SCOOB! Review

By: Amanda Guarragi 

Scooby Doo has been apart of pop culture since the early 70s and will always hold a special place in everyone’s heart. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you will always appreciate Scoob and the gang solving mysteries and unmasking bad guys. Scoob! gave audiences the origin story of Shaggy and Scooby, a story that we haven’t seen before, it made the transition to the gang, as adults, more effective. It was filled with nostalgia, it had the same humour and of course, it highlighted the power of friendship.

Scoob! directed by Tony Cervone, brought the gang together wanting to improve the business of Mystery Inc. Fred (Zac Efron), Daphne (Amanda Seyfried) and Velma (Gina Rodriguez) called Simon Cowell, to see how they could improve the team. Simon said that Fred was the muscle, Daphne was the empath and Velma was the brain, but Simon had an issue trying to figure out Shaggy (Will Forte) and Scooby’s (Frank Welker) place on the team. This little conversation tore the gang apart, it lead Scooby and Shaggy to find their favourite hero Blue Falcon (Mark Wahlberg) and Dynomutt (Ken Jeong). They ended up helping them find the evil villain Dick Dastardly (Jason Isaacs), who had plans to open the underworld.

Scoob! really incorporated all the stories from previous television episodes AND the live action films that we love. My favourite thing about the movie was how great the animation was. It was about time Warner Brothers started to use the Hanna Barbera characters again and what better way to bring them back to the big screen, than with Scooby Doo? It was so much fun from beginning to end, the writing was really strong and the journey of friendship was heartwarming. It was just so nice to see these characters interact again, with new content, new characters, and the same type of mysteries to solve.

The one thing Scooby and Shaggy’s friendship brought all of us, was light hearted jokes, interesting meals and loving your best friend. Shaggy had said, “Growing up doesn’t mean growing apart, it means growing together.” it’s such a great line and because they chose to show his journey with Scoob, it made them coming together at the end pretty emotional. Friendships are important and that’s always been the case with Scooby Doo, they might get annoyed with each other but in the end they always help each other out no matter what.

It’s one of the best family friendly films I’ve seen this year. The humour is definitely meant for the adults, but the kids will get a kick out of Scoob and his joyous spirit. They took the structure of the television episodes, the villains from the live action films and brought one of the best voice casts together to make a pretty fun movie. Scoob! will have you missing the gang the second you finish the film and naturally the ending is pretty open ended, so fingers crossed for a sequel.

Onward Review

By: Amanda Guarragi

Onward the magical tale of two teenage elf brothers, Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley (Chris Pratt) Lightfoot, who embark on a journey to see if there is any magic left in their city, all while spending one last day with their late father. Ian finds out he has magical powers (like his father) and uses his father’s staff and a magical stone, to bring half of him back for one day. Writer and director Dan Scanlon wanted to create a film based off of his own experiences with his brother and the loss of his father. It had the right heart but not the right execution. Even though the film centered around finding magic, it was severely lacking the Pixar magic we all know and love.

This was the first Pixar movie that I’ve been seriously disappointed in because of how dull they made Ian and Barley. Chris Pratt’s whimsical voice and Tom Holland’s nerdy babbling couldn’t save this empty journey. The sentiment was there, two brothers wanting to spend one magical day with their deceased father but the simple journey they went on had no payoff at the end of this film. The entire film Ian and Barley spent time with only HALF of their father, the bottom half. They couldn’t talk to their own father for the entire day, they only communicated through touch and morse code. Again, the sentimental value was there because Barley had spent a couple of years with their father but Ian never got to know him.

The animation was also unimaginative and lacked the Pixar touch. I keep saying Pixar because their rendering technology was far superior, before Disney even picked them up. It just didn’t feel like a Pixar film and I can’t explain why, it just didn’t, I can’t put my finger on it. You just know that you’re watching a Pixar film, instead of a Disney film, you can’t explain it, you just know. Pixar’s animation was so incredibly special when it began all those years ago, but now with Disney’s influence, I’m afraid the type of calibre films that we are used to from Pixar, will begin to fade away. I know that Disney bought Pixar in 2006 and they gave us such incredible films, but the more powerful Disney gets, I’m afraid that the creative licensing with the acquired subsidiaries will suffer greatly.

Onward tries to make a heartfelt film between two brothers. The little brother Ian, realizes that even though he grew up without a father, he still shared his life with a father figure and he finds that in his older brother Barley. The simple quest they were on, was way too simple and nothing really exciting happened. The magic was basic and lacked flare. Also, there was no connection to the father, who also had these powers. Ian and his father had a connection through magic, yet he never had an emotional moment with his father. There was a disconnect because there was no conversation being had between father and son.

As you watch this film and sit through the dry humour, you wonder if Ian and Barley will eventually get to see the top half of their father. The ending left a bitter taste in my mouth and I’m not one for spoilers, but it was infuriating to watch what happens to these brothers and their father. It could have been such a beautiful moment but it was ruined by a very strange moral choice based off of a new realization.

I wanted this to be better but the story lacked direction and meaning. Yes, it’s sentimental but when you throw it together and try to interfere those key emotional moments with humour that is so dense, it just ends up being a forgettable film. Other than a half magical man walking around, Onward was just another film on the slate with two actors that should have had more chemistry than they did.