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AT THE MOVIES

Scooby-Doo, Who Are You?

By Dr. Ted Baehr
Publisher of MOVIEGUIDE®

CBN.comHOLLYWOOD, 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, we’re really interviewing Scooby’s voice, or the actor who does Scooby’s voice, Neil Fanning, an Australian who’s 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 Scooby’s 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 don’t 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 don’t 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 won’t notice it." Thus, there’s a lot of smoke in Shaggy’s 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, "It’s the parents we have to appease. The kids don’t care."

Another borderline aspect is, of course, Velma’s 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 Fred’s soul inhabits Daphne’s 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.

For more information from a Christian perspective, order the latest MOVIEGUIDE® magazine by calling 1-800-899-6684(MOVI) or visit the Web site at www.movieguide.org. MOVIEGUIDE® is dedicated to redeeming the values of Hollywood by informing parents about today's movies and entertainment and by showing media executives and artists that family-friendly and even Christian-friendly movies do best at the box office year in and year out. MOVIEGUIDE® now offers an online subscription to its magazine version at www.movieguide.org. The magazine, which comes out 25 times a year, contains many informative articles and reviews that help parents train their children to be media-wise consumers. MOVIEGUIDE® also regularly broadcasts several international TV and radio programs hosted by Dr. Baehr. Also, if you want to train your family to be media-wise, call 1-800-899-6684 in North America to order the book, video or audio version of THE MEDIA-WISE! FAMILY, Dr. Ted Baehr's latest book.

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