A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The show clearly aims to entertain rather than to educate, but the story does include some surprisingly positive messages about friendship, communication, and teamwork.
The mystery gang is a model of teamwork, and every member plays the hero role at some point during the movie. Some potty humor, including a scene of Scooby preparing to lift his leg on a dresser in his room, and one of the lake monster vomiting the slimy contents of his stomach.
Positive Role Models
Overall the teens are a good bunch and form a productive team despite their vastly different personalities. The show's discourse on relationships emphasizes how different they are (Fred and Daphne disagree on the seriousness of their relationship, for instance), but a high point of the movie is the maturity with which the four teens resolve this lingering -- and potentially uncomfortable -- issue at the story's end.
Violence & Scariness
Violent content is limited to a brief fistfight and some slapstick-style bumps and falls. However, the characters' perilous situations make for some scary moments. A slobbering lake monster is shown growling into the camera multiple times, and multiple occasions find him in pursuit of -- and sometimes nabbing -- Scooby and his friends. There's mention of a witch being burned at the stake, a character is possessed by an evil spirit, and in one scene, Fred and Daphne are locked in a boat that's being sunk in an apparent attempt on their lives.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A subplot explores developing love interests between Fred and Daphne, and Shaggy and Velma. Each relationship is mostly innocent -- and punctuated with one kiss apiece -- but problems arise when Fred wants to "play the field" and Daphne's ready for something more serious. Both parties are shown flirting with other teens, which sparks jealousy in the one left out. In one scene, the characters sing a song about wanting to "spoon." In another, Fred walks around shirtless.
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Products & Purchases
The movie is part of a huge franchise that includes multiple animated series and a host of other movies (both animated and live action), as well as nearly every conceivable toy, game, and accessory. The story concludes with the mystery gang renaming themselves "Mystery Incorporated," which is also the name of the most recent installment in the Scooby cartoons.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie's live-action style makes all of the content more realistic than kids will be used to from the cartoons, so the multiple monster scenes and frequent perilous situations ensure it's not for the very young. What's more, the relationships developing among the characters prompt some discussions about dating that are more suitable for teens than kids, though the movie's overall silliness makes it a hard sell for these older viewers. That said, those aficionados who can take this latest addition to the Scooby franchise will enjoy the actors' efforts to bring these characters to life almost as much as they'll like the humorous references to the original cartoons themselves. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
CGI truly is a modern marvel to make movies like this a possibility, seamlessly blending live and generated images into a nearly believable visual experience. Unfortunately for this movie, though, this conjured reality makes for much scarier content throughout, so despite its ties to cartoons young kids might be watching, it's not a good option for them.
What's more, the subplot revolving around budding love between Fred and Daphne and Shaggy and Velma raises some content that's not really suitable even for young tweens. Fred and Daphne are misled about each other's commitment to their relationship, and their uncertainty confuses Shaggy, who turns to them for guidance about his own feelings for Velma. All is not lost, however, since the friends take a mature approach to the inevitable resolution at the show's end and prove that they value their friendship above everything else.
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.