Scoob!

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A quartet of counterfeit Nancy Drews and Hardy Boys team with a talking Great Dane to solve crimes of the supernatural. I was a teenager in 1969 when this marginally-animated Hanna-Barbera creation first cracked the Saturday morning cartoon lineup, a 14-year-old so smitten by the squash-and-stretch wizardry of Looney Tunes and the Fleisher Brothers that my initial reaction was, “Scooby Dooby Don’t!” Over the years, several episodes have passed before my gaze, but other than Casey Kasem (the original “Snuggles”) voicing the part of a hirsute stoner and the occasional guest cameos — who’ll ever forget The Ghastly Ghost Town episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies with The Three Stooges? — my first impression stands firm. But the original series is Fantasia compared to director Tony Cervone’s Jibjab e-card presentation. What separates the central characters from their cookie-cutter computer-generated counterparts wandering the background? Start with the polyvinyl chloride blush to the cheeks of the hydrocephalic noggins teetering atop the principal players’ Q-tip builds. A brief scene in a hall of mirrors breaks the monotony of the intergalactic video game by actually testing the limits of animation. And there is one old timer on board deserving of praise: Frank Welker. Don Messick was Scooby’s original voice-master, but it was Welker who ushered the dog into the new millennium, and he continues to find work to this day. There are numerous background nods to ghosts of H&B cartoons past — Peebles Pet Shop, Hong Kong Phooey, Jonny Quest, etc. Modernizing Muttley resulted in a squeeze squirt of Hershey’s Syrup to suggest a lip line. And keeping with the tradition of celebrity appearances, Simon Cowell jumps the Jabberjaw as himself. (2020) — Scott Marks

Rated PG | 1 hour, 33 minutes
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