Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed
Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (also referred to as Scooby-Doo 2) is a 2004 American live-action/computer-animated horror comedy film based on the animated television franchise Scooby-Doo. It is the second installment in the Scooby-Doo live-action film series and a sequel to 2002's Scooby-Doo, and was directed by Raja Gosnell, written by James Gunn, and released by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film stars Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Linda Cardellini, Matthew Lillard, Seth Green, Tim Blake Nelson, Peter Boyle and Alicia Silverstone, with Neil Fanning reprising his role as the voice of Scooby-Doo.
The film premiered at Hollywood on March 20, 2004 and was released on March 26, 2004.
Mystery Inc. attend the opening of an exhibition at the Coolsonian Criminology Museum commemorating their past solved cases with monster costumes on display. However, the celebrations are interrupted by the Evil Masked Figure, who steals two costumes using the reanimated Pterodactyl Ghost. The gang are ridiculed by journalist Heather Jasper-Howe, who starts a smear campaign against them. Concluding that an old enemy is the mastermind, the gang revisit old cases, dismissing the former Pterodactyl Ghost, Jonathan Jacobo, due to his apparent death during a failed prison escape, they guess that Jeremiah Wickles, the former Black Knight Ghost, is the culprit.
Going to Wickles' mansion, the gang find a book that serves as an instruction manual on how to create monsters. Shaggy and Scooby-Doo find a note inviting Wickles to visit the Faux Ghost nightclub. They are attacked by the Black Knight Ghost, but escape when Daphne holds him off. Shaggy and Scooby sneak into the Faux Ghost, speaking to Wickles, but learn that he has resolved his ways. The rest of the gang discover the key ingredient to create the monsters is a substance called "randomonium", which can be found at the old silver mining town. They go to the museum, accompanied by the curator and Velma's love interest Patrick Wisely, but discover that the rest of the costumes have been stolen. The gang go to the mines, finding Wickles' plans to turn it into an amusement park. As they confront Wickles, he states that he and Jacobo were cell-mates who hated each other and that he has no connection to the museum robberies.
The gang then find the Monster Hive, where the costumes are brought to life as real monsters. Shaggy and Scooby play around with the machine's control panel, bringing several costumes to life, and the gang flee the city with the panel as the Evil Masked Figure terrorizes the city. Escaping to their old high school clubhouse, the gang realize they can reverse the control panel's power by altering its wiring. Captain Cutler emerges from the bayou, forcing the gang to head back to the mines, encountering various monsters along the way. Velma encounters Patrick in the mines, finding a shrine dedicated to Jacobo, but Patrick proves his own innocence by rescuing Velma from falling through a catwalk.
The gang confront the Evil Masked Figure, but the Tar Monster captures all of them but Scooby, who uses a fire extinguisher to freeze the Tar Monster's body solid. He reactivates the control panel, transforming the monsters back into costumes. The gang take the Evil Masked Figure to the authorities, unmasking him as Heather. When asked why Heather did what she did, Velma suddenly peels Heather's face off, revealing her to actually be Jacobo, who faked his own death in order to get revenge on Mystery Inc. Jacobo's cameraman Ned is also arrested as an accomplice. Mystery Inc. are praised as heroes once again in Coolsville. In the Faux Ghost, the gang celebrates their victory with the now-reformed criminals whom they unmasked in the past (including Wickles).
After the credits, Scooby is seen playing the tie-in Game Boy Advance game. After he succeeds, he tells the viewers to enter the secret code (this is only seen on the VHS and DVD release).
- Excessive amount of fart and burp jokes, though there are nowhere nearly as many as there were in the first film. To be fair, most of the non-toilet humor isn't amusing, either.
- The plot is confusing and badly executed - and the story is not even an original concept for the Scooby-Doo! franchise, as the 2002 game Scooby-Doo! Night of 100 Frights had already done this concept.
- Awful CGI effects especially in the transformation scene.
- Alicia Silverstone's performance as Heather Jasper-Howe is incredibly bad, so bad it's one of the reasons for why the next point is so bad.
- The mystery in this movie is very poorly put together. First off, it's far too easy to figure out who the villain is, mostly because of the casting of Alicia Silverstone. Her poor acting to try and look innocent, and the film trying way too hard to make it look like her character isn't the villain by making the characters portrayed by Seth Green and Peter Boyle look way too suspicious, don't help at all. And second off, Zahf Paroo's character who was Ned the Cameraman for Heather's reporting, he's revealed to be the one who disguised as the Mastermind to make Heather look innocent even though he appears as a background character in the movie and is given no dialogue and practically no screen time for the audience to know who he is, which makes the reveal of him covering for Heather come off as totally out of nowhere.
- Laughable and forgettable dialogue.
- Most of the villains don't come off as scary and instead seem lame and pointless. Their designs also look awful, even by 2004 standards.
- Shaggy and Scooby are even DUMBER in this film.
- In one scene, the two are seen drinking unknown science formulas, the formulas resulted in:
- Scooby turning into an alien.
- Shaggy getting the body of a woman.
- Scooby turning into the Tasmanian Devil from Looney Tunes.
- Shaggy growing muscles with a dumb personality to go along.
- Scooby turning into a smart scientist and speaking normally.
- The title doesn't make any sense since there is no ties to the original movie and feels less like a sequel and instead a stand-alone film.
- The Luna Ghost (a fan favorite from the first movie) isn't seen or mentioned in this one, making him a bit of a wasted opportunity. The Mud Bog Ghoul mentioned at the end of the first movie wasn’t seen at all.
- The reveal that Heather Jasper-Howe happens to be Dr. Jacobo has little-to-no foreshadowing. It would've been better if Heather was the secret daughter of Jacobo rather than his persona but the one we got is just dumb and non-sensical.
- Plot holes:
- Why do the people at the Faux Ghost are unaware that their costumes are being transformed into monsters?
- The Skeleton Men changed from menacing villains in the cartoons to gibberish speaking Minion prototypes.
- Uncomfortable implications of pedophila in this movie, as when both Ned and Jacobo get sent to the police car, Ned is creeped out that supposedly his partner Heather was a man the whole time and later says this line "But We Cuddled", which might suggest that a teenage cameraman had sex with an old man while he was disguised as a woman, which is just gross and not funny in the slightest at all. It could be that Jacobo did it as an act.
- Some jokes tend to be repeated at times, such as the joke where The Black Knight gets injured in the crotch in two scenes, first with Velma's foot, then from Fred clamping his crotch with lighting clippers, which gets rather repetitive due to the joke not really being that funny in the first place.
- Overuse of cartoon sound effects, particularly during the potions scene.
- There is some product placement for Burger King.
- It has a better grasp of the source material compared to its predecessor; the monsters in the movie are actually from the cartoons and the events of the first film are completely ignored (with the exception of a fleeting reference to Mary Jane), which makes it look like those events didn't even happen. It helps that James Gunn (the films' writer) is a fan of Scooby-Doo.
- The gang also goes to a traditional haunted house like in the cartoons.
- Most of the acting is great (Matthew Lillard's portrayal of Shaggy Rogers is also still great), and, the new cast members (with the very notable exception of Alicia Silverstone) are fitting additions to the cast, including Seth Green, Tim Blake Nelson and Peter Boyle.
- The acting of Velma, Daphne and Fred has also improved noticeably.
- The main characters are better portrayed than in the previous film.
- A remarkable aspect is how the characters develop when doubting the roles that in the original cartoon they followed to the letter:
- Fred wants to show that he can be a true team leader and not just the handsome guy.
- Daphne begins to distrust herself for thinking that she's just "a pretty face".
- Velma feels insecure about her image and feels that she deserves that her personality be something more than "the smart girl".
- Despite becoming more dumb, Shaggy and Scooby are still overall better portrayed than in the first film as they are fed up with being seen as buffoons or the team's fools and are desperately trying to prove their bravery to others by trying to solve the mystery themselves.
- In fact, the scene where Shaggy and Scooby lament and reflect on how they do nothing but mess things up for the team despite their efforts and wish for being able to do things right is pretty sad and even relatable for some people.
- Some of the jokes are pretty funny, such as the Cotton Candy Glob part and “You’re pushing your luck, Scoob!”.
- Even though the monster designs are bad, they're somewhat better than those in the first film.
- Daphne's outfit is also more accurate (although she still wears pink go-go boots in some scenes) and Scooby-Doo looks nice in his Jimmy Hendrix-like costume.
- Decent soundtrack by David Newman.
- Some of the dialogue is quite memorable including, "I think Coolsville sucks".
- MXPX's cover of the Scooby-Doo theme song from the first film was reused in this film's climax.
- The only genuinely terrifying villains are the Tar Monster and the 10,000 Volt Ghost, especially when the Tar Monster cover his enemies in tar.
- Even though Heather-Jasper Howe was poorly executed, her story arc aged well in a post-Donald Trump era with the rise of "fake news".
- The Evil Masked Figure’s mask is quite expressive and unique.
- There is a heartwarming flashback showing the Mystery Inc. crew playing fetch with Scooby.
- It had some neatly put fanservice that catered to Scooby-Doo fans without pandering. For example, a few monsters from the cartoons can be seen as displays at the museum and the Black Knight Ghost was mentioned by Fred as Mystery Inc.’s first case, which is a reference to the very first Scooby-Doo cartoon and had the Black Knight Ghost as the villain.
- The genuinely good visual effects came from the Black Knight Ghost, which was made from a man in armor and CGI.
- Decent climax.
Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed received mixed-to-negative reviews by critics, fans and audiences alike. It currently holds a score of 22% on Rotten Tomatoes with an average rating of 4.3 out of 10 and a critic consensus that reads "Only the very young will get the most out of this silly trifle". On Metacritic, the film has a score of 34 out of 100 based on 28 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale, an improvement over the previous film's "B+".
The film opened up at #1 on its opening weekend grossing $29,438,331 domestically. It later made a total domestic gross of $84,216,833. In overseas territories, the film made $97,250,000. Overall, the film made a total of $181,466,833 against its $25 million budget.
Awards and nominations
The film won the Golden Raspberry Award for "Worst Remake or Sequel", and was nominated for two Stinkers Bad Movie Awards including "Worst Sequel" and "Least "Special" Special Effects", but won none.
Fate of the live-action film series
While its reception was generally negative as with its predecessor, it grossed considerably less than its predecessor. Let alone its critical reception, its financial failure resulted in a third film (set to be both written and directed by James Gunn and set for a 2007 release) being cancelled.
- Seth Green, who appears in this movie, later created Robot Chicken. Two episodes have skits involving Scooby-Doo crossing over with Friday the 13th and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Freddie Prinze, Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Linda Cardellini and Matthew Lillard reprised their roles from the movie in both skits.
- There was originally going to be a third live action Scooby-Doo movie, but in an August 2004 interview, actor Matthew Lillard stated that those plans where cancelled after Warner Brothers was unhappy that the film had a box office return of $84 million in the U.S. The third movie would have been written and directed by James Gunn and it would have taken place in Scotland. The plot, according to James Gunn, was originally going to be as follows: "The Mystery Inc. gang are hired by a town in Scotland who complain they’re being plagued by monsters but we discover throughout the film the monsters are actually the victims & Scooby & Shaggy have to come to terms with their own prejudices & narrow belief systems."
- It created the "I think Coolsville sucks!" and Potion Scene memes.
- After the credits, Scooby is seen playing the tie-in Game Boy Advance game. After he succeeds, he tells the viewers to enter the secret code to view the game's ending, which contained spoilers for the movie itself (this is only seen on the DVD and VHS release of the movie).
- While Dee Bradley Baker and Terrence Stone were credited as the voice of the 10,000 Volt Ghost, Stone revealed on a Facebook comment that he actually did the voice and not Baker.
- Michael Rooker was considered to play Old Man Wickles.
- Gunn revealed his favorite monster in the film is Captain Cutler.
- There is a whole wiki dedicated to the infamous potions scene.