Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided Cinema Sentries with a free copy reviewed in the Blog Post. Shawn's opinions are his own.
The title alone should tell you that this is going to be a mish-mash of properties and stories. Anyone who has followed my reviews for the past decade knows that I love Scooby-Doo! But it's the most schizophrenic property over at Warner Bros. They have had a series of good movies since the relaunch in 1998 including Scooby-Doo! on Zombie Island and Chill Out, Scooby-Doo! The recent TV series Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated and Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! have led the series to more mature stories that pull from sources like Buffy the Vampire Slayer more than other cartoon shows. And then there is the side of the series that crosses over with any property that is available. It's not new - they crossed over with the Superfriends in the 1970s. Recent crossovers with KISS and the WWE have been pointless and uninteresting at best.
This is not the first venture for Mystery Inc. into the land of LEGO. A couple years ago, LEGO Scooby-Doo! Knight Time Terror felt like nothing more than an extended commercial for the LEGO Scooby-Doo! sets. Since 2015, there have been a series of LEGO Scooby-Doo! shorts on YouTube that have tried to generate some traction but they just have lacked the humor of both the LEGO films and the Scooby-Doo! television shows. I've attempted to get interested in these shorts but they just don't capture my attention. This release tries to reach an audience again with a movie-length release.
The mix here is a hot mess. It's a LEGO film, it's a Scooby-Doo! mystery, it's a beach film, and it's a ghost-pirate film. If you haven't watched a LEGO Scooby-Doo! short, then it will take you a few minutes to get used to the look. The characters are pretty recognizable but Scooby throws me for a loop. He has a Lego body but an animated head. I don't recall seeing any other LEGO characters that are so bad. The only thing that really justifies a LEGO tie-in is the rare LEGO visual jokes through the movie. The LEGO characters work really well in the movie format but if you are just going to tell a normal Scooby-Doo! story, then why not in regular animation?
The skeleton of the story is that the gang is in town for a Blowout Beach Bash. Fred and Velma have a side Beach Party-style dance adventure as they try to prove they aren't "square". The story quickly becomes a missing-teenager mystery and that takes an odd turn into a ghost-pirate story. The plot follows the normal mystery points with a rather clever exchange at the unveiling right before the "Meddling Kids" line. What probably would have been a relatively funny movie was simply just mediocre in LEGO format. You have a good blueprint; I'm not sure it needs tampering just to tamper.
The disc includes a few bonus cartoons - which is a sign usually that "we know the feature might not be the big draw here once you see it on Cartoon Network". The original series episode "Go Away Ghost Ship" only serves to show that ghost pirates can be done much better. "A Clue For Scooby-Doo" is the second episode ever and holds up more than any of the other bonus episodes. The "Party Like It's 1899" episode is from the recent Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! series and not a truly representative episode. The tie-in to this movie is tenuous at best.
Splish splash, beach bash, blah. This property is far from dead. There are plenty of great Mystery Inc. stories to be told but forcing them into LEGO format needs a good reason. This isn't that story. And showing us original episodes only puts that into the spotlight. I fear that a LEGO Scrappy is just around the corner.