By Kristen Baldwin
October 18, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT

Even as a cartoon, Scooby-Doo possessed qualities befitting the summer blockbuster it would ultimately become: convoluted plots, stock characters, classic themes like Good vs. Crotchety Old Amusement Park Owner. As a movie, ”Scooby” is exactly what you’d expect: a big-budget, candy-colored caper with more CGI (like the titular pooch and, possibly, Freddie Prinze Jr.) than real things. ”Doo” sends the Scooby Gang — Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Shaggy (Matthew Lillard), Velma (Linda Cardellini), and Fred (Prinze) — to Spooky Island, a tropical theme park where something sinister is turning kids into jive-spewing monsters.

Wedged between the haunted high jinks are a few witty asides, like Velma’s wry takedowns of damsel-in-distress Daphne (”Oh, please, you come with your own ransom note”). The characters look tiny amid the elaborate Spooky sets (in the DVD’s cast commentary, Gellar wisely opines that the sequel should include a scene in which the Gang runs and runs while the background stays the same), and the extended gas-off between Shaggy and Scooby doesn’t contribute much to the cinematic canon. Still, as Lillard points out, ”the kids go crazy for fart scenes” — and with movie execs, the ends always justify the means.

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