Most helpful critical review
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Pretty cool straight-to-DVD prequel
on September 15, 2009
First, I want everyone to know that I love the first two Scooby-Doo live action films. I thought the casting was done well, the stories were fine, and they looked good. I thought the second one was a little cooler because it had a lot of the "monsters" from the original Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? series coming to life.
With that being said, I was a little concerned with this third entry in the series. Usually a movie with this many red flags spells absolute disaster and almost guarantees a turd of a film. Let's spell out the red flags: its direct-to-DVD, it's a prequel, it's totally recast, and it's got a new director. Wow. That's a lot to have going against a movie. Interestingly enough, it didn't prove to be true for this flick.
Scooby-Doo: The Mystery Begins somehow rises up above the crowded direct-to-DVD sequel / prequel cesspool and actually is successful at being entertaining and not completely cheap-looking. You can tell that director Brian Levant really wanted to escape the stereotype that these types of movies get and show that he was serious about the subject matter and franchise. Warner definitely played it smart with Levant, being that he is responsible for bringing to the big screen some very successful family movies and iconic animated TV shows like Beethoven, The Flintstones feature films, Jingle All The Way, and Are We There Yet?
The casting was done pretty well. All the actors fit the parts, although not without a few minor problems. Robbie Arnell would have completely been convincing in the part of Fred, except that for some reason he wasn't made to bleach his hair blond for the film. What was the reasoning behind that? I mean, he did take the part of an iconic blond character. The least he could have done is bleach his hair out to put the finishing touches on the role. My only other problem was with Nick Palatas' performance as Shaggy. He was really good and definitely looked the part. It just seemed like he was going a little overboard with the cracking squeaky voice sometimes. It seemed a little forced at times. I thought it was cool that they kept Frank Welker as the voice of Scooby-Doo, as he has been doing the character for the past seven years in different series and movies.
Even the special effects were done well. The ghosts all looked just as good as any of the ones in the two movies they released in the theaters. I have to say, though, that there were scenes of the Scooby gang that were missing Scooby-Doo that felt kind of awkward. It almost seemed like they cut him out of the scenes to save money on their CGI budget. There were some parts with Scooby that looked a little less than stellar and where it looked like the actor in the shot with him was having trouble interacting with an invisible dog. They were all minor problems, though. It shouldn't take away from your viewing pleasure.
Overall, I have to say that I was pretty impressed with this movie. It was kind of fun to see the gang paint The Mystery Machine, meet each other, and solve their first crime together. If you're a Scooby-Doo fan, I'm pretty sure this movie will live up to your standards.