Scooby-Doo: The Mystery Begins
Common Sense Media says
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that compared to most movies about high school, this entry in the Scooby-Doo oeuvre keeps it pretty tame. The ghouls and ghosts can be scary to the youngest viewers, but the gang has good chemistry, which helps them get through some problems and allows them to solve their first mystery together.
What's the story?
Coolsville High is a drag for a guy like Shaggy (Nick Palatas), who gets tripped on the bus and ostracized for eating his P. B. and Sardines sandwich. But lucky for him, a dog named Scoobert (voiced by Frank Welker) falls off a truck and dives for cover in Shaggy's basement -- thus beginning a beautiful friendship. Trouble ensues, however, when a tussle on the bus finds Shaggy, Fred (Robbie Amell), Velma (Hayley Kiyoko), and Daphne (Kate Melton) stuck in detention together. The unlikely group soon finds that they share a love of mystery, and that indeed a mystery is taking place right under their noses. The gang has to act quickly so that they will not be blamed for the havoc that ghosts are wreaking on the school property. Can they put aside their differences to solve the mystery?
Is it any good?
Fans of Scooby-Doo will not be disappointed by this live-action foray into the origins of the mystery-solving gang. In fact, when Shaggy calls out, "Scooby-Doo, where are you?" his voice rings out through the decades of the show. The cast really seems to get into the groove of their prescribed roles, bringing a little uniqueness to the otherwise bland Fred and Daphne roles, for example. Velma also shows a little vulnerability and Shaggy seems less stoned and more lovably goofy than in previous incarnations of the series. And though Scooby is a computer-generated image, the vocal talents of Frank Welker make him feel like the old Scoobs.
It's also nice to see that members of the gang read books, hence discovering their mutual love of mystery by noticing that they share taste in reading material. Though teenage tensions are acknowledged, the feelings seem pretty appropriate for the characters' ages. And the plot is full of enough twists and turns to keep adult fans interested. Not intended for the youngest viewers, but interesting enough for tweens, this movie could make for fun sleepover fare.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about friendship. Why does Shaggy have trouble making friends? Does he change to make people like him? Or do the people around him change their view of him?
How do the characters in the movie pre-judge and make assumptions about each other? Is this fair? Why do we humans judge one another before getting to know one another? How might this be harmful? How is it helpful?