AT THE MOVIES
Scooby-Doo, Who Are You?
By Dr. Ted Baehr
Publisher of MOVIEGUIDE®
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (ANS) -- SCOOBY-DOO is such a popular television
series and so beloved by its fans that there was great concern about making
it into a feature film. With regard to the style of the program and Scooby
himself, the filmmakers have succeeded.
I had the opportunity of interviewing Scooby by phone at the Warner Bros.
press junket. Of course, were really interviewing Scoobys voice,
or the actor who does Scoobys voice, Neil Fanning, an Australian whos
doing a bit part for THE MATRIX II. Fanning is not the voice of Scooby
on the television show. Rather, he was hired to throw lines at the actors
during the production, and he was so good at doing Scooby that they made him
Scoobys voice for the movie.
Anyway, Scooby says it was very difficult dealing with human beings. He said
that they were very temperamental. He found it difficult playing the grandmother
in the movie, not only because he had to get dressed up in a dress but also
because, "I dont have great legs."
When asked how a CGI (computer-generated image) character got the part and
what the future for CGI characters in film would be, Scooby responded, "I
dont take no for an answer."
Director Raja Gosnell said, "I am a SCOOBY-DOO addict, which made
my job easier." He was particularly encouraged by the work of Matthew
Lillard, who did a wonderful job playing Shaggy. Matthew is also a mime, so
he impressed Raja with his ability to walk alongside the imaginary Scooby
and make you feel like Scooby was really there.
In response to my question that one young girl was upset by the fact that
the ghosts were real in the movie whereas in the television series they always
turned out to be men in a mask, Raja said they wanted to make the movie "one
step bigger" and part of that was having "real supernatural beings."
Furthermore, with regard to the real ghosts, Raja noted that they all turn
out to be people on the TV, but the direct to video SCOOBY-DOO movies
broke with this tradition and incorporated real poltergeists and real monsters.
Of course, this is problematic. The reporter next to me said his five-year-old
was scared. The television program made a point of relieving these types of
fears. The movie makes a point of saying these fears may be real.
When asked about all the Scooby lore and Scooby innuendo, Raja said that it
was there "for the parents to see, but the kids wont notice it."
Thus, theres a lot of smoke in Shaggys van and his favorite name
is Mary Jane. And Shaggy always wants some fresh food to eat, as if he were
stoned and had to fill up that empty pit in his stomach.
The screenwriter James Gunn, on the other hand, said that they were slightly
obtuse because, "Its the parents we have to appease. The kids dont
Another borderline aspect is, of course, Velmas attraction to Daphne.
To get the PG rating, they cut out Velma dancing on the piano and singing
a torch love song that could have referred to Daphne. They also cut out Daphne
and Velma kissing so that they could exchange souls. In the movie, however,
Velma does tickle Daphne, and Freds soul inhabits Daphnes body,
and he seems quite pleased with being able to feel his new body.
Whether these innuendoes will attract an audience or discourage an audience
is open to question. They said that they had two versions of the movie, an
adult version and a kid's version. They went with the kid's version, according
to Raja. However, our review questions whether they really hit the family
film market on the mark.
Sarah Michelle Gellar surprised me by being so enthusiastic about family
films. She not only said, "We need more family films," but she also
believes multiplexes destroy the family film because "the parents can
go to one film and the kids can go to another." Whatever the reason, she seems
to be a real advocate of family movies, which seems a little out of character
to her BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER role on TV.
Freddie Prinze Jr. was very outspoken about his feelings. He wanted to do
the movie because he had already collected every single SCOOBY-DOO
episode. He said the success of the SPIDER-MAN movie showed "he
was not just a comic book nerd." He felt that the villain Scrappy Doo
was just "a rodent" and never liked him in the series.
The good news is that the filmmakers decided not to go with the adult version,
but rather to reach the family audience. The question is, did they cut enough
of the salacious material to achieve their goals?
Copyright © Ted Baehr, 2002.
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