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 Reluctant Werewolf is a full-length (92 minutes) movie that was made for television in 1988. In this tale, Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, Scrappy-Doo, and Googie (Shaggy's girlfriend, circa 1988) are the only members of the gang included. There's plenty of cartoon action -- the heroes are subject to a nonstop assault of "weapons" and obstacles as they participate in a Monster Road Rally, hosted by Dracula in Transylvania. They must contend with quicksand, bees, a lava pit, fire, gunshots, dynamite, and all kinds of crashes, falls, as well as the antics of Swamp Thing, Frankenstein, The Mummy, and more. The only female characters veer from featherbrained to competent and back again. Plenty of jokes, puns, and pratfalls keep the Scooby-Doo brand intact. Fine for kids who are comfortable with lots of cartoon jeopardy.
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What's the story?
After Transylvania's resident werewolf retires in SCOOBY-DOO AND THE RELUCTANT WEREWOLF, Dracula (voiced by Hamilton Camp) is desperate for a new werewolf to join the contestants in the annual Monster Road Rally, which is only days away. What would the race be without a canine denizen of the night at the wheel of one of the amazing cars? Research tells Drac that our own Shaggy (Casey Kasem) is the only possible candidate for the job, so he sends out two of his trusted henchmen, the drooling, maniacal Hunch Bunch, to transform Shag into a beast and bring him to Transylvania. Warily joined by girlfriend Googie (B.J. Ward), Scooby-Doo, and his nephew Scrappy-Doo (both voiced by Don Messick), Shaggy agrees to compete, but only after he's promised a return to home and normalcy if he wins. The race is on! Little does Shaggy know... Dracula will never let him win. The cunning vampire, aided by his accomplice Vanna Pira (looking a lot like Vanna White but voiced by Pat Musick), sends an arsenal of weapons and monsters to stop Shaggy and the heroic Scooby Gang at all costs.
Is it any good?
Almost enough jokes and slapstick action in this nifty tale to keep Scooby fans fully engaged, but at 92 minutes (a single car race lasts for almost half the time), it wears out its comic welcome. Made in 1988, Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf features Shaggy, Scooby-Doo, his nephew Scrappy-Doo, and Googie. Fred, Velma, and Daphne are missed, but there are so many monster characters that the screen is fully-populated with funny, over-the-top characters from start to finish. Some masters of evil-doing are particularly amusing -- Dracula and The Hunch Bunch, to name a few. It's interesting to note that most of the later "full-length" Scooby adventures are ten to twenty minutes shorter than this one. It was a smart modification. Lots of comic jeopardy and action makes this best for kids who have learned the difference between real and pretend violence.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how (or if) the Scooby-Doo franchise has changed since Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf was released in 1988. What important elements have remained? What positive additions have been made? Have the filmmakers successfully kept the tone and humor of the early episodes?
Pick three of the "monsters" who guest-starred in this story (i.e., The Mummy, Werewolf, Swamp Thing, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, among them). Find out the origins and legends behind those three characters. What do you think accounts for their continuing popularity?
Create (write and/or draw) a monster of your own. What are his/her special strengths? What makes him/her scary?
- On DVD or streaming: September 19, 2006
- Cast: Don Messick, Hamilton Camp, Casey Kasem
- Director: Ray Patterson
- Studio: Warner Bros. Animation
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Cars and Trucks, Adventures, Friendship, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 92 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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