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! Moon Monster Madness is a typical Scooby-Doo franchise release. Familiar quirky members of Scooby's gang solve a simple mystery with an ample supply of comedy antics, parody of existing cultural icons, and cartoon action. Besides the usual explosions, chases, bumps on the head, and narrow escapes, this entry's central villain is a black, reptilian, fanged alien monster who is a menacing presence in many sequences. It may be too scary for very young kids or sensitive kids who aren't comfortable with imaginary jeopardy. Straightforward messages about teamwork, coping with fear, and self-confidence are delivered with humor. Some stereotypical characters (astronauts, an alien resistance fighter, a media tycoon, and a football player) are satirized with good-natured humor.
What's the story?
How lucky is the Mystery Inc. gang when they win a trip on a spaceship in SCOOBY-DOO! MOON MONSTER MADNESS? Very lucky, indeed. And what wacky people they meet on trip! Three world-famous astronauts, an unstoppable football player, an alien fighter (a parody of Sigourney Weaver's role in the Alien films), and the journey's sponsor, Sly Baron, a media mogul who'll do just about anything to make history -- for himself. But strange things begin to happen before too long. What appears to be a savage alien seems committed to ending their Space Odyssey. The monster badly damages the ship; their air supply is almost gone, and it's only because Sly Baron has another trick up his sleeve that they'll survive. He reveals that he's built the first space resort on the dark side of moon. With just enough air to make it, the troupe sets down on the moon to repair their ship and resume their space adventure. They're crushed when they discover the alien has stowed aboard with them and proceeds to cause all manner of mayhem to stop them once again. Will they capture the alien? Can their spaceship be repaired? Will Velma and Daphne ever stop arguing? Will Scooby and Shaggy find enough food to sustain their insatiable appetites? And who will fly the spaceship home when it looks as if all is lost?
Is it any good?
Lots of topical humor in this story, and the stereotype-bashing is very clever: When U-Boat, a bear of a football player, sings about being afraid, it's a show-stopper. The constant self-admiration of Sly Baron is topped only by the roughneck astronauts' attitude, who realize that age might soon be an issue for them. The action and scary scenes are limited to the usual explosions, falling debris, knockdowns, and character missteps. Only the space alien's presence could be too much for little kids. It flies around with jagged teeth, its burning red eyes, and long dragon-like tail, wreaking havoc on the spaceship and on the moon. Positive messages combine with a surprise ending to make this an enjoyable entry in the Scooby-Doo franchise.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the unexpected resolution in this story. Did you have any idea about who the monster was, or what it wanted, before it was revealed? Think back and see if you can pick up any clues the filmmakers might have given viewers. Is it more fun when you can guess the mystery or when you're fooled?
What is a "parody"? Which characters in this adventure parody (or lampoon) famous celebrity types? What do the filmmakers do here to make these parodies surprising?
Is there a lesson to be learned when the giant, strong U-Boat admits to having fears as everyone does and talks about how he deals with those fears by distracting himself with something positive? What works or might work for you?
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