Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!: Season One, Vol. 3 - Hello Mummy Review

Looking back on the summer of ’09, a summer of big-scale action blockbusters alternating with star-studded smaller pictures and a few scaled-down gems, it’s easy to forget that tent pole franchises have been around longer than most would care to admit. Scooby-Doo, for one, is still going strong, with a new show and a TV-movie prequel coming out this fall. A bit of research reveals that the series on this DVD, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, ran from 1969 to 1973, consisting of 25 episodes over the course of 2 seasons. Banking on nostalgia, this single volume presents four episodes of the first season, “The Backstage Rage”, “Bedlam in the Big Top”, “A Gaggle of Galloping Ghosts”, and “Scooby-Doo and a Mummy, Too.”

Anyone familiar with the series and its many incarnations (including two feature-length films) will be no stranger to the wafer-thin plots each of the episodes has to offer. With the show just starting out, the writers must have stuck to the now-cliché formula with a startling lack of ambition. In case you still need a summary, each episode goes like this: the gang, consisting of Fred (the natural leader), Daphne (fashionable and seemingly a magnet for danger), Velma (the brain of the group), Shaggy (cowardly and lazy) and his almost-but-not-quite anthromorphic Great Dane Scooby–Doo, comes across a mystery. They then travel to a location, meet a possible suspect, gather clues, involve themselves in a reasonable amount of bland physical comedy, and the mystery is solved. Although the mystery in question may be of a mythical monster, it is actually whichever person they might have come in contact with who has motivations for committing a crime, which are then revealed at the end of the episode. The criminal will often utter the ubiquitous catchphrase, “"And I would have gotten away with it, if it wasn't for you meddling kids!"

The episodes presented here are fairly middle-of-the-road in terms of entertainment quality, with the best of the bunch being “Scooby-Doo and a Mummy, Too.” In this episode, the gang find themselves on a trail of vengeful mummy carrying out an ancient curse. It's short and sweet, a largely guilt-free way to appreciate a series well past its prime. The three other episodes included on the disc are unfortunately bland and wear out their welcome in the predictable opening minutes.

Since you are hopefully now familiar with the formula, it’s best to discuss the technical aspects of the disc. All the episodes are presented in full-screen, which isn’t too bad since most of those of us who grew up on the series or its many reruns on Cartoon Network are familiar with the full-screen treatment. The animation is pretty decent and hasn’t aged too poorly although sequences with a variety of body movements are clearly slow moving and outdated. The chases in particular look laughable, as do the washed out backgrounds. Sound is fine, nothing to write home about but nothing to complain about either. All in all, this volume offers 88 minute of pleasant diversion for fans of the aging show but nothing so much special for newcomers. Quite honestly, fans would be better off buying the full season collection rather than this paltry four episode DVD.

DVD Bonus Features

Allow me a moment to gripe about what constitutes animated entertainment nowadays. The sole special feature, aside from a collection of trailers, on this disc is an episode of Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!, a CW-borne recent spin-off of the Scooby-Doo series. The episode, "High Society Scooby", is not necessarily poor in quality just incredibly generic, bringing little new to the table outside of subpar anime-inspired visuals and a new sense of tech-geekery that lends nothing exciting to the proceedings. Between this and the current line-up on both CN and CW, I can’t help but think back to the good old days of cartoon television, when Animaniacs and Batman: The Animated Series could be caught in animation primetime on a regular basis.

"Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!: Season One, Vol. 3 - Hello Mummy" is on sale September 1, 2009 and is rated NR. Animation, Children & Family, Mystery. Directed by Joseph Barbera, William Hanna. Written by Bill Lutz, Joe Ruby, Ken Spears. Starring Casey Kasem, Don Messick, Frank Welker, Nicole Jaffe, Stefanianna Christopherson .

Sep
07
2009
Mark Zhuravsky • Staff Writer

I'm a prolific blogger, writer and editor who loves film.

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