon. I was not a fan of the first film, which was cotton candy cinema - it often went for cheap laughs instead of clever humor. I liked Matthew Lillard's attempt at Shaggy (although it's not quite Stephen Baldwin's classic take on Barney Rubble) and the animated Scooby was amusing, but the film could have been better.

The sequel is a little better than the original feature - less hyperactive and a little more intelligent, despite the fact that it still relies on low-class humor (a long battle with a ghost knight is finally solved by kicking it in the crotch) and one-liners. The second film opens with the Mystery, Inc. gang opening a wing of the Coolsonian Museum (located in Coolsville) that offers folks a look at the costumes of all of the villians that the gang has unmasked. They even encounter a legion of fans as they walk up the red carpet, as well as some romantic interests: Velma (Linda Cardellini) notices the museum curator (Seth Green) is attracted to her.

When the gang notices that one of the creatures in the museum is actually possessed, they must figure out who is trying to bring their former foes back to life. Scooby and Shaggy realize that this is their chance to try and prove that they can be valuable members of the gang instead of a snacker and a slacker.

The performances are perfectly fine for the material. Prinze, Jr is thankfully given less of a role this time around, with Gellar's fiesty effort and Lillard's loopy energy taking up the lead. Cardellni, Alicia Silverstone (playing a reporter who doesn't seem to be on the side of the gang) and Seth Green are good, although their roles don't call on them to do too much. Even Peter Boyle shows up for some reason. Technical credits are very good, as the film boasts fine cinematography from the reliable Oliver Wood ("Bourne Identity", "U-571"). Some of the special effects aren't terribly noteworthy, but the production design is often great.

"Scooby Doo 2" is average fare; it passed by quickly enough, had a few funny moments and made more of an attempt to be a real movie than the prior outing. I'm still not the film's target audience, but I'll still hope that if a third feature is made it can be a bit more ambitious than this occasionally amusing effort.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Monsters Unleashed" is presented by Warner Brothers in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen (there's also going to be a full-frame edition available). The presentation is generally excellent, with very good sharpness and detail throughout the majority. While a couple of shots appear slightly softer by comparison, most of the film looked crisp and well-defined.

As for flaws, a few slight traces of pixelation appeared in a few of the darker scenes. Edge enhancement was not present during the film, and the print looked excellent, with no noticable wear. The film's cartoonish color palette was superbly shown here, with excellent saturation and no smearing or other concerns.

SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation reaches expectations for this kind of fare. Surrounds aren't used throughout the entire program, but occasionally they kick in when the mix throws some cartoonish sound effects into the room. Sound effects remained crisp and clear throughout, with no distortion or other problems. Dialogue was clear and easily understood, as well. Bass is strong at times, but never overpowering.

EXTRAS: A little over 7 minutes of deleted scenes are offered, with optional commentary from director Raja Gosnell. Viewers also get three decent "making of" documentaries: "Triple Threat", "True Ghoul Hollywood Story" and "Dancing Dog". We also get two interactive games, music videos from Simple Plan and Big Broyaz, and trailers for "Polar Express", "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" and an upcoming animated "Kangaroo Jack" feature.

Final Thoughts: A little better than the first film - more straightforward and less noisy. I still don't find anything memorable about this sequel, though. The target audience of older children will likely enjoy, though. Warner Brothers has provided a fine DVD, with a few supplements and good audio/video quality. Recommended for kids.

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