A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Scooby-Doo! and the Gourmet Ghost finds the Mystery, Inc. gang tackling another mystery. The story (the 31st direct-to-DVD movie of the franchise) is another in the series of tie-ins with popular cultural phenomena (e.g., WWE, the rock group KISS). This time the gang meets up with super chef Bobby Flay and other star culinary artists. The friends must find and rid a New England resort of a rampaging ghost, legendary since the times of the Revolutionary War. There are silly jokes and silly scares, and Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) and Scooby (Frank Welker) are up to their ears in fabulous food. Cartoon action makes this best for kids who are comfortable with real versus imaginary danger. The scary "Red Ghost," red-eyed, fang-equipped, with a swooping black cape, swishes and hisses its way through the inn with regularity. The ghost is accompanied by electrical eruptions, occasional fires, lightning, and flashing lights. The good guys are under siege and resort guests are menaced as they are forced to "run for their lives."
What's the story?
Super chef Bobby Flay (voiced by Bobby Flay) is revealed to be Fred's uncle in SCOOBY-DOO! AND THE GOURMET GHOST. The gang is invited to the opening of The Rocky Harbor Culinary Resort, Bobby's newest endeavor. The beautiful retreat is the restored inn of Chef Edward D'Flay, a hero of the Revolutionary War and creator of the first take-out meals (wrapped in parchment as was fitting at the time). Nephew Fred and his team arrive and are delighted to discover that Bobby has installed a coterie of popular chefs and an automated kitchen, and is about to televise the gala event. To Bobby's dismay, however, the centuries-old "Red Ghost" thought to have been responsible for Edward D'Flay's mysterious disappearance has appeared for the first time since 1780. The ghost is wreaking havoc in Bobby's world. But timing is everything. The Rocky Harbor Culinary Resort is in luck. Investigating a Red Ghost is just the thing to make the Mystery Inc. team's visit even more exciting.
Is it any good?
Velma (Kate Micucci) is in top sleuthing form; Shaggy and Scooby find themselves in foodie heaven; and a mystifying ghost threatens celebrities -- what could be more franchise-perfect than that? In fact, rather than the usual easy-to-figure-out villain, Scooby-Doo! and the Gourmet Ghost has an array of evil-doing suspects. The mystery's unraveling may actually be surprising. Familiarity with Bobby Flay and the other TV celebrity foodies will be a plus for viewers, but regular Scooby-Doo! fans won't be disappointed even if they're not familiar with the big names, high-tech kitchen, and gourmet cooking.
This direct-to-DVD movie is the latest in a successful, almost 50-year run: The franchise first appeared in a CBS television series on September 13, 1969, when Hanna-Barbera delivered a "nonviolent" Saturday morning show to mollify worries about the pervasive, action-packed superhero programs. Always with an entree that's pretend-scary and a healthy side dish of silly jokes, as well as a little "food for thought," this gourmet adventure is a pleasing addition to the menu.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the scary stuff in Scooby-Doo! and the Gourmet Ghost. Why is it important that little kids are comfortable with real versus pretend violence before viewing this movie and many others in the Scooby-Doo! franchise?
The Scooby-Doo! gang has appeared in a number of movies that tie in with other franchises, such as wrestling (WWE). How do tie-ins like those and this one with famous chefs benefit the movie makers, the toy companies, and the celebrity franchises?
In explaining the mystery, Velma says, "It isn't supernatural electrical phenomena, it's just science." Science does appear magical sometimes. Can you think of an occurrence that might prove Velma's statement?
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