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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Kids might pick up a little about Asian culture, but overall the movie's goal is to entertain rather than educate.
"The Gang" is very cooperative, and they strive to help people solve mysteries. The way the movie presents Asian culture is a mixed bag -- some of the stereotypes are a little off-putting (everyone in Japan is always taking photos, Manga-style female violence, etc.), while others are fine (the role of honor in society). There are also themes related to a "master" and a "servant" role.
Positive Role Models
Velma and Daphne are strong female characters whose skills help with problem solving.
Violence & Scariness
A decent amount of violent imagery. Nothing bloody, but there are brutal scenes where sword fighting, martial arts confrontations, and ninja attacks are highlighted. Some threatening phrases and references to violence. "The Sword of Doom shall be your destroyer," yells the Black Samurai, for example.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Girls and teens are shown wearing short skirts and curve-revealing outfits. Nothing new about this. When Daphne and Miyumi engage in martial arts conflict, Shaggy says: "Like, meow. Talk about a kung fu cat fight!"
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Polynesian natives speak in Ooga-booga language, which could be perceived as demeaning.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there are many fight scenes in this straight-to-DVD Scooby-Doo movie -- "samurai" and "sword" are part of the title, after all. Some of the images of the Black Samurai are frightening: He has blazing eyes and sharp fangs, and his presence is larger than life. Themes of master and apprentice take on a master and servant tone, which might be a little off-putting to some parents. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Definitely compelling -- but also focused on fighting -- SCOOBY-DOO AND THE SAMURAI SWORD attempts to bring a little bit of Japanese culture to the mystery at hand. With dragons and ghostly samurais, the feature succeeds in creating an entertaining addition to the Scooby-Doo empire. But the fighting and violence between opponents isn't always appropriate for the youngest viewers. The Black Samurai also cuts a pretty scary figure.
Still, there are jokes and antics and chase scenes galore, which will engage kids. Fans of Scooby and Shaggy will definitely get their fill of zany fun.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.