It may sound odd (in the sense of thinking overmuch about something like Scooby-Doo), but if you’re going to keep going back to the well of characters that have been around this long, there better be a good reason. That’s especially true with Scooby-Doo actually, not least because the plot layout is an institution at this point. It’s also true because even the bonus feature spin has been well-worked by the franchise, including the time the characters themselves provided the commentary track.
That said, Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo is a pretty nice effort. Not only does it live up to the general scheme while still managing a fresh spin, but it also throws in self-referential gags, and works the Scooby magic of zaniness better than the last few I’ve seen. What’s more, my kid loved it.
Our mystery this time around finds us taking a trip to meet Velma’s sister Madelyn, where she’s studying magic at the Whirlen Merlin Magic Academy. Something funny is going on in the ancient castle that was recently purchased to house the school, and when people start reporting seeing a gryphon, the Mystery Inc. crew gets to work. Magic tricks, a spooky history, banshees, and more make for a wild adventure, and not only do Scooby and Shaggy have to deal with the normal terrors, but Shaggy has to come to terms with the idea that Madelyn thinks he’s incredibly brave.
It’s one thing to run away all the time when everyone knows you’re a coward, but now there are some odd choices involved. Besides, Madelyn’s rather cute.
The movie is the complete Scooby package, with such trademarks as the creepy groundskeeper, obvious red herrings, and screwball gags well represented. The laughs and fun moments are there for the younger audience, including a GPS that talks back, and vegetable-flavored ice cream, but there are a few touches for the older crowd as well. Besides just the solid effort that honors a nostalgic treasure well, many will appreciate Brian Posehn making a voice appearance, and the interesting relationship play between Fred and Daphne.
Some fans may be a bit disappointed that there is only one special feature, especially considering that over the last several years these releases have had some especially fun bonuses. Here we get Scooby-Doo and Puppets Too! which teaches you how to make a few different puppets, but there probably isn’t any new material here for anyone who has ever painted a lunch bag before. More elaborate spins maybe, but odds are you’ve made these.
The bonus might be a small letdown, but the movie itself makes up for the fact.