Release: 2012, Video
Starring: Frank Welker, Mindy Cohn, Grey DeLisle, Matthew Lillard
Directed by: Ben Jones
IMDB page: Link opens in a new window
Description: When Mystery Inc. goes to Atlantic City, hoping for a bit of R&R, Fred's fascination with circuses gets them involved in a hunt for a werewolf who've been doing a jewel heist crime spree throughout the nation
The first thing that's going to pop out at you when you watch this movie is also one of the first things that hit the screen. This movie absolutely excellent music, peaking at an absolutely wonderful into-credits sequence. The whole sequence is done in such a way that it looks like cardboard cut-out dolls are on the screen, and the imagery combined with the twisted honky-tonk esque motif that many associate with the circus is genuinely creepy. Not scary - creepy. Which is exactly how a Scooby-Doo movie should be able to convey. That I applaud. Music like this, with the occasional exception, plays throughout the movie to varying degrees of success, none as great as the aforementioned sequence.
However, this movie has a pretty big flaw in it's monster. As sad as I am to admit it, I could not take the character design of the werewolves seriously as all. The snout looks downright strange and the eyes look way too fake. Now of course I know that the monsters in the Scooby-doo franchise are never real, but this made it to a point that it kind of distracted from what was going on, on screen. Which is a shame for the story is actually not half bad and the mystery kept me guessing as to who the perpetrator was throughout, even wondering at times if the movie was going the "monsters are real route" this time which Scooby-Doo movies have, unfortunately, done a lot. I will give the movie this though, the outcome took me by surprise.
Big Top Scooby-Doo! is, if a bit flawed, still neck and shoulder above some of the other direct-to-video and televised Scooby-Doo movies. As with Scooby Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon this feels less like a cinematic experience and more like an extended episode of the What's New Scooby-Doo? TV-show. Don't take that as a criticism though, because that is what I feel the live-action movie should have been. A well-written mystery with some good comedy starring characters that the audience know and love. Once again, the direct-to-video Scooby-Doo movies prove that they're able to give the human members of Mystery Inc. their own appeal that doesn't need to be backed up by Scooby's antics constantly - which is an achievement almost in and off itself.