05/09/2013

Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon (2012)

Film: Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon
Release: 2012, Video
Starring: Frank WelkerMindy CohnGrey DeLisle
Directed by: Michael Coguen
IMDB page: Link opens in a new window
Description: After stopping yet another crook in a monster suit, Mystery Inc. goes to a comic convention where Scooby and Shaggy are hoping to meet their hero - The actor who played Blue Falcon on their favorite TV-show. But as is always the case, problems are never far away as the reveal of a new reimagined Blue Falcon movie is haunted by the original hero's nemesis, Mr. Hyde.

Hans' thoughts:

The existence of this movie is to me - completely surreal. Not only are we talking about Warner Bros. actually mentioning a lot of the old school Hannah Barbera characters again - they're doing so through a parody of their own business practices. Well, to some extent anyway.

If you're more than a little familiar with the Hannah Barbera characters of yore like I am, you will be thrilled by this movie. Most of the movie takes place in a convention hall and for some reason the creators decided to make all the convention goers and posters reference classic Hannah Barbera series. If you're not though, fret not! Because as a Scooby-Doo cartoon this is actually above average as well. As opposed to most of the TV-show episodes, you actually get a lot more face time with the individual members of Mystery Inc. and the writers give them more well-rounded traits. It is much more than telling them apart by looks and catchphrases this time around. Judging by the animation style of the movie, I suspect it was the team behind What's New Scooby-Doo? that created this little gem.

Scooby-Doo has had a ton of Direct-to-Video releases like this, unfortunately most of them seem to be just a teeny bit creatively bankrupt as they seem to have stood around the water-cooler, suddenly snapped their fingers and gone "Wait, what if this time - The monsters were REAL?". Fortunately, this movie actually understands what makes Scooby-Doo entertaining in the first place, the mystery aspect. Making the monster real kinda takes the "whodunit" out of it all. I actually found myself wondering who stood behind the attacks this time, at least for a short while. Still, it is a kids movie and by the last 10 minutes most adult audiences will most likely have figured out at least WHO did it, only waiting for the motive to show up. It does have some nice fake-outs layered out over the course of the movie though and I applaud that. The problem with Scooby-Doo as a franchise has been the tendency to become way too formulaic, to the point of self-parody. 

As I stated, Warner Bros. kinda pokes fun at itself and fan culture a little in this movie. The character of Owen Wilson, the original actor playing Blue Falcon is voiced by cartoon veteran Jeff Bennett, who seems to have channeled actor Adam West during his performance. Which is only strengthened by the fact that the characters backstory is also very much like what West had to deal with after the end of the 1960's Batman live-action TV-Show. On the other hand, the reimagined Blue Falcon costume in the movie looks very much like the reimagined Batman costume from the modern movies. Tons of references like this are in the movie and most people should be able to pick up on them.

The movie doesn't delve too much into the references though, as this is still a Scooby-Doo cartoon. So of course Scooby and Shaggy gets into all sorts of antics, all the physical comedy you could want from a Scooby-Doo cartoon is present here. I have to bring up though, that to me Daphne really stole the show a lot of the time. She is funny in a surprising way in this one.

Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon ends up not only being a fun send off to an iconic character, but also one of the best Scooby-Doo stories to date and a love letter to the golden age of TV-animation. It feels like an episode of the show, only with a longer running time, a more complicated mystery and higher stakes. Which is really all you could want in a Scooby-Doo movie. Nostalgia for the adults and fun for the kids - Go watch it!
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