Back in the 70s and 80s, Scooby-Doo was one of the greats of animation. His adventures with a bunch of, admittedly smug, young detectives and their ultra cool Mystery Machine were always good value entertainment – the perfect way to wile away half an hour on a Saturday afternoon. It was camp, witty and had a distinctive look and feel from a different era.
Scooby-Doo And The Goblin King is a different kettle of fish entirely. This is the latest of a recent run of direct-to-DVD films produced by Warner Bros. Animation. Slick animation and sporting a distinctly modern feel, it takes a while to get used to at first. Scooby-Doo was so of his era that bringing him kicking and screaming into the new millennium just doesn’t feel right. For kids though, this will no doubt appeal.
A feature-length animation, the story centres around a fake magician ‘The Amazing Krudsky’ who steals the powers of a fairy Princess (voiced by Heroes’ Hayden Panetierre) to become a real sorcerer. Scooby and Shaggy then have to follow him into a magical underworld to stop him from stealing the evil Goblin King’s sceptre, which contains bad magic and will make him all powerful if he gets hold of it.
If that sounds ridiculous, it is and I couldn’t help feeling that it was so divorced from the familiar Scooby-Doo plots of the past, which basically involved real crooks carrying out various scams that were invariably foiled by Scoobs and the gang. By bringing in magic and real life ghosts and witches, it loses its charm somewhat. The plot is also a little all over the place, seemingly more interested in packing as many monsters in as possible rather than focusing on a story. Still, for kids this won’t be a major issue as the fantastical nature of the movie is highly appealing to young ‘uns and let’s be honest, that’s who this is aimed at.
The animation, it has to be said, is excellent, although the sight of an animated Daphne dressed up in a skintight cat suit was a little more pleasing than it perhaps should have been. The 5.1 surround sound track adds to the whole atmosphere and the vocal work is great, the drafted in Hollywood talent of Tim Curry, James Belushi and Lauren Bacall adding some weight to proceedings. Fair play must go to Scooby regulars Casey Kasem and Frank Welker though, for still managing to stand out among the assorted stars.
The DVD also comes with a small extra feature showing some magic tricks and how they are achieved – a nice touch for younger viewers. That’s your lot though and this was a little disappointing considering the other attempts to bring the gang up to date.
So, a slick and action-packed feature that kids will lap up but for me slightly sullies the original ethos of the famous Great Dane.