Thanks to Scooby-Doo, Judge Erich Asperschlager got flagged by Homeland Security for buying too much white pancake makeup.
When kids today hear "Scooby-Doo," they probably think about the live action movies, or the recent small screen incarnations What's New Scooby-Doo? and Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!. To this child of the '80s, though, Scooby-Doo means reruns of the 1969 series Scooby-Doo, Where are You! and its spin-off, The New Scooby-Doo Movies. I remember watching and loving the heck out of both. Sure, the shows were formulaic, and not nearly as funny as their laugh tracks pretended they were, but they had memorable characters and the mysteries were fun. Of course, that was more than twenty years ago. Watching those old episodes today is a slog for this crotchety thirtysomething. As interested as I was in catching up on old times with the double feature Scooby-Doo Meets Batman/Scooby-Doo Meets The Harlem Globetrotters, they proved, once again, that when it comes to TV nostalgia, you can't go home again.
The four episodes on this double-sided disc are all from The New Scooby-Doo Movies—the series' hour-long reboot, in which every episode paired the Mystery, Inc. kids with some famous real or fictional celebrity.
Side one of the disc features the episodes "The Dynamic Scooby-Doo Affair" and "The Caped Crusader Caper," both featuring Batman and Robin, and both from the show's first season. In "Dynamic Scooby-Doo Affair," the Mystery Machine breaks down on a deserted road and the kids stumble upon a mysterious farmhouse, a stash of counterfeit cash, and Gotham's caped crusaders. The trail of clues leads the gang to an amusement park and the Joker and Penguin's secret hideout.
In "Caped Crusader Caper," Scoob and the gang go camping, only to meet up with Batman and Robin, who are once again on the look out for the Joker and Penguin. This time, the terrible twosome is holding a kidnapped scientist in a cavernous lair.
Batman may be hotter than ever these days, but the Dark Knight as envisioned by Frank Miller and Christopher Nolan has nothing to do with the campy versions of the superheroes and villains here. If you remember the travesty of Adam West's Batman, you won't be surprised. I feel sorry for any modern child expecting to see a cool, brooding Batman. True to campy form, he and Robin are quip-happy goofballs, while the Joker and Penguin are about as threatening a criminal pair as the robbers from Home Alone.
At least kids today know who Batman is. I can't imagine the Harlem Globetrotters are as big a draw now as they must have been in the '70s, when they made a record three Scooby-Doo Movies appearances. This disc has two of those adventures. In "The Mystery of Haunted Island," the gang happens upon the Globetrotters and invites them on a relaxing boat ride the day before a big game. But the trip turns into a nightmare when they board the wrong boat and have to spend the night in a spooky mansion on the aptly named title island.
"The Loch Ness Mess" finds the kids and the Globetrotters traveling to visit Shaggy's uncle in New England, who, it turns out, is being hassled by a trio of Revolutionary War-era ghosts and a fire-breathing sea serpent.
Repackaging episodes from The New Scooby-Doo Movies is a tough sell. They skew way too young for the adults who used to watch them, and the series' once-hip guest stars are meaningless to modern kids. No parents look forward to having the conversation with their kids that begins with "Daddy, who's Davy Jones?" Credit to Warner Bros. for choosing the two most interesting, if not necessarily relevant, guest stars for this disc.
Besides the widescreen DVD menus, this is strictly a full screen affair. The episodes are bright and colorful, and fairly clean. There's enough schmutz to make the show feel old, but not so much that it's distracting. Both sides of the disc have a long list of forgettable extras. There's a DVD-remote game for each side, a couple of how-to-draw segments, a "yearbook" overview of the show's characters, and several music videos. The bonus content mostly features footage from the show's recent incarnations.
If you really want to introduce your kids to The New Scooby-Doo Movies, I recommend tracking down the four-disc "best of" set that was released back in 2005. It has 15 episodes, including the four from this disc, and can be found for not much more than this DVD. Other than that, it's hard to make any complaint about Scooby-Doo Meets Batman/Scooby-Doo Meets The Harlem Globetrotters that couldn't be made about the series as a whole.
Not as groovy as I remember.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
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