Scooby-Doo Meets Batman DVD review

A great Scooby Snack, or is it rooby, rooby, roo-bish? Mark meets the mash-up the world has, surely, been waiting for…

Scooby-Doo Meets Batman is a marvellous nostalgia trip for fans of both the caped crusaders, and the walking, talking canine and his gang of meddling friends.

Originally devised in 1972, The New Scooby-Doo Movies were double length episodes of the mutt and the Mystery Machine gang, first shown on CBS that boasted famous guest stars, including one that even featured the Harlem Globetrotters. Scooby-Doo Meets Batman includes two efforts that feature the Dark Knight and the Boy Wonder, but Chris Nolan’s interpretation of Batman this is not. These movies are based squarely on the camp variety of the cartoons of the era, and they’re all the better for it.

The plots revolve around Scooby and the gang teaming up with Batman and Robin to foil two nefarious schemes masterminded by the Joker and the Penguin – one involving a counterfeiting scheme, the other a flying suit invented by an inventor with an amusing turn of phrase.

As is typical with the Scooby cartoons of that time, this is less about the drama and action though and more about a succession of fairly lame gags and comedy noises. Indeed the scattergun approach of the comedy means you are bombarded pretty much from the off with one-liners, visual jokes and slapstick comedy routines. But it works brilliantly, both as an exercise in nostalgia and as a fun hour and a bit for kids.

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The animation, as you’d expect, has aged somewhat and certainly doesn’t stand up to today’s modern standards, but then that only adds to the appeal. The only problem may be that kids might be turned off from the rather rudimentary sketches and artwork on display but I would hope that’s not the case as there is definitely a place for this animation in anyone’s collection.

The highlight among the visuals for me was definitely the frankly bizarre representation of the Joker, looking more like a children’s party clown that the clown prince of crime. The Penguin fares much better, as do the interpretations of the Dynamic Duo themselves.

Better still is the vocal talent on show, with the familiar voices of Don Messick (Scooby) Frank Welker (Fred) and Casey Kasem (Shaggy) doing what they did best. It’s a shame the producers couldn’t have drafted in the right voices for the Batman villains, although that in itself brings its own small pleasures, especially seeing as the guy voicing the Joker often drifts into something not unlike James Cagney.

The one real shame about the disc is that it comes with no extras but then I guess that’s to be expected with such an old production. The 80-minute runtime will keep viewers entertained on a snowy afternoon though.

This DVD is kitsch, camp and utterly charming. Kids might find it a departure from the action-packed shows of today but faced with a choice between some mighty morphin people dressed in suits and this camp classic, I know what I’d choose.

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4 stars

 

Rating:

4 out of 5