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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 10 July, 2002, 09:47 GMT 10:47 UK
Scooby goes to the dogs
The gang get ready for their mission
The film version subverts the original cartoon

After The Flintstones, Inspector Gadget and Josie and the Pussycats, it was only a matter of time before Scooby-Doo got the live-action treatment.

But judging from Raja Gosnell's chaotic, frenetic and often incoherent caper, it is more a case of Scooby-Don't.

It must have seemed a good idea at the time to put flesh on the two-dimensional bones of Fred, Daphne, Velma and Shaggy - those pesky kids who used to zip around Cartoonland in their trusty Mystery Machine van.

The problem is Scooby-Doo himself, here rendered as a computer-generated creation that looks nothing like his four-legged forebear.

Linda Cardellini
Velma has a sexier image than in the cartoon
With barely a paws to get reacquainted, the movie opens with Mystery, Inc. getting to the bottom of yet another supernatural conundrum - a lively interlude that ends with a cameo from the gravity-defying Pamela Anderson.

But all is not well. Bespectacled nerd Velma (Linda Cardellini) is annoyed because cocky hunk Fred (Freddie Prinze Jr) keeps taking credit for the gang's successes.

And voluptuous vamp Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is angry when her cohorts suggest her only contribution is to get kidnapped by the bad guys at every opportunity.

Despite the best efforts of slacker Shaggy (Matthew Lillard), the gang go their separate ways - only to be reunited soon afterwards by wealthy impresario Mondavarious (Rowan Atkinson), who needs their help to solve a mystery on his "Spooky Island" resort.

Can the gang set aside their differences long enough to crack the case? They will need to - especially as it involves genuine spooks, not the "nut jobs in Halloween costumes" they usually encounter.

Scooby-Doo
"The interaction between the human and CGI characters is jerkily unconvincing"
What fun there is here involves the sly subversion of the original TV series - swapping Velma's orange turtleneck for a cleavage-enhancing crop-top, for example.

(At one point Daphne and Velma shared a clinch - zoinks! - but the sequence was cut lest it upset the little ones.)

And Scooby's nephew Scrappy Doo makes an appearance entirely in keeping with fans' negative perception of that pipsqueak pup.

But the interaction between the human and computer-generated characters is jerkily unconvincing, and James Gunn's script is painfully lacking in invention and wit.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the scene where Shaggy and Scooby engage in a duel of burps, belches and guffs.

You know you have reached rock bottom when the best Hollywood can offer is a farting dog.

Scooby-Doo is released in cinemas nationwide from Friday 9 July. Special previews are running this week in selected cinemas.

See also:

10 Jun 02 | Entertainment
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