Thursday, October 11, 2012

Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Parent: "Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf" (1988)

Hanna-Barbera worked hard to find new things for their cash cow Scooby-Doo to do, and that explains this silly mid-1980's full-length animated film.

Shaggy, Scooby-Doo, Scrappy-Doo, and Shaggy's girlfriend Googie race cars in auto races. A group of monsters meet in Transylvania for the Monster Road Race, and must replace the now retired werewolf. Luckily, the moon is right to create a new werewolf in the form of Shaggy. Count Dracula sends a duo known as the Hunch Bunch to change Shaggy into a werewolf, and they kidnap him and his friends back to Transylvania to drive in the race. As the werewolfed Shaggy and Scooby drive the race car, Scrappy and Googie follow behind them and the four try and outsmart the other cheating monsters who are competing. Count Dracula and Vanna Pira are commentators, and are also trying to get Shaggy to lose.

This thing clocks in at ninety-three minutes, and that is much too long. The original Scooby-Doo gang is jettisoned for this forced comedy. The screenwriter, trying to make this as long as possible, fills the last half hour with the car race, which may test even the most patient child Scooby-Doo fans. There are some funny lines: Vanna's idea of color commentary is to name the colors she sees, and the local townspeople are forced to cheer for the monsters, but the film makers think this is so original they repeat the jokes constantly. The first time, it is amusing, after that it is desperate.

The animation itself is strictly Saturday morning mediocrity and nothing more. The entire product has a hurried rush to it, as if they knew kids would buy it no matter what, so why put any effort in to it? This is kind of like Disney's straight to video sequels to their theatrical films.

If you must rent anything with Scooby-Doo on it, I recommend either the old episodes or the new anime-type films on video. I am not reluctant in not recommending "Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf." (*) out of five stars.