When people think of Scooby-Doo, they probably think of those early Hanna-Barbera iterations. The cheap, repeating animation; the ersatz bubblegum pop songs; the reptitive stories. If you are particularly haunted, you may recall the visage of Scrappy-Doo in your mind's eye. However, the most recent version of Scooby-Doo (as of the moment, as there is another new one on the way), which was called Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, was actually quite good. It was funny and well animated and it has serialization and actual characterization. Martha Quinn cameoed as herself, so you know the show was thinking about a potential adult audience. That made the direct-to-DVD movie Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness an intriguing option to check out.
Unfortunately, it isn't quite up to the standards of Mystery Incorporated. Other than having the same voice cast, it doesn't seem to be part of that particular universe of Scooby-Doo. It's a good voice cast, but the material they are given isn't quite up to the same level. The storyline is both simple and lofty. The Mystery Incorporated gang, plus a couple other celebrities, are sent into space alongside the billionaire Richard Branson parody Sly Baron. Then, aliens show up, and they end up at a base on the Moon, and you can guess where this goes. There's a mystery to be solved, and it will be solved.
The action on the Moon is pretty cool, admittedly, even if the animation seems of slightly less quality. The real issue is that there is a lot of padding to turn Moon Monster Madness into a movie. It's only 80 minutes, with credits, and even that is more than they had story for. It's not padded with little vignettes or sketches or anything, either. Instead, it's padded with dead air. It's padded with awkward pauses and characters blinking. Some of it is being done for humor, but they hold for a little too long. They tried to snag a second or two here and there, and it feels like it adds up to 10 minutes or so of screen time. That's not good.
That being said, Moon Monster Madness is still a pretty good little movie. It's reasonably funny, and the action picks up toward the end. If you are looking for some Scooby-Doo action to watch, you are better off going through the entire 52-episode run of Mystery Incorporated, but after that, if your hunger for Scooby-Doo hasn't been sated, then checking out this movie isn't a bad way to spend 80 minutes or so. It would have been a better way to spend 70 minutes, though.
Own it on DVD & Digital HD 2/17