Scooby-Doo! Legend of the Phantosaur
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this animated Scooby-Doo adventure features potentially frightening sequences of ghost dinosaurs that may be too intense for preschoolers. As in most of the Scooby gang's escapades, there are some moments of tension and peril, but no one is seriously hurt. In this story, Velma flirts with a like-minded young scientist, and the two go out to dinner and even briefly touch hands. But forget fledgling romance: Scooby and his four teen mates are all about crime-solving collaboration.
What's the story?
Shaggy (voiced by Matthew Lillard) has a hysterical response to fear, so his doctor suggests that he stay away from any Mystery Machine adventures. Daphne (Grey DeLisle) suggests they go to a relative's resort spa in a desert town, so Scooby (Frank Welker) and the gang -- including Velma (Mindy Cohn) and Fred (Welker) -- head there for a relaxing vacation, only to discover the small hamlet is the site of an important paleontological discovery. But it's not the fossilized dinosaurs that the "meddling kids" have to worry about ... it's the appearance of the ghost dinosaurs that keep scaring off the locals.
Is it any good?
Sometimes direct-to-video movies will pleasantly surprise you, especially if you have low expectations. SCOOBY DOO! LEGEND OF THE PHANTOSAUR is one of those funnier-than-imagined animated productions that will delight kids (at least those old enough not to be scared off by the roaring phantosaurs) and make parents laugh aloud at the occasionally witty (and sarcastic) dialogue.
The movie features an impressive voice cast; in addition to the five leads, there are some stand-out supporting players (comedic character actor Fred Willard is particularly memorable as a scientist and resort owner, as is daytime soap actress Finola Hughes as a leading paleontologist). The plot line is interesting and delves into ancient Native American legends and the conflict between commerce and science; it even adds a dash of romance for adorably dorky Velma. At the end of the story, the "meddling kids" naturally catch their villains, but along the way there are a couple of twists and turns to keep kids guessing.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about how the gang works together to help solve crimes. How do each of their strengths contribute to figuring out the mystery?
How do the animated adventures compare to the live-action movies? Is one type scarier than the other? If so, why? How about the classic cartoons? Which do you prefer?
Why do you think Scooby-Doo stories still appeal to audiences? What are some other movies that feature crime-solving kids?