Thursday, 6 February 2014
Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004)
In video games, the second entry in a franchise is often an improvement on the first. The best elements of the original are refined and expanded; the worst elements revised or removed. This is not often true with movies, however.
Which is one reason that Monsters Unleashed is such a pleasant surprise. It's funnier than the first, and when it resorts to fart-based humour it does so for plot-related reasons, rather than just because they figure there will be eight year olds in the audience. It's also a better Scooby Doo film, being tonally a better match for the source material, having monsters that genuinely feel like something off the show and better developed red herrings for who the bad guy might be. It also features the greatest use of a Bon Jovi song in cinema history.
This is a breezy, fun film that genuinely seems to like its source material (unlike the first, which mainly seemed to mock it). I was never a huge fan of the TV show myself, but going the send-up route when you do an adaptation is often a risky move, and the first movie fell a little flat in that regard. I consider this a marked improvement on every front. I'm not sure why it got negative reviews on release. I do understand why it was a box office disappointment, though: I doubt many people expected all that much of it after the first one.
Worth a look if you have fun memories of the original TV show, or are in the mood for some childish fun.