Let’s send Shag and Scoob on a quest. No MMORPG required.
Voice cast: Wallace Shawn, Lauren Bacall, Tim Curry, Wayne Knight, Jim Belushi, Hayden Panettiere… along with stalwarts, Casey Kasem (he’s in his 70s!), Frank Welker (pulling double-duty as Fred and Scooby), and Mindy Cohn (Natalie from “Facts of Life” as Velma???).
“So, Scoob ol’ pal, the tape said, ‘Henrietta is dead. I could not bring myself to dismember her corpse. But I dragged her down the steps… and I buried her. I buried her in the cellar. God help me, I buried her in the earthen floor of the fruit cellar…’ Like, are you thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’?”
“Ryeah! Fruit rellar. Mmm mmm. Fruit!”
A debunked and disgruntled magician threatens to destroy the balance of supernatural power when he stumbles upon real magic from the fairy realm. Can our favorite cowards (S & S) find the courage to infiltrate the spirit world and stop The Amazing Krudsky from getting his greedy hands on the Goblin Scepter? Will our world fall into chaos when everyone turns into horrible Halloween monsters (ala the obscure 70s Halloween special, “Witch’s Night Out”)? Will the powers of Halloween night rule here forever? Will David Bowie show up in tight pants?
I watched this DVD with my daughter on Halloween, while elbow-deep in pumpkin innards. It was an apropos and entertaining backdrop to our festivities. Scooby-Doo and The Goblin King continues the new tradition (since Zombie Island) that the ghosts and goblins Mystery Inc investigates are actually flesh & blood (and/or ectoplasm), and not costumed real-estate speculators. As the inciting incident, the “meddling kids” expose a fraud (Krudsky) at a Halloween carnival, setting the movie’s rollercoaster ride into motion. I don’t mind the new twist on the old formula (my family has all the original eps of “S-D… Where Are You?” on DVD as well), due to it opening the classic property to a whole new realm of possibilities.
Linus failed to tell his friends that the heads of doubters and blasphemers would be offered up as sacrifice to The Great Pumpkin.
And boy, does this animated flick explore those possibilities. I really dug the kitchen-sink approach of Goblin King. Much like the live-action Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, it throws just about every kind of ghoul at the viewer (including a few cameos of classic S-D villains during a cantina scene), while covering it all in a Mad Monster Party candy-apple coating. It’s frequently amusing, contains quite a few well-staged action segments (a haunted train-ride, a Headless Horseman chase, a flying broomstick jaunt, etc), and slips in some cross-dressing and a few tunes for those who prefer the Rocky Horror side of the holiday (Curry does not sing, unfortunately).
“… the goth-pop girl group, Ghouls Gone Wild, perform their chart-topping hit, “Dead Girls Don’t Say NO”… Daphne, Here’s your request and dedication.”
Not surprising, Freddie, Daphne, and Velma don’t get nearly as much screen time as the 2 favorites (it’s mostly S & S on a Wizard of Oz type journey through a weird and spooky Halloween Wonderland), but besides that, there’s not much for me to gripe about. Even an old childhood favorite of mine, Fangface (a fellow Ruby/Spears creation), gets a shout-out! I appreciated how Velma, instead of typically losing her glasses, is taken out of commission when she faints due to “rational mind overload”. The somewhat serpentine story may be a tad overloaded, but it’s never boring.
Velma still hasn’t found a Peppermint Patty to her Marcy, but the hormone therapy is progressing better than expected.
In addition to the afore-mentioned elements, there’s a talking pumpkin, a trio of witches, a goblin army, a werewolf bouncer, and several transmogrifications (including a magical and monstrous Mystery Machine makeover). On the performance track, the voice acting’s all well-cast and top notch. I haven’t watched all of the Scooby-Doo full-length movies (Zombie Island, Witch’s Ghost, and Alien Invaders are the last ones I caught in entirety), but I’m assured from a S-D aficionado and animator friend of mine that the production values of Goblin King are higher than the last few luke-warm entries.
“You tell that Ed Harley I’m not digging up my vengeful handi-capable demon-spawn again until he *licks lips*… pays me for the last time.”
Separated at birth?
Sure it’s Saturday morning material and this franchise is never going to soar above its roots and attain Pixar prestige, but there’s a genuine reason why it’s lasted 4 decades. When this property aims for its core ingredients (fun likeable characters, monsters & mysteries) with a simple funhouse approach, it usually hits the kid-demographic bullseye. If you have rugrats that dig the goofy Great Dane and his archetypal pals (or you’re a completist fan of these nearly-40-year-old Hanna-Barbera characters yourself), I foresee you giving this disc a spin in the near future. “The future? As in stuff that hasn’t happened yet and therefore might be changed if we embark on a perilous quest to alter the hand of destiny? Like that kind of future?” Exactly, Norville “Shaggy” Roberts, my man. You read my mind.
Fred didn’t know what to expect when “Pimp My Maximum Overdrive” came a knockin’.
The program’s barely feature length, but manages to pack in as much Halloween fun as it can throughout its brisk 75 minutes. Picture and sound is actually slightly superior to what you’d expect from a Warner Home Video made for TV cartoon, even though they decided to stick with the standard aspect ratio (preserves the original presentation). It’s fairly bare on the special features front (couldn’t toss on a classic monster-mashy ep or 2?), but the “You Believe in Magic?” lessons kept me busy long afterwards. I learned to make a playing card disappear via sleight of hand. How friggin’ cool is that? I’m now booking kids’ birthday parties. I don’t care if your ungrateful little yuppy larva prefers He-Man.
So that’s what Jareth was keeping tucked into the front of his royally snug pantaloons. “Dance, Magic Dance” indeed.
7.5 out of 10