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Sarah Michelle Gellar - "Scooby-Doo 2" Movie - Stltoday.com Review

Wednesday 28 June 2006, by Webmaster

Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed

1:33 PG (for some scary action, rude humor and language)

Genre: Drama

Cast: Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, Linda Cardellini, Seth Green

Director: Raja Gosnell

Scooby and the gang lose their cool—and their stellar reputation—when an anonymous masked villain wreaks mayhem on the city of Coolsville with a monster machine that re-creates classic Mystery Inc. foes like: The Pterodactyl Ghost, The Black Knight and The 10,000 Volt Ghost. Under pressure from relentless reporter Heather Jasper-Howe and the terrified citizens of Coolsville, the gang launches an investigation into the mysterious monster outbreak that leaves Shaggy and Scooby questioning their roles in Mystery Inc. The ever-ravenous duo, determined to prove they’re great detectives, don a series of far-out disguises in their search for clues. Meanwhile, brainy Velma becomes smitten with a key suspect, Coolsonian Museum curator Patrick Wisely, as macho leader Fred and image-conscious Daphne attempt to determine the identity of the Evil Masked Figure who is unleashing the monsters in an attempt to take over Coolsville.

Ahooo! "Scooby-Doo" gang gets it right for No. 2

By Joe Williams

The first "Scooby-Doo" was a mangy mutt that only a child could embrace. It lacked energy or a glossy coat, and it wouldn’t fetch a bone for the fans of the original cartoon show.

Although the sequel isn’t likely to win any trophies, it’s a superior breed. It showcases some impressive special effects and resurrects the spirit of ’70s animation in a live-action movie.

Resurrected spirits are the villains here, as they are in screenwriter James Gunn’s other recent release, "Dawn of the Dead." When a pterodactyl costume in the Coolsville Criminology Museum comes to life and flies off to make mischief, the gang from Mystery Inc. investigates. It’s a matter of pride, because the museum chronicles the gang’s greatest feats - and because reporter Heather Jasper-Howe (Alicia Silverstone) edits the footage of the monster getaway to make the gang look clueless.

The crestfallen crimefighters retreat to their groovy, space-age clubhouse. Brainy Velma (Linda Cardellini) analyzes some evidence that points to Professor Jacobo (Tim Blake Nelson), a criminal mastermind who presumably died in an escape attempt from an island penitentiary. But Jacobo’s old cellmate was Old Man Wickles (Peter Boyle), who owns an old mansion on the outskirts of town. Velma, vainglorious leader Fred (Freddie Prinze Jr.) and kick-butt cutie Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar) infiltrate the creepy compound.

Meanwhile, shame-chastened Shaggy (Matthew Lillard, perfectly zonked) and computer-generated pooch Scooby follow their instincts to a redneck roadhouse where some of Winkles’ associates conspire. The movie has fun with the ’70s references here, as Scooby and Shaggy dance like disco denizens.

More clues lead them to an abandoned mining company, where the gluttonous Shaggy discovers the potion that can animate lifeless props. When the dopey detectives unleash some ghouls - including a pair of cycloptic skeletons that recall Marvin the Martian by way of "Jason and the Argonauts" - the mellow fellows must make their getaway in a thrilling pseudo-snowboard chase.

Back at the clubhouse, Daphne is coaching Velma in the social graces for her date with Patrick (Seth Green), the curator of the criminology museum and a possible source of clues about Jacobo. The bespectacled braniac blossoms in a red-leather jumpsuit, and the movie detours into a surprisingly effective subplot about self-acceptance and internal rivalries within the gang. But the movie resumes its cartoonishly antic pace for a special-effects finale that might reasonably be compared with "Ghosbusters."

Although it’s merely a cinematic snack, "Scooby Doo 2" will please children, parents and Gen-X ironists alike, because it cleverly combines the attributes of its heroes: good looks, brains and a big heart.