Top critical review
Acceptable, But Not Great
on July 10, 2006
If you follow my reviews, you know that I really liked "Zombie Island" and "Witch's Ghost" and "Pirates Ahoy." I felt "Aloha Scooby Doo" and "Where's My Mummy" were strong runner ups. I have some respect for "Loch Ness Monster." "Alien Invasion" and "Monster of Mexico" had their moments. Of all Scooby's movies, I like this one the least.
Moving on, Scooby and the gang go to meet a friend at the university. After a somewhat tense moment with an uptight security guard, they meet their friend Eric, his friend Bill, and their professor. Eric and his friends at the school explain the existence of a phantom virus (that we already met). And we are told that someone must have created it. Many sparks of Scooby's former days are gone, and even the appetites of Scooby and Shaggy don't bring the laughs they once did.
Well, Scooby and the gang get zapped into Eric's video game. While this may work for some, it doesn't work for me. (Perhaps I am too old school Scooby.) To be sure "Zombie Island" crossed the bounds of plausibility, but the difference is ZI, but the major difference is that ZI kept the story as plausible as possible for some time, and then gradually introduced the non plausible elements. It is often a challenge, but it can be done. (It just isn't in this 4th chapter.)
On the plus side however, this enables the gang to go through a series of different adventures while we wonder who zapped them in. Sadly, another mistake is that it is SO OBVIOUS who zapped them in even on the 1st adventure. Call me a perfectionist, but they could have at least waited until the 2nd or 3rd level before they gave any clues. (Let alone an obvious one.) If we are willing to overlook this, we may find it interesting to see the gang go to the moon, Ancient Rome, etc.
Eventually, they meet their cyber doubles (who look pretty much like their characters from the original episodes). They learn that they must defeat the phantom virus to exit the video game. I'll admit that it was nice to see some monsters from the past (including the Creeper and the Tar Monster). As we approach the end, it is somewhat anti climactic as even a fool would have known who created the virus.
As I said, this movie is acceptable, but not great. Young children will probably like it, but the cutoff age may be surprisingly young. Thank goodness for better later efforts like "Legend of the Vampire," "Where's My Mummy?" and "Pirates Ahoy."