A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
Parents and caregivers: Set limits for violence and more with Plus
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Scooby-Doo! Return to Zombie Island is typical Mystery, Inc. fare. The story is billed as a "sequel" to 1998's Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, but it's certainly not necessary to revisit the old movie; this one stands alone. Though the gang has vowed to give up solving mysteries, they're drawn into an unexpected adventure. Most of the humor comes from Hollywood "insider" jokes, with an impassioned, amateur film director at the heart of the story. Viewers can expect the usual animated scares: howling, fanged, clawed cats with glowing eyes pop up often; zombies roam the island; and there are chases, falls, narrow escapes, bad guys, spooky music, and special effects.
What's the story?
As SCOOBY-DOO! RETURN TO ZOMBIE ISLAND opens, the gang has made a firm promise, both to Shaggy and Scooby, and also to the local sheriff. They aren't going to try to solve any more mysteries. Their meddling seems to get them (and often others) into a lot of trouble. They're taking their vow seriously, so when they "win" a trip to a tropical island, it's a timely opportunity. No more mysteries, a lot more relaxation. But the island isn't exactly what it seems. In fact, it bears a striking resemblance to an island they visited years earlier, one that had a mystery they never truly solved. They're right, of course. The proprietor of their hotel, Alan Smithee (Michael John Higgins) is a wannabe film director, and he has a major secret up his sleeve. The gang is forced to solve a mystery or two, and zombies and werecats are only the beginning of this new adventure.
Is it any good?
There's enough silly-scary in this Scooby adventure to satisfy the basic franchise formula, and it's fun when the movie sends up Alan Smithee's "auteur" director, a savvy (if obvious) inside joke. This entry will probably be fine for fans who haven't seen Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island from 1998. The 20-year-old movie is well-remembered, even considered a classic, so it's expected that comparisons with Scooby-Doo! Return to Zombie Island won't be kind. Kids who are not yet comfortable with real versus pretend violence may find the frequent appearance of the werecats disturbing, with their gnashing fangs, glowing eyes, and stealthy movements. Even the zombies may be too much for little ones or supersensitive kids. Now celebrating 50 years, Scooby-Doo adventures, with their quirky, likable mystery solvers, find new generations of fans with ease.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the fact that scary movies are fun for some people and not for others. How does your family decide what will work for your household? Here are some tips that can help families decide which movies feel right for all members of the family. Do you think Scooby-Doo! Return to Zombie Island is scary?
If you are a longtime fan of Scooby-Doo, have you noticed shifts that recognize changing cultural attitudes? For example, how has Daphne's character (both behavior and appearance) evolved over the years? How does she now reflect modern social consciousness?
What does the movie have to say about keeping promises?
Scooby-Doo films often parody people, media classics, etc. In this movie, Director Alan Smithee is a major character. Do some research and find out who "Alan Smithee" really is. You might be in for a surprise.
- On DVD or streaming: October 1, 2019
- Cast: Frank Welker, Grey Griffin, Kate Micucci, Matthew Lillard
- Directors: Celia Aranovich Hamilton, Ethan Spaulding
- Studio: Warner Bros. Animation
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 80 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: October 11, 2019
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