Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004) — Less on the scoob, more on the doo-doo

“They’re totally having a montage in there without us.”

Justin’s rating: Answering that question, “Whatever happened to Alicia Silverstone?”

Justin’s review: Growing up, Scooby-Doo was never one of those cartoons I was excited to watch. It was more of a, “Eh, it’s either this or some cheesy late-afternoon soap opera, so I guess we’ll go with this” sort of deal. It always felt like the remnants of a pop culture era that came before my time, where any young person with an abundance of free time could enlist their services as a detective of the weird.

Even so, I found the ridiculous repetition of Scooby-Doo’s plots memorable, if just for the fact that there never seemed to be an end to grumpy older people dressing up as ghosts. I guess it was a plague in the late ’60s and early ’70s?

I wasn’t really super-eager to see another Scooby-Doo movie, to tell the truth, but I kind of wanted to see what writer James Gunn would do with the extremely limited source material. The answer? While the first movie humorously examined the odd dynamic of Mystery Inc., the sequel switches its focus to the legacy of the many, many villains from the franchise.

In Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, the Scoobies find themselves stymied when a mysterious figure appears to make their past unmasked foes come back as actual monsters. You know, with no masks. To figure this out, the detectives have to investigate their past enemies (who, for some reason, all congregate in a giant thematic bar called Faux Ghosts).

Meanwhile, Velma is tapping into her latent hotness as she explores a blossoming romance with Seth Green, and Alicia Silverstone shows up as an antagonistic TV reporter. I actually liked Silverstone a lot, always felt it was a shame she dropped off of the map a little after this.

While there are some legitimately clever and funny moments in Monsters Unleashed, it doesn’t have quite the same attitude as the first movie. The look at the world of Mystery Inc. — including the gang’s headquarters — is worth about 10 minutes of screentime, the cartoonishly scary sets makes for another 10, and the color-coordinated cast (blue! green! orange! purple!) could account for a further 10 minutes of genuine entertainment.

Unfortunately, that leaves about an hour of not-quite-funny, not-quite-as-clever-as-it-wants-to-be filler that felt like a drag to get through. So my recommendation is see the first, skip the second, and eat a pile of Scooby snacks.

Didja notice?

  • The Mystery Machine limo
  • Whole lotta criminals disguising themselves as ghosts in this universe
  • Chickenstein
  • Classic Seth Green pratfall
  • I’m kind of digging the Mystery Inc. headquarters
  • “So long suckers!” “Help me, suckers!”
  • That’s a pretty elaborate doorbell trap
  • The phonograph playing “Baby Got Back” was pretty funny
  • “I know that in the end we usually unmask them and it’s a shrively old man inside.” “It’s the same with dating!”
  • Velma’s makeover: “Who’s your mommy?”
  • It’s hard getting into a van in skintight leather
  • The Mystery Inc. whack-a-mole machine
  • Could’ve done without a Scooby-Doo dance number
  • Leather pants make farting noises
  • “Darn bushes yowling at me again!” is something I’m going to use more in my day
  • What Scooby-Doo looks like as an alien
  • Matthew Lillard’s head horribly placed on a woman’s body
  • Tasmanian Devil

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