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The full-length cartoon feature Aloha, Scooby Doo! waves goodbye to the classic Scooby style I love so well. Sigh.
The Scooby Gang is off to the Hawaiian island of HanaHuna for a surfing contest. But before they can get there, a volcano erupts and out pop all these little demons that look and sound like the terrifying creature from the last story in the horror classic Trilogy of Terror. The demons quickly wreak havoc, scare away the tourists, and kidnap Snooky, a pretty young woman who is the girlfriend of surfing champ Monu (cut me some slack—I'm spelling all these names phonetically). So the gang shows up just in time for a mystery. Daphne is actually there to start her own line of summer wear, and quickly learns that Mr. Moon, the man from the design company she wants to sell to, is there selling special charms to ward off the Wiki Tiki…the evil demon who controls the mini-wiki tiki demons, and who the locals believe is terrorizing them in his hunt for human sacrifices. The gang agrees to help Monu find his…uh…Snooky. Which means delving into the bowels of the great volcano. And along the way, they meet an interesting cast of suspects, including a realtor planning a new development on the island, the female mayor who is hoping to run for governor, and a creepy voodoo practitioner named Auntie Mahina. Oh, and keep your eye open for Daphne's stunt with dental floss. Kids, don't try this at home.
Watching the gang's excursion to Hawaii made me want to hunt down the Brady three-parter when THEY go to Hawaii to get a much better "special episode" of an old fave. This Scooby feature was, for starters, about a half-hour too long, and could have been condensed to keep a better pace. The Wiki Tikis were pretty cool, but there wasn't enough time with the Scooby Gang being chased by them and their leader, because then it would have just been an hour and fifteen minutes of the gang being chased. So a whole lot of silly filler was put in. And the chase scenes themselves lacked the goofy tricks of the usual Scooby Gang chases, and were accompanied by a cheesy take on surf rock tunes. And talking about music, the opening song was just horrendous. It was some sort of Hawaiian vocal tune (probably sung by Don-ho, since he's listed as singing in the cast). It accompanied this scenic nature animation featuring birds and fish that made me feel like I was watching the Disney, not the Doo. And totally missing was the laugh track! The classic Scooby laugh track. The void was gaping. And at one point, the sound editor even tried to fill that void with a drum hit after a really bad joke! UGH! Even the cast seemed bored with this installment, and they're frickin' cartoons! The best parts of the show—for the right age group—were in-jokes about Gilligan's Island, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Batman (clever, considering Adam West does one of the voices). Then again, Scooby never had to rely on pop culture references before to keep me interested. I imagine kids who adore Scooby will be somewhat entertained, but I honestly think they will even feel that Scooby is just not up to snuff this time.
Voices include Adam West, Teri Garr, Mario Lopez, and even Mindy Cohn of The Facts of Life, who, little did I know, has taken on the voice of Velma!
The film is full-frame 1:33:1. Extreme edge enhancement makes the colors bleed, yet, at the same time, the colors are quite bland. Surprisingly, the flesh tones are sickly yellow. I was sort of surprised by the lack of quality in the image.
Although it sports a 5.1 audio track, the film was practically always in 5 channel mono, and sounded really hollow and lost somewhere in the center. Every now and then, there would be an odd burst of momentary surround. The volume had to be turned up, and bass response was non-existent.
The menus are fun and animated. There are 13 chapter breaks, and the trailers for other cartoons launch automatically, but can be skipped and selected later from the menu. Other features include:
HULA HULLA BALOOLA—in this 8 minute National Geographic feature, Scooby and Shaggy get stuck on an island and call a holographic boy named Kid Y for help. The hologram boy shows them the wildlife, geography, history, people and culture of Hawaii in film and cartoon clips.
THE WIKI TIKI TALE OF SCOOBY DOO—the voice cast talks about the legend, restating everything we learned watching the cartoon. We do get to go behind the scenes to see them recording their dialogue. How cool to FINALLY see Casey Kasem talking as Shaggy! 5 minutes.
AN EVENING WITH THE SCOOBY GANG—This was kinda funny. A 6 minute, mock "Actor's Studio" setup of the gang talking to a host in front of a "live audience.". There's even some Scrappy dissin'.
CASE OF THE FREAKY WIKI TIKI—Video game time! This is a side-scrolling platformer (as well as a few more gaming genres on the two levels that follow) you play with the remote for your DVD player. Simple stuff, meant for children, and pretty short. There are horrible pauses whenever you hit a key to perform an action. Not fluid at all.
LANGUAGES—you can choose from English, French or Spanish subtitles.
DVD ROM content—you are forced to install software, which includes a WB web brower, to access the goodies on the disc, which features some cool demos for point and click Scooby games, as well as links to a couple of WB Scooby-related sites.
Aloha, Scooby Doo! is a disappointing installment in the Scooby…dare I say it…canon. I Doo dare. The usual hi-jinx are few and far between in this hour and fifteen minute cartoon. The kids may like it once, but will quickly be digging through their old collection for one of the classic episodes.