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Scooby Doo 2:
Monsters Unleashed

Starring Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar; Linda Cardellini, Peter Boyle, Seth Green, Matthew Lillard, Tim Blake Nelson and Alicia Silverstone
Screenplay by James Gunn
Based on the Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters
Directed by Raja Gosnell

IN SHORT: Fine for kidlets and, surprise, not a disappointing sit for us parental units. [Rated PG for some scary action, rude humor and language. 91 minutes]

Long term policy of this site is not to compare to Source Material aka "you shouldn't have to know that material to follow along" especially when it comes to sequels. That being said,we'll repeat what we mentioned back at the time of the first Scooby Doo movie. We hated the cartoon Scooby Doo. The animation was pitiful, which was worse than terrible. The stories were abominable and, all in all, nothing about the series was fit for anyone older than age five or six. As for the first film, as we wrote back in 2002 . . .

[Scooby Doo] is garbage. It was garbage as a cartoon and it is garbage as a big screen movie. Which explains why it made a zillion dollars from all the parents who watched it as garbage in the 70s taking all their kidlets to the dump now that it's hot outside and cool in the movie theater.

That derision was because the first film tried to be exactly what the cartoon was. Garbage. This year's edition, Scooby Doo 2:Monsters Unleashed surprised the heck out of us. It cut loose a lot of the look and feel of the 'toon and delivered a fairly pain-free sit.

It is also beautifully designed -- props to production designer Bill Boes who gave us plenty to look at while the story line flitted across the equivalent of eleven cartoons in a row, culminating in the usual explanation of who did what and why. An explanation that made absolutely no sense to us but, hey, we didn't mind the rest of it so what else matters?

Mystery Inc. is the name of our group of heroes. Fred and Daphne (Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar) are the good looking stars of the group. Velma (Linda Cardellini), the girl with glasses, is the obvious brain. Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) and his dog pal Scooby Doo (himself) are feeling no pain whatsoever. We reunite with the gang at the opening of a special exhibit of the Coolsonian Criminology Museum. Costumes belonging to many of the monsters defeated by the Mystery Inc. team are on display and the media, led by ace reporter Heather Jasper-Howe (Alicia Silverstone) is covering the event. Museum curator Patrick Wisely (Seth Green) is delighted with the turnout until the event is attacked by one of the monsters, a big green pterodactyl thing, under the control of a mysterious man in black who looks like a reject from the Power Rangers rogues gallery.

Where the monster came from is the big mystery. Of more interest is the attention paid to the second bananas: Shaggy and Scooby get to work out their feelings of insecurity as they decide to solve the mystery before team leaders Fred and Daphne do. Velma is busy with her own love story, which requires that she remake herself as a woman of mystery, and the reporter does what reporters do. She sticks her nose in where it doesn't belong.

We don't put ratings on films for kidlets and there's nothing here that is inappropriate. No surprise there. Unlike the first edition, Scooby Doo 2:Monsters Unleashed has enough story ballast that the parental units in the back row won't be bored silly.

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