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 WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon is another tie-in between Scooby-Doo and WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). Actual WWE wrestling stars share the stage with the folks from Mystery, Inc., lending their voices and ring characters to this comic extravaganza of monster cars, monster athletes, and a monster villain. In this untraditional Scooby-Doo tale, Shaggy and Scooby are front and center with the WWE characters while Fred, Daphne, and Velma don't have a lot to do. Cartoon action includes multiple sequences with a looming, powerful "demon" whose glowing red eyes, skeletal form, and menacing growl threaten the heroes. Crashes, plummets, explosions, chases, and one-on-one wrestling battles fill the screen almost continuously. It's all comic violence, all the time, with no serious injuries. In fact, everyone manages to escape with ease from burning cars, steep falls from cliff tops, and extensive wrestling mayhem. While fans who aren't familiar with the wrestling icons seen here will probably find something to like, true WWE enthusiasts will have double the fun. Not for younger kids who aren't comfortable with real vs. pretend violence.
What's the story?
SCOOBY-DOO! AND WWE: CURSE OF THE SPEED DEMON takes place amid the preparations and running of the fictional "WWE Muscle Moto Off-Road Challenge," a three-day racing event that finds a broad assortment of the wrestling world's heroes and villains in battles with one another and with a powerful "demon" who disrupts the event, literally at every turn. The Mystery, Inc. gang is there for the fun. Velma, Daphne, and Fred are spectators. Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) and Scooby (Frank Welker) have gotten the gig they love most -- they're running the food stand with all-you-can-eat everything as their salary. When the first day of the race begins, the Undertaker, Triple H, El Torito & Pals, the Miz, Sheamus, and even Stephanie McMahon (daughter of Vince McMahon, WWE exec who also has a role in the film), and all the other wrestling stars are competing against each other. But when the demon appears, bent on destroying everything, the stars' personal quests must take a backseat to their survival. After an injury, Shaggy and Scooby are recruited to "take a wheel." Even the food stand enters the fray. When the final day of the race dawns, the stakes intensify as the phantom villain becomes more daring. Who or what is the speed demon? Why has he "cursed" the big race? Will the heroes be able to stop the unstoppable? Who will win the million-dollar prize? And finally, how will Mystery, Inc. work their magic and help to save the day?
Is it any good?
If watching countless monster car crashes and WWE warriors lampoon their own outrageous personalities with the Scooby characters along for a wild ride is your cup of tea, you won't be disappointed. For true Mystery, Inc. fans, Scooby-Doo! and WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon might not have enough of the usual gang antics, mystery solving, and team spirit. The franchise has been a part of joint ventures before (Scooby-Doo and Kiss: Rock & Roll Mystery), as well as another wrestling entry. It's fun but probably has more resonance if you're familiar with the gang's "partners." This movie is all about action: the wrestling, the racing mayhem, the villain, the crashes, and vibrant fireworks. Shaggy and Scooby tremble a lot; Fred gets to do a little technical magic; Daphne gets to comment on Stephanie McMahon's clothes and makeup; and Velma figures it all out. But the wrestlers and the cars are the stars here. Not for kids who aren't comfortable with cartoon chaos.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the advantages of putting two popular franchises together in Scooby-Doo! and WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon. How do each of the individual brands expand their audiences and increase sales along with consumer recognition? Why is it important to be aware of this kind of marketing strategy?
Talk about the comic stereotyping in this film (i.e., Russian, Hispanic, Irish). Does the fact that the film characters are based on the ring identities of real wrestlers make the stereotyping more acceptable? Why, or why not?
It seems that there was just enough "story" in this film to justify the constant crash-bang-boom action. How much is too much when it comes to cartoon violence?
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