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Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Warner Home Video
DVD Released: 2/17/2015
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 2/16/2015
Longevity is something to be admired in any industry. To continue doing something for year after year and maintain a level of success is truly a feat. It is especially rare in the field of entertainment, where trends come and go and fickle audiences will turn on you in a minute. So, the fact that Scooby-Doo has been going strong for 46 years is kind of a big deal. The character debuted in 1969 with the television show Scooby-Doo! Where are You? and has appeared in many incarnations over the years and in many mediums. And while there have been some stumbles (I'm looking at you, Scrappy-Doo), the character has remained popular. The latest project is a direct-to-video movie, Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness.
As Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness, we learn that rich industrialist Sly Baron (voiced by Malcolm McDowell) has gotten one step closer to achieve his dream of mass travel to space. He's kicking off a flight of his new ship, and Scooby-Doo (voiced by Frank Welker), and his friends -- Shaggy (voiced by Matthew Lillard), Fred (voiced by Welker), Daphne (voiced by Grey Griffin) and Velma (voiced by Mindy Cohn) -- have won seats on the voyage. They are joined by astronaut Shannon Lucas (voiced by Jennifer Hale), paranoid alien conspiracy theorist Ridley (voiced by Hale), former astronauts Clark Sparkman (voiced by Eric Bauza) and Colt Steelcase (voiced by Jeff Glenn Bennett), football star U-Boat (voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson), and entertainment reporter Zip Elvin (voiced by Mark Hamill). They blast off into space where Fred can't stop pestering Sparkman and Steelcase, while Daphne hits it off with Shannon. Shaggy and Scooby go looking for food, of course. When the ship malfunctions, it is forced to land at Baron's outpost on the moon, which is overseen by his brother, Hudson (voiced by Fred Tatasciore). Once there, Shaggy and Scooby encounter a vicious alien creature. The beast is soon loose inside of the compound, and no one is safe.
Over the years, the Scooby-Doo! franchise has gone through several changes. From the outset, the series has focused on those "meddling kids and their dog" encountering strange creatures and solving mysteries. For years, those supernatural baddies were inevitably revealed to be a person in an elaborate costume. Then, in the late 90s, things changed and Scooby and the gang began to run into actual supernatural creatures. This created a true departure and took the series in a new direction. From there, the various versions of the franchise have vacillated between "real" baddies and "fake" baddies.
This has created an odd dynamic which watching a Scooby-Doo offering and Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness is a great example of this. The alien featured here, whose look certainly owes a debt to the creature from Alien, certainly comes across as real. To this end, the viewer is forced to ask themselves, "Wait a minute, which kind of Scooby-Doo! am I watching here?" In the old days, we always knew that the mask would come off and that everything would fine, but that's not the case here. This is not to imply that anyone over the age of five will be scared by this, but it gives you something to think about.
The other interesting thing about Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness are the homages going on here. With his goal of taking people into space, Sly Baron is clearly based on Richard Branson, although that's where the similarities end. The more intriguing tidbit here is the character of Ridley, who is a barely veiled version of Ripley from the Alien series. She doesn't look like Sigourney Weaver, but her assertion that aliens are real certainly sounds familiar.
With those elements in mind, the unique location aside, Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness does very little to distinguish itself from other Scooby-Doo entries. The gang goes somewhere, Shaggy and Scooby see a monster, no one believes them, and chaos ensues. The only real distinguishing feature here (and we've seen this before) is that the gang is separated for much of the story, as Fred wants to be chums with the astronauts and Velma is jealous of the attention which Daphne is getting. Otherwise, it's status quo with food jokes and Scooby being a fraidy-cat. In other word, fans of Scooby-Doo! will find something to like here.
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness blasts into orbit on DVD courtesy of Warner Home Video. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no grain and no defects from the source materials. The real highlight here are the colors, which are bright and bold. The image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is good, but it reveals some lack of attention in the animation. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are pretty good, and there are a few moments where we are treated to sounds coming from off-screen. The surround sound effects are present at times, but they are mild. The same goes for the subwoofer effects.
The lone extra feature on the Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness DVD is entitled "Space Travel is Groovy!". This 12-minute piece is hosted by Mindy Cohn, who voices Velma in the film. With the help of a Space Camp rep named Bumblebee (?!), Mindy learns about the various components of a space flight including a pre-flight check and communicating with mission control. It's nice that Warner always tries to include something educational on their releases, but this one is a bit vague.
Review Copyright 2015 by Mike Long