Big Top Scooby-Doo!

  • Review Date: October 8, 2012
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 80 minutes

Common Sense Media says

A circus' spooky werewolf problem is fun for tweens.
  • Review Date: October 8, 2012
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 80 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

Scooby-Doo movies are generally for entertainment not educational purposes, but kids will be exposed to a brief conversation about Russian literature courtesy of Daphne and a clown.

Positive messages

The Mystery Inc. gang is always ready to solve mysteries, even if they interrupt their plans -- in this case to go on vacation. Scooby and his pals prove that you don't have to have everything in common to be unconditional friends. 

Positive role models

The fact that Shaggy, Velma, Fred, Daphne and Scooby can all be such good friends and work together to solve mystery after mystery provides a positive role model for kids learning about teamwork and collaboration. Scooby-Doo and Shaggy aren't fearless, but they rise to the occasion when necessary.

Violence & scariness

The werewolves are pretty frightening, although no one gets seriously hurt. They growl and bare their fangs and chase after the Mystery Inc. gang. Because it's a mystery, several of the characters act quite menacing and do things that make the gang wonder if they are responsible for the werewolf invasion. A werewolf attacks a circus, but the attendees think it is part of the act.

Sexy stuff

A trapeze artist warns Fred not to look at his wife, another trapeze artist.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

There are no product placements in the movie, but all Scooby-Doo DVDs have tie-ins to the plethora of Scooby-Doo merchandise available -- from apparel to games to Halloween costumes.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Big Top Scooby-Doo! is the 18th feature-length entry in the enduring franchise, and this installment contains a few frights in the form of a growling werewolf that chases people and destroys the circus, but no one is seriously hurt. Once again, the Mystery Inc. members collaborate to solve a crime that no one else can seem to figure out -- especially the authorities. 

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

The Mystery Inc. gang heads to Atlantic City for vacation when they decide to check out a traveling circus that has come to town. The circus' ringleader, Marius Brancusi, has had to shutter the Big Top, because he's being hounded by werewolves (who also steal jewelry) and doesn't understand why. To fully investigate, Fred (Frank Welker), Velma (Mindy Cohn), Daphne (Grey DeLisle), Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) and Scooby (Welker) all join the circus in varying roles. What they uncover is that most of the circus performers have secrets and that the wolf man is most likely one of Brancusi's own disgruntled employees.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Scooby-Doo movies are like blue cheese -- just when you think it stinks, you take a bite and realize it's much better than you ever expected. If you're not already a fan, give them a try, because there's some surprisingly clever dialogue and funny bits in these videos. At one point, Daphne -- who has signed on to be the motorcycle stunt performer for the Brancusi Circus -- engages a snobby and curmudgeonly Eastern European clown named Schmatko (Jeff Dunham) in a hilarious conversation about low versus high art. They even discuss Chekhov, Turgenev, and other Russian writers.

As easy as it would be to dismiss the 18th Scooby-Doo special as just another ploy to draw kids into the world of Mystery Inc. merchandise, this is a funny take on circus and werewolf stories without too many distracting subplots to confuse younger viewers. And who doesn't love working up to the climactic moment when the gang figures everything out once and for all? By the time the famous "I would've gotten away with it -- if it had been for those kids and their dog" line is said, you've been notably entertained, if not necessarily blown away. For a straight-to-video special, that's a pretty good accomplishment. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the enduring popularity of Scooby-Doo movies. Why do you think the crime-solving pooch and his friends still appeal to audiences?

  • What are some examples of other crime-solving kids/teens in movies? How does this Scooby-Doo movie compare?

  • Is violence in animated movies less upsetting than in live-action movies? Does the violence seem less threatening since the movie is a comedy?

Movie details

DVD release date:October 9, 2012
Cast:Frank Welker, Grey DeLisle, Mindy Cohn
Director:Ben Jones
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Cats, dogs, and mice, Friendship
Run time:80 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Big Top Scooby-Doo! was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

Write a user reviewThere aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential Apps Guide