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Scooby-Doo and the Monster of Mexico

Warner Bros. // G // September 30, 2003
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Shannon Nutt | posted October 10, 2003 | E-mail the Author
THE MOVIE

Zoinks! Scooby and the gang are taking a trip south of the border into Mexico to investigate reports of El Chupacabra in Scooby-Doo and the Monster of Mexico a disappointing new entry in the series of new direct to video Scooby cartoons that have been hitting the shelves over the past few years.


Scooby & Shaggy Can't Believe What A Bad DVD They've Made!
I really enjoyed the first new Scooby movie that came out a few years ago (Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island), but this one isn't very good at all – which is a shame since all the original voices (Casey Kasem, Frank Welker, Nicole Jaffe and Heather North Kenney) from the original series return for this title.

The story begins with a town in Mexico being terrorized by what the locals believe is El Chupacabra (kind of a cross between Bigfoot and a werewolf). One of the Mexicans just happens to have Fred for an e-mail pen pal, so he invites the Scooby Gang down to Mexico to help check things out.

The problem here is that Mexico is just not a good setting for the Scoobies. They need to be in some haunted castle or mysterious ghost town – not out in the bright sun of Mexico. The writer (Douglas Wood) and director (Scott Jeralds) try to make up for it by sticking the gang in a museum where some strange events and a few wild chases happen, but it never really seems to work.

I'm guessing the reason this movie was set in Mexico was to get kids who watch it interested in another culture and language. But Scooby-Doo was never about learning…it was about semi-spooky fun, and we get little of it here.

THE DVD

Video:
Shown in full-frame, the animation is quite sharp and colorful and looks great. The animation is similar to that of the previous direct-to-video Scooby movies – which is to say it is still crude enough to still capture the feel of the original show, but advanced enough to be enjoyable for both adults and children alike.

Audio:
While the songs of the actual film drove me crazy (don't blame me if your child starts signing "Viva Mexico" – a terrible tune, but one that I still can't get out of my head), the reproduction here is quite nice, providing a 5.1 Dolby track that is quite active for a cartoon.

Extras:
While not extensive, the extras on this disc may be the best thing about the entire DVD. For starters, there's a Commentary Track with actors Casey Kasem (voice of Shaggy) and Frank Welker (voice of both Fred and Scooby) in which they play their characters and comment on the action like they are watching an old home movie. The commentary track has far too many gaps of silence in it (I got the impression that they were reading from a prepared script instead of being spontaneous), but it gives you something extra to enjoy if (god forbid) you have to sit through this movie more than once.

Also on the DVD is a featurette called Creating a Monster which show footage of the actors recording their commentary, as well as providing some comments from the director. It's a nice featurette, although it's kind of short in length. There's also a Monsters of Mexico Scrapbook, which is essentially a slide show of the story with audio from Casey Kasem. The Bloopers section is kind of cute, and actually gave me a few more laughs (i.e. two!) than the actual film did; and the Trailers section contains trailers for What's New Scooby-Doo?, Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman, Powerpuff Girls: Twas The Fight Before Christmas and The Challenge (an Olsen Twins DVD). There's also DVD-Rom Features that gives you access to both the regular and kid's version of the WB website, plus allows you to play demo versions of three Scooby-Doo games.

THE BOTTOM LINE
Only the most die-hard Scooby fans will want to add this one to their collection. And I would encourage even those Scoobies to rent this one first before slapping down cash for a purchase. Sadly, I can't recommend this latest Scooby-Doo adventure.
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