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 Monster of Mexico is a 2003 installment of the popular Scooby-Doo franchise. For parents who grew up with this cartoon, all the familiar tropes from the original are in full effect -- Shaggy and Scooby have the munchies, Fred's bravery and Velma's brains find clues at the right times, and the bad guys would have gotten away with their evil schemes if not for those "meddling kids." Some of the scenes involving "email" are already quite dated, and the explorations of Mexican culture come very close to feeling like stereotypes. The "Scooby scares," while mild, feature enough images of El Chupacabra, ghosts, rats, and scorpions to cause nightmares in younger or more sensitive viewers, but on the whole, this Scooby-Doo movie contains all the familiar elements children of the '70s and '80s grew up with.
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What's the story?
Scooby, Shaggy (Casey Kasem), and the gang take a trip in the Mystery Machine south of the border to Veracruz, where they learn that El Chupacabra is terrorizing the town and scaring away tourists from their friend's hotel. As they learn of El Chupacabra and of the greedy crooks who seek to make money off the town, Fred (Frank Welker) and Velma begin to suspect foul play. Their adventures lead them throughout Veracruz, into bizarre museums and ancient temples, where they uncover clues and start piecing the mystery together. As "meddling kids," they must work together to find who is behind these "monstrous" appearances, and why.
Is it any good?
There really isn't anything new in SCOOBY DOO AND THE MONSTER OF MEXICO. For parents who grew up watching the cartoon in the '70s and '80s, all the familiar moments are there: Scooby says "Zoinks!," Shaggy has the munchies, the monster is really a bad guy wearing a costume, and the kids are "meddling." That being said, for those who enjoy this familiar formula, and enjoy playing along and trying to solve the mystery, there's much to like in this installment.
However, this film does have the feel of being padded, like it could have easily been 30 minutes instead of 75. Furthermore, the exploration into Mexican culture feels at times as if it borders dangerously close to stereotyping. Still, for fans of the Mystery Machine and her passengers, this comfortable and enjoyably familiar story will entertain.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Mexican culture. Do you think this cartoon accurately depicted Mexican culture? Were there any stereotypes?
How is this Scooby-Doo movie similar to other installments of Scooby-Doo? How is it different?
What is the appeal of Scooby-Doo? Why do you think it has remained popular for so many years?
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