Warner Bros. is following Universal's lead this weekend and releasing one of its animated summer tentpoles, Scoob!, directly to video on-demand platforms, rather than delaying its release for a time when theaters are open once again. Trolls World Tour was successful in its on-demand launch last month, and WB is hoping the same will be true of Scoob!, the 3-D reboot of the beloved Hanna-Barbera cartoon. The new Scooby-Doo film arrived on-demand Friday morning, available to rent for $19.99 or purchase for $24.99, giving fans the first chance to see what this updated take has to offer. Does it live up to the standard of classic Scooby adventures?
Critics have set out to answer that very question, and the result is a totally mixed bag. One quick search of "Scoob! reviews" or a glance at the film's page on Rotten Tomatoes will show you that critics are pretty divided on things.
There are some critics who think that Scoob! is a lot of fun, an adventure featuring classic characters that family members of all ages will enjoy. There are others who see Scoob! as nothing more than an attempt at a lazy shared universe that abandons the charm of the original series. Really, depending on which review you read, you could be described any number of different films.
To get a handle on what the critics think, take a look at some of the most notable reviews below.
The Hollywood Reporter - Justin Lowe
"The studio’s decision to shift the movie’s release from pandemic-shuttered theaters to premium video-on-demand may partly represent a strategy to capitalize on homebound audiences’ desire for new content with a familiar franchise. Whatever the calculus, Scoob! will offer an appealing distraction for families still stuck at home (although some of the most intense scenes may be too loud and scary for younger kids), even as it poses another test for the resiliency of theatrical windows."
You can read The Hollywood Reporter's full review here.
Variety - Peter Debruge
"That leaves WB’s computer-animated Scoob! looking awkwardly out of touch in several ways. First, it’s a pricey feature adaptation of a classic TV show that, because of the coronavirus outbreak, will instead be debuting via streaming — doomed to a small-screen fate. On the surface, Scoob! looks like a benign, back-to-basics reboot (compared with two regrettable big-screen live-action movies), when in fact, it’s a calculated attempt to revive not just Scooby-Doo and his friends for another generation, but also a handful of other unrelated cartoon characters most kids probably haven’t heard of."
You can read Variety's full review here.
IndieWire - Kate Erbland
"Still, these are welcome characters and amusing storylines, aligned with classic tales about doing good things and keeping close to the people who mean the most to you. If that inspires a longer journey into the wacky world of Hanna-Barbera — more Teen Angels! — it’s a case worth taking on."
You can read IndieWire's full review here.
TheWrap - Steve Pond
"In other words, Scoob! is determined to have its cake and eat it, too – to give the kids an animated mystery complete with slapstick comedy, frenetic action, talking animals and costumed superheroes, but also to keep up a steady stream of inside jokes, many of them aimed at parents who are old enough to remember the origins of the Hannah-Barbara multiverse way back when."
You can read TheWrap's full review here.
AV Club - Katie Rife
"Chief among Scoob!’s crimes is its attempt to launch a Hanna-Barbera shared cinematic universe, a move that seems both craven and kind of quaint now that—Marvel’s success aside—the entire concept of shared universes lies bruised and bleeding in the arena of popular opinion. So while we begin with another much-derided cliché of modern blockbuster filmmaking—the origin story, complete with a scene, a lá Solo, where we learn the mind-numbingly dopey source of the title character’s name—most of the film isn’t really about Scooby (Frank Welker) and his pal Shaggy (Will Forte) at all."
You can read AV Club's full review here.
The LA Times - Justin Chang
"If all the banter and in-jokes don’t overwhelm you, then Dick Dastardly’s army of shapeshifting scorpion robots might do the trick. Or perhaps the spacecraft carrying a dunderheaded do-gooder named Blue Falcon (Mark Wahlberg) and his superior canine sidekick, Dynomutt (Ken Jeong), who may jog the memories of longtime Hanna-Barbera fans. Hijacking the narrative here for tedious stretches, they’re meant to serve as comic-book counterparts to Scooby and Shaggy, of course, but what they really serve is something altogether more depressing and commonplace. Scoob! was never going to be a great musical, but did it have to turn out to be just another superhero movie?"
You can read The LA Times' full review here.
RogerEbert.com - Christy Lemire0comments
"Otherwise, Scoob! is a frantic jumble of retro kitsch and random pop-culture references, including one truly strained (and strange) celebrity cameo. The work of six people who share screenplay and/or story-by credits, it’s a confounding and convoluted origin story to a pretty straightforward Saturday morning cartoon, one that’s been around in various forms for the past 50-plus years."
You can read RogerEbert.com's full review here.