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Not My Favorite, But Still a Strong 18th Chapter,
This review is from: Scooby-Doo! Big Top Scooby-Doo! (DVD)
Well, here it goes. "Zombie Island" was great. "Witch's Ghost" had some great moments. "Alien Invasion" was cute. I didn't much like "Cyber Chase." "Legend of the Vampire" was a nice return to form. "Monster of Mexico" was not great, but ok. "Loch Ness" was different but interesting. "Aloha" and "Where's My Mummy" were ok, but not great. "Pirates Ahoy" was a MAJOR comeback.
"Chill Out" was weak, but it had its moments. "Goblin King" was phenomenal. "AbraKadarbra Doo" was ok. "Camp Scare" was surprisingly well done. And I thought "Phantosaur" was the most terrible thing Scooby ever did.
Onto the subject at hand. Circuses are fun, but they usually have a mysterious and spooky (if not sinister) side. And this 18th chapter of Scooby seems to work well off of that. The movie starts with a jewelry theft, and we find it difficult not to suspect that the local circus has some connection.
And our 5 heroes innocently go to the circus. (They are insisted heavily to do so by Fred that is.) And they discover the criminal activity in the area. (They have so much time off, but it never seems to stay time off.) The owner of the circus seems nice enough, and he is ready to believe that one or more of his employees may be involved in the illegal activity. So he agrees to let the gang investigate. (Though they have to pose as circus workers.)
So we go through the typical question the suspect chapter. Many of the suspects clearly have issues, so we're not so ready to 'point the finger' right away. We have a lot of choices. And even the ones who don't appear to have issues look just a little too innocent.
What makes this 18th chapter work as well as it does is that we know at least one of them is guilty. So we have to wonder which one it is. But we also have the regular spooky and sinister aspects of the circus to deal with. So, we may find ourselves chilled a little more than usual.
Not the biggest deal, but it's worth pointing out. At one point, it seems the mystery is being solved just a little too quickly. So the writers buy time with a dispute between Shaggy and Scooby. It's a legitimate technique, and it may provide some comic relief. But we may shake our heads knowing that Shaggy would never treat Scooby so contemptuously. I just consider that the weak link because Shaggy and Scooby love each other more than they love themselves. As eager to run away from a situation as they may be, Scooby and Shaggy support each other in that whenever one of them is in trouble, their courage emerges. (This is displayed VERY well in "Camp Scare.")
Moving on, it SEEMS the mystery is solved, but we find out that there is more to it. And we have a really well done climax.
Another thing worth mentioning is that this film brings up the issue of making too much of a hero out of someone. We may admire someone for their musical talent. But we are being dishonest with ourselves if we make them into a god.
Finishing up, "Pirates Ahoy" and "Camp Scare" are certainly more 'true to form' and 'defining' Scooby films. And my personal favorite will probably always be 'The Goblin King.'
But this is a strong 18th chapter that was surprisingly good. And after the horrible 'Phantosaur,' this much better film restored my belief in Scooby.
So while I clearly enjoyed 3 earlier chapters better, overall "Big Top Scooby" is a strong 18th chapter.