Scooby Doo on Zombie Island

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"What I need is a real life ghost "

Oct 11th, 2009

Tomorrow my review for Dead Island will be up so until then heres an older review that featured zombies. Cartoon zombies but zombies none the less.

Who's not a fan of Scooby Doo? If you're sitting there wondering why there's a review for a kids cartoon on this site let me enlighten you. This film rocks and I'm not afraid to say I'm a huge fan of the modern Scooby Doo image.

This animation was released straight to VHS (that's right no DVD release back then) in 1998 and marked the return of Scooby Doo who had been absent from the screen for 7 years. This feature was amazing in that it brought about the revival of the Scooby franchise leading to two live action movies and numerous new shows that still continue to this day.

The plot is far more adult than its previous incarnations in that the characters have grown up and grown apart. The characters are no longer teenagers, all have their own jobs and have left solving mysteries behind them. Daphne Blake is now a successful TV presenter; with Fred as her producer they plan a reunion with the old gang. Deciding to take a road trip with a new set of mysteries, they film the events to use as segments on her new show. While taking a break from filming the gang relaxes on a private island with new friends, only to be set upon by a horde of vicious zombies – but this time the monsters are not men in masks, they're real.

Years back I bought this film for my younger brother, he only vaguely knew of the Scooby Doo cartoons as they rarely aired but little did I expect to enjoy the film as well. Taking a tongue in cheek approach the known formula for the series was poked fun at including many laugh out loud moments.

The opening scene starts the movie at the end of one of the gang's old mysteries. Mirroring numerous chase scenes that litter the old shows but far more aggressively than we've ever seen. A man in a monster suit actually tries to kill the kids and at one point he throws a shield at Fred's head that nearly decapitates him. All the while a new rock version of the old TV theme tune blares overhead. This is pure nostalgic joy while employing a far darker tone than I'd ever seen before, that PG rating on the case made more sense now.

The film is actually scary for younger audiences and at the time my brother was so frightened I had to turn the tape off, I watched the rest of the film later. Characters in this one end up in real peril and by the film's end a few of them end up dead, not the gang – but did you expect that?

Throw in the fact that there is a real mystery here with twists and turns in the story that have you guessing who the true villain of the piece is. The zombies are not the only threat here but to reveal that would spoil the flick.

Throughout we see the relationship between Daphne and Fred teased with both trying to make the other jealous by showing interest in others it was amazing that these two characters became the focus of the film when they were the most pointless addition to the roster in the old cartoons.

The production values on this are extremely high with Japanese animators giving a more polished look than most made for video releases. The music is also great, taking a more rocky tone than the psychedelic hits of the 60's, but this works to reinforce the darker themes. I am also fond of the song 'its terror time again' which is used for a montage sequence.

The voice acting is top notch, Scooby's new voice seems strange at first but it's the same as the one from the live action flicks so over time I've adjusted to it. Even Mark Hamill provides his voice but you'd be hard pressed to pick him out as his vocal talent is fantastic.

I really enjoyed this film and still do, it was the beginning of a series of films but only the first three employ this new darker tone after which they became more child friendly. Don't be fooled though. It may be darker but its still overall a Scooby Doo cartoon. If you're curious to see what this was like someone has actually posted the flick in its entirety on YouTube. I'll give this 8/10

Best Kill
That's a bit harsh for this but the sun is unkind to some

Dedicated to Don Messick (the original voice of Scooby Doo)
Based on a script called 'The curse of Kataluna'
Frank Welker voices Fred he was the voice of Slimmer in Ghostbusters

Director: Hiroshi Aoyama, Kazumi Fukushima, Jim Stenstrum
Screenplay: Davis Doi, Glenn Leopold
Release: 1998
Rating: PG
Starring: Scott Innes, Billy West, Mary Kay Bergman, Frank Welker, B.J. Ward

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