When the costumes of former villains come to life on their own and start terrorizing the good people of Coolsville, it’s up to Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby to save the day in Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed.
But of course, it’s not that simple. Sinister characters are popping up everywhere, and each member of Mystery Inc. has problems of their own.
Fred thinks he’s a wimp, Daphne feels worthless and Velma has a crush, while Shaggy and Scooby are trying their hardest to prove that in spite of their clumsiness, they can solve mystery on their own.
The cast of the first Scooby-Doo reprises their roles in the sequel, including Freddie Prinze Jr. as the masculine, yet dim-witted Fred and Matthew Lillard as the suspiciously docile Shaggy.
The actors portraying the Mystery Inc. crew deliver satisfactory performances, but it’s the always-entertaining Peter Boyle who steals the show as Old Man Wickles, a former villain who’s just trying to make a better post-jail life for himself.
Also along for the ride is teen idol Seth Green, who delivers a less than believable performance as Patrick, a brainy museum curator and the object of Velma’s affection.
Meanwhile, it becomes painfully obvious to the audience that actress Alicia Silverstone is desperate for work as she takes a humiliating career turn in her role as Heather, the news reporter bent on making life miserable for the Mystery Inc. gang.
Director Raja Gosnell delivers a Scooby sequel that stays true to the original Scooby-Doo cartoon, right down to the predictable identity of the villain. In this film the revelation of man (or woman) inside the monster suit is worse than being predictable – it’s downright cheesy.
Cheesy endings aside, the use of computer-animated monsters becomes boring after a while. Granted, it would have been impossible to create some of the more complex monsters without CGI effects, but it would have been a welcome change to see at least one actor wearing a convincingly spooky get-up.
In spite of the not-so-great acting and overwhelming use of computer animation, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed is an ideal movie for kids and parents trying to find an age-appropriate movie to watch with their children. There’s no unnecessary sex, violence or foul language, but there’s plenty of action, suspense and flatulence.
The plot itself isn’t complicated, and the fact that it follows the same formula as the original episodes of the cartoon series makes it easier for younger moviegoers to follow the trail of clues along with their favorite characters.
Older audiences, on the other hand, should probably avoid Scooby Doo 2.
The predictable plot and clumsy characters are an insult to higher intelligence, and are best left unseen by the naked eye.
The soundtrack features catchy songs from artists like Ruben Studdart and a soothing musical score from David Newman, but other than that, it’s pretty much the first Scooby Doo movie with more monsters.
For now, Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed is in theaters everywhere. Approach with extreme caution.
Marta Rusek can be reached at Marta Rusek