Anyone who reads my articles or reviews knows how I love Scooby-Doo. My four-year old son shares this love for the clue-sniffing canine and we never fail to watch every episode of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated and get every straight-to-DVD film that is released. I’m sure everyone can imagine how excited we got five months ago when Cartoon Network announced the release of another live-action movie called Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster.
Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster is directed by Brian Levant again. It follows the exploits of the Scooby-Doo gang when they are still in high school right after they first met. The fun begins “when a creepy giant frog creature attacks Erie Point and threatens to ruin everyone’s summer vacation. It’s up to Shaggy, Scooby, Velma, Fred and Daphne to unmask the mystery.”
Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster has all the original actors from the last adventure, entitled The Mystery Begins. All the main characters are pretty much the same in appearance. For some reason, Velma is rail thin and Daphne is bigger than her. Fred still has brown hair. However, this time around the Mystery Machine has finally been painted.
Now as far as character development is concerned, in Curse of the Lake Monster there’s been a major change. Apparently, Fred and Daphne have been having a romantic relationship. The problem is that Fred thinks it’s casual while Daphne believes they’re dating. Shaggy also begins to develop feelings for Velma and is having problems with finding ways to show her. This makes Scooby-Doo very jealous which causes the mutt to act out in some very zany ways.
Curse of the Lake Monster features a few pretty cool cameos and special guests. Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura) stars briefly as the mayor of the town the Scooby gang goes to for their summer jobs. Ted McGinley plays Daphne’s uncle, Thornton “Thorny” Blake V, who runs the country club which all the scary occurrences keep happening around. He plays the usual pretty boy role he’s become known for in his career, which include the Revenge of the Nerds movies and even Happy Days. McGinley’s just playing the older version of the character now. Strangely his co-star on Happy Days, Marion Ross (Mrs. Cunningham), also has a guest spot in the film as a crazy old lady that runs a bait and tackle / general store.
The CGI in Curse of the Lake Monster is not too bad. The producers do the same thing they did the last time around with Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins. It seems like they basically do as many shots as they can without Scooby-Doo in the frame to keep costs down. What doesn’t make sense is that the Lake Monster is CGI and at one point there’s three of them onscreen at the same time. I would guess that these sequences cost more to produce than any scenes with Scooby in them. In some parts, it appears that they even filmed an actual human in a dog suit and then digitally added Scooby-Doo’s head to the body. This gives Scooby a bizarre Stuart Little part-human look that’s kind of creepy.
Overall, Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster is a fun and entertaining film. The story and plot both flow smoothly. The actors all look like they’re having a good time and putting forth convincing efforts. At times, Nick Palatas seems like he might be putting a little too much effort into Shaggy’s wacky warbling voice. I could have lived without the musical numbers, but that’s really all I have to complain about. Fans of Scooby-Doo will most definitely want to add this to their collection when it comes out on DVD.