I managed to somehow avoid both of the live-action Scooby Doo films. Not even James Gunn’s writing credit and the viciously cartoonish production design could draw me in, and I love the original Scooby Doo, Where Are You? cartoon (and to a much lesser extent, The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo. Just another excuse to hear Vincent Price’s legendary voice). I’ve been told varying opinions from people I trust about those movies, so maybe one day I’ll give them a shot.
However, I’m much more intrigued by THR‘s news that Warner Brothers is taking another swing at the Mystery Incorporated gang, and this time they’re doing the smarter move by making an animated feature film. Scoob and the gang have long been banished to the annals of home video, but this new projects is intended to be a big screen affair.
The two most encouraging names attached to this are Dan Povenmire (as an executive producer) and Allison Abbate (as a regular producer). Povenmire created the unbelievably popular (and for a while, really good) Phineas & Ferb and has worked on such hit cartoons as SpongeBob Squarepants and Rocko’s Modern Life (the best Nicktoon ever. Any other answer is wrong, sorry). Abbate has some serious cred with titles like The Iron Giant and Fantastic Mr. Fox under her belt, so it looks like WB is taking this thing seriously.
Scooby Doo has the potential to be a great horror-comedy aimed at kids, and the world always needs more of those that are done well. The original cartoons often worked because they treated their monsters as genuinely creepy (that fuckin’ hypnotist circus clown is like a thousand Pennywises), and I hope this new movie doesn’t skimp on making their monster(s) actually scary. They could do a whole lot of wacky and surreal stuff with animation.
Speaking of that, the THR piece doesn’t specify how this film will be animated. I really hope they don’t go the obvious route and make it a CG cartoon fest. With people on the staff that have worked on stop-motion and 2D animated projects, I’m guessing (read: praying) this won’t be the case. I’m not against those kinds of movies at all (Inside Out is assuredly going to be one of my favorite movies of the year), but Scooby Doo comes from a legacy of classic Hanna-Barbera toons, and I’d love to see some great 2D animation on the big screen.
The film is already slated for September 21, 2018. Start baking your “special” brownies now.
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