One of the most beloved cartoon characters of our time, “Scooby-Doo,” was given the big screen treatment in 2001. The film made even more exceptional by the fact that it was live action. The reception, however, wasn’t overtly positive among the die-hard fans. Making a conscious effort to improve and build upon the last film, the makers have come much closer to what the fans were expecting the first film to be like in the new “Scooby Doo 2.” As the film opens, the local museum is opening an exhibit showcasing some of Mystery, Inc.’s best captures. However, it is interrupted by a masked ghost who is turning the costumes of their past exploits into real ghosts and releasing them onto Coolsville. To make matters worse for the group, Shaggy and Scooby are questioning their roles as part of the gang and there is a news reporter (Alicia Silverstone) who is trying to expose the gang as fakes. The film introduces a number of characters as possible suspects, but it will keep audiences guessing as to who the actual culprit is until the end.
All the stars, as well as the the film and seem to have lived and learned from the first film. The sequel doesn’t contain as much of the cartoonish humor or cater to children as much, and keeps the plot grounded into some kind of reality. Unlike the first one, the characters are more fleshed out. The sequel seems to have taken more care to correct what many people didn’t like about the original, as well as moving away from the inside jokes about Velma’s sexuality and Shaggy being a stoner.
All the actors seem much more comfortable working with each other this time around, even new cast members, including Silverstone. She is rock solid in her role as a TV reporter, which is a change of pace for the usually perky good girl. Silverstone and Sarah Michelle Gellar have great chemistry as feuding foes; unfortunately, there aren’t enough scenes of them together.
One problem that the film does have is the amount of CGI that it uses with all of the monsters, and of course for Scooby. At times it gets to be too much and you might find yourself asking what happened to the good old days when regular special effects were used in movies.
“Scooby Doo 2” achieves what very few film sequels are able to do lately, which is to come back better than the original. It is sure to please fans of the cartoon and whet their appetite for the third installment of the franchise.