Judge Steve Evans woulda gotten away with this review, too, if it hadn't been for those meddling kids!
Our reviews of What's New, Scooby-Doo?: Safari, So Goodi! (Volume 2) (published May 19th, 2004) and What's New, Scooby-Doo?: Merry Scary Holiday (Volume 4) (published November 17th, 2004) are also available.
Scooby, Dooby-Doo, where are you?
Mindless entertainment for kids under eight or so, my children dig Scooby-Doo on the infrequent occasions I let them devour the video equivalent of Count Chockula and Boo Berry.
Facts of the Case
Talking Great Dane Scooby-Doo and his human friends Shaggy, Velma, Fred, and Daphne criss-cross Europe, getting into ghoulish, ghostly, and mostly goofy adventures. Traveling to Italy, the gang comes across a zombie gladiator roaming the ruins of Pompeii, which was reduced to ashes two millennia ago. Retreating to Scotland, Scooby and his pals battle a dragon guarding a medieval castle. Shaggy's neck medallion gets the gang into trouble during a stopover in Greece, then Scooby-Doo and his pals repair to Paris. Their holiday in the City of Lights doesn't last long when Daphne's model cousin is kidnapped by a giant gargoyle.
Anyone who's watched a Scooby-Doo cartoon knows every mystery is always solved in 30 minutes or less, including commercials. Blessedly, the four cartoons on this DVD are commercial-free so time passes swiftly. This is a tremendous benefit if you are an adult listening to the jangling music and perpetual cries of "Zoinks!" from Scooby's best-friend Shaggy—a doofus too dumb for your daughter to date (if this point needs emphasis, remember that Shaggy's voice was created by that chatterbox of inconsequential commentary on fleeting pop confections—American Top 40 DJ himself, Casey Kasem). Like, wow.
These are not the original episodes that the tail-end of the baby boomers might remember from their late 1960s childhoods, squandered in front of Saturday-morning television. Rather, this is Volume Seven in a DVD series compiling Scooby-Doo TV shows since Warner Bros. began producing the franchise four years ago. Each disc is built around a marketable theme—European travel, Halloween, Christmas, etc.—so most of this stuff has been broadcast many times before. The smartass in me is compelled to point out that the DVD snap-case packaging has been manufactured from recycled material, too.
I devoted all of 10 minutes to pondering the popularity of Scooby-Doo, who's still around almost four decades after his debut on US television. It's now apparent that the appeal of this talking dog and his pals can be understood only in the context of their astonishing stupidity. Even little kids of mediocre intelligence should feel like geniuses—and thus feel good about themselves—while watching these cartoons.
Video and audio are adequate; just digital transfers of old analog tapes. A Scooby-Doo vacation featurette and interactive game round out the extra features. The package is reasonably priced at a suggested retail below $15. Most stores will probably unload this one for around $10.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
If you're past puberty and still watching Scooby-Doo, it's time either to move out of mom's house, or change the bong water—or perhaps both. If you're mulling a purchase of this disc, keep reading. If you're a parent who plays Mozart piano serenades to sleeping babies, then you've wandered into this review by accident. Keep reading anyway.
Sometimes a hard-working parent needs 87 uninterrupted minutes to cogitate and reflect, without responding to queries like "fill my sippy-cup?" and the dreaded double-negative: "I'm bored; isn't there nuthin' ta do?" Since kids cannot live by public television alone, in case of emergency, break glass and pull out this Scooby-Doo DVD. Let your kids indulge in the innocuous antics of brain-dead characters and buy yourself a few precious minutes of sanity before your own cerebellum presents as a flat line.
What's New Scooby-Doo?, Vol. 7—Ghosts on the Go is guilty of hypnotizing young children and sparking laughter in same when they make the happy discovery that they already understand more about the world than the cartoon characters bumbling around on television. That's right, you heard it here first: Scooby-Doo cartoons are a low-rent form of childhood empowerment. Who knew?
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
• A Scooby-Doo Vacation Featurette
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