Warner Bros.' Scoob! is the latest Hollywood feature to skip a theatrical opening in the pandemic era, but is the first entry in what is sure to be a budding cinematic universe of Hanna Barbera characters worth your digital dollars? The reviews are in and critics seem to be split over the film, which was helmed by Scooby-Doo vet Tony Cervone (co-creator of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated).
"Cervone ... has the action well in hand, evincing particular skill with several complex set pieces, most impressively while staging the climactic scene at Athens’ historic Acropolis," writes The Hollywood Reporter's Justin Lowe. "The filmmakers' choice of computerized animation style, emphasizing bold colors and high contrast, looks great for props and backgrounds, but tends to leave character features lacking in detail."
Variety's Peter Debruge adds that the presence of classic HB characters like Dick Dastardly (Jason Isaacs), Blue Falcon (Mark Wahlberg), Dynomutt (Ken Jeong), Dee Dee Skykes (Kiersey Clemons), and Captain Caveman (Tracy Morgan) may be the saving grace for older members of the audience.
"Renting the film on demand (for a whopping $19.99, or just $5 more to buy) spares adults the obligation of sitting through the movie themselves — although those other classic Hanna-Barbera characters are likely to appeal more to parents, and the animation work would have held up fine on the big screen," he writes.
"Splitting up the team for much of the movie is fine for a sequel but in a reimagining it doesn’t really work because you miss the magic of the Mystery Inc. chemistry and how each member contributes to the whole," says Brian Truitt of USA Today, going on to add, "the movie pops with its animation, and for old-school fans, there are so many Easter eggs and gags from the past ... that look good in a modern reinvention. The puns and pop-culture shout-outs are also fairly clever."
If Scoob!'s reviews and rental price aren't convincing, fans of Mystery Inc. and their meddling kids can find plenty of crime-solving stories in the pages of the long-running Scooby-Doo comics — and now DC is making over 250 issues available for free.
According to a release, these comics — under the titles of Scooby-Doo, Scooby-Doo Team-Up, and Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? — will be available on DC's media streaming service DC Universe as well as comic retails like Comixology, Amazon Kindle, Apple Books for free starting on May 15 and continuing through Sept. 7. That's a lot of unmasking, but plenty of time to do it — especially for kids stuck at home.
The following comics will be accessible through the deal, in case fans are looking for a specific guest (Team-Up is entirely focused on appearances by DC superheroes or other Hanna-Barbera characters) or caper:
- Scooby-Doo: Issues 33 - 84
- Scooby-Doo Team-Up: Issues 1-99 & Vol. 1-6
- Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?: Issues 40-103
Scoob! is available on Digital and VOD release today, May 15.