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I’m a fan of the 2002 live action Scooby Doo film. I thought that while it did have flaws, it was undeniably entertaining and very well acted. I only wish that the entertainment of that film translated to this very lackluster sequel.
Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed is a major downgrade from the first and lacks the sense of fun that permeated it’s prequel. The cast members all still fit their roles perfectly, but unfortunately they have a garbage script to work off of. The script relies on unfunny gags and extremely juvenile humor for most of the film and has little interest in plot.
It’s really a shame that Scooby Doo 2 turned out the way it did because the casting is so perfect and there was such a golden opportunity to create something really fun. The “plot” that the script offers up is paper thin and really just an afterthought. The real focuses this film has is Shaggy and Scooby trying not to be “screw-ups” and a whole lot of unfunny juvenile humor. The monster plot is very secondary.
The whole thing about Shaggy and Scooby feeling bad about themselves and trying to do better just isn’t a winning plot point and it sucks a lot of life out of what’s supposed to be a fun thrill ride. I would’ve preferred to watch the gang work to solve a decent mystery instead of watching Shaggy and Scooby try to recover their lost self esteem.
The Shaggy and Scooby self esteem plot isn’t the only awful thing Scooby Doo 2 does, the “comedy” it offers up is even worse. The humor is embarrassingly unfunny and juvenile and this cast deserves far better. There is only one line that I actually thought was funny and that was when Velma attempts to be sexy for a guy she likes. Other than that, all the other jokes fall flat. I just can’t believe James Gunn thought that this script would pass muster. I just can’t get over what a miss opportunity this was! With a script that actually had a real plot and knew what comedy was, this could have been so much fun.
Linda Cardellini as Velma shines the brightest here and has the best material out of the whole gang. Cardellini has that shy but charming essence that makes Velma so likable; she’s definitely the most interesting one to watch in this sequel.
It’s interesting because while Sarah Michelle Gellar is perfect as Daphne, she isn’t given nearly as much to do here as she was in the first film. In the first film, I’d actually say that Daphne was the most interesting and had the most to do, but here she’s very much in a supporting role behind Velma and Shaggy/Scooby.
This cast is so talented and their commitment to these roles is admirable but James Gunn just completely let them down with a shockingly bad script that doesn’t provide them the opportunity to truly shine. The three new cast additions are all wasted. Alicia Silverstone, Seth Green, and Frank Boyle aren’t given a lot of screen time and the time they do have is fairly empty. None of them have anything that interesting to do.
The special effects are hit and miss. Scooby Doo himself looks fine and some of the monsters do as well, but then there are a couple monsters in particular that look pretty shoddy. There are also several shots that didn’t look that great and should’ve been given a second look.
On the positive side, there are several action sequences that look very nice visually and most of the sets look good. The creepy house that the gang searches in the beginning is very well put together and has the right look for a live action Scooby Doo film. There’s also a few well done explosions that add some temporary excitement.
If only the script was as good as those brief stunts. It’s really a shame that this script is as bad as it is because they had a great chance to make a fun humorous thrill ride that could’ve lead to a third installment. Unfortunately, that is not what we got.
Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed is an empty sequel with a paper thin plot that mostly consists of unfunny jokes. While I’m a fan of the first film, this one is just plain bad. James Gunn really should have gone back and made some serious revisions.
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