Sequels, often they’re tedious and nowhere close as good as the original. That, surprisingly, is not the case for Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, the sequel to that childhood classic everyone in my generation loves to feel wholly nostalgic for. It’s easy to see why, especially in my case when I’d come home from school and stick CBBC on, where they’d play classic Scooby-Doo every day. It was a lot of fun, one of the few things I miss from my childhood and it’s a painful reminder each day that I’ll never re-live such an enjoyable time. Still, I can try my best to cling to my nostalgia, especially by watching old classics I’ve not watched in years for fear of loathing them.
Compared to the original, it feels like the Mystery Incorporated Crew feel more like caricatures of their most defining traits, rather than fully fleshed out characters with grating problems between one another. They’re still enjoyable, given the commitment of the cast to their roles, but they don’t feel as in-depth or interesting as the first film. Still, re-hashing the same highs and lows of the first would’ve been a problem in of itself, yet I’m not entirely sure what Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed really wants to do. Shaggy and Scooby get the most depth of all, dealing with more or less the same issues they faced in the first, alongside Fred who finds himself hating the centre of attention style he always craved. It’s very well done, the main cast come together with tremendous competence.
There’s a surprising dedication from all cast members, not just leading performers but the newcomers found within the supporting cast also. Peter Boyle, Seth Green, Tim Blake Nelson and Alicia Silverstone make for resoundingly strong team players throughout this. They subvert the cliché formula of the Scooby-Doo style with an odd amount of charm. The set design makes for some incredible moments, one of the few areas where the sequel trumps that of the original. More monsters showcased far more frequently make for some fun scenes. They’re relatively enjoyable still, not feeling dated with nice call-backs to the earliest of original episodes.
The CGI is still just as entertaining and cartoonish as the first, which make for nice character designs, reality-bending moments and some genuinely strong villain designs. Such detail and impressive moments go into blending practical props and some nice CGI tricks for some great set pieces, one-liners and entertaining chase scenes. By far the worst moments of the film come from the slew of fart jokes, poorly utilised soundtrack and the flashback sequences that lead to some rather forced storytelling opportunities. Some of that is absolutely forgivable, but it’s certainly noticeable.
A film that screams funky, pop iconography from the early 2000s with the classic Scooby gang, it’s another film that’s hard not to enjoy, yet elicits no real depth to its suitably cast characters. Great writing from James Gunn, solid direction from a returning Raja Gosnell, who helmed such a great first entry that it’s nigh on impossible for him to squander the potential of a sequel. It’s good clean fun, nothing too taxing on the mind and a certainly faithful adaptation of the original charm of the show.