Monday, October 11, 2010

Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare Original Movie DVD Review

 Scooby-Doo Camp Scare DVD cover - image copyright 2010 Warner Home VideoScooby-Doo is the show that refuses to die. First cranked out by the Hanna-Barbera animation factory in 1969, the premise of 4 teenagers and a Great Dane driving around solving mysteries in their psychedelic Mystery Machine has been rebooted more times than a Windows Vista computer.
Warner Premiere's latest direct-to-DVD animated film, Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare, takes the show back to its roots while updating it for the 20th Century. With classic hijinks matched to taut action sequences, this flick should please older fans and newcomers alike.

Warner Premiere's Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare Stars Frank Welker, Matthew Lillard, Grey DeLisle
When Fred (Frank Welker) takes the Mystery Inc. gang back to his old summer camp, they discover Camp Little Moose is being haunted by an axe-wielding maniac known as The Woodsman. Naturally Daphne (Grey DeLisle), Scooby (Frank Welker again), Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) and Velma (Mindy Cohn) want to help rescue stop Camp Little Moose from getting shut down by these hauntings but, as more monsters appear to menace the camp, can those meddling kids find out who's responsible?
Like Tom and Jerry, the difficulty with rebooting Scooby-Doo is how to respect the original concept while still keeping it fresh. Obviously computers and GPS technology enter into the equation but Fred still has his ascot, Velma still says, "Jinkies!" and the 'monster' is still some guy in a goofy outfit.
While the supernatural was effectively used in previous incarnations – it worked in Scooby-Doo and the Samurai Sword, less so in The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo – Camp Scare keeps it real and the flick is much better for it. Sure, you can pretty much identify who will be behind the mask in the first 15 minutes, but there's an extra twist that makes this film more watchable than the more recent film Abracadabra-Doo!
What makes Camp Scare stand out is the effective action sequences. Sure, The Woodsman chasing the gang around a forest is kinda silly, and a sequence featuring a flying banshee even more so, but an underwater chase between the gang and a fish monster delivers more than its fair share of thrills.
Scooby-Doo Camp Scare DVD Extras
There's a bonus cartoon 'Beware the Beast From Below' an episode from the 2010 reboot Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. The show rehashes the classic formula while throwing an origins tale for good measure and pits the Mystery Inc. gang against various monsters and their main antagonist, Sheriff Bronson Stone (Patrick Warburton) or the villainous Mr. E (geddit?).
It also throws in some complications, such as Velma and Shaggy's attempts to hide their relationship from Scoob or Daphne trying to romance a clueless Fred. Kudos for getting alt-pop singer Matthew Sweet* to write the theme song, and also to the writers responsible for one-liners like, "That looks like radioactive waste. We should open it up as soon as possible" or "Welcome to Fruitmeier's. Remember, kids, it's not ice cream, it's not fruit. Heh, I don't know what it is!"
Less successful is the featurette 'Scooby-Doo Camp Stories,' where Cooper "a counselor here at Camp Satchmo" tells some supposedly spooky campfire tales.
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare a Return to Form for Venerable Franchise
While no one's expecting genius from Scooby-Doo, Camp Scare is genuinely entertaining for both kids and adults, and that's all you really need. It gets a 3/5.
Fun Fact: Matthew Sweet covered "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?" for the 1995 alt-rock compilation Saturday Morning Cartoons' Greatest Hits.

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