Scooby and the gang lose their cool--and their stellar reputation--when an anonymous masked villain wreaks mayhem on the city of Coolsville with a monster machine that re-creates classic Mystery Inc. foes like: The Pterodactyl Ghost, The Black Knight and The 10,000 Volt Ghost. Under pressure from relentless reporter Heather Jasper-Howe and the terrified citizens of Coolsville, the gang launches an investigation into the mysterious monster outbreak that leaves Shaggy and Scooby questioning their roles in Mystery Inc. The ever-ravenous duo, determined to prove they\'re great detectives, don a series of far-out disguises in their search for clues. Meanwhile, brainy Velma becomes smitten with a key suspect, Coolsonian Museum curator Patrick Wisely, as macho leader Fred and image-conscious Daphne attempt to determine the identity of the Evil Masked Figure who is unleashing the monsters in an attempt to take over Coolsville.
Packed with extensive and expensive digital effects, "Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed" appears to represent Warner Brothers' effort to produce a home-grown rival to the studio's wildly successful "Harry Potter" franchise. Adapted (like the first film, released in 2002) from a short-lived (1969-1972) Saturday morning cartoon series produced by the Hanna-Barbera factory, "Scooby-Doo 2" features a gang of all-American teens. They include handsome Fred (Freddie Prinze Jr.), perky Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar), brainy Velma (Linda Cardellini) and spacey Shaggy (Matthew Lillard), whose mascot is the semi-talking, computer-generated dog Scooby. The group battles the seemingly supernatural apparitions that beset the back-lot town of Coolsville. Like the first film, "Scooby Doo 2" was directed by Raja Gosnell, a protégée of and former film editor for Chris Columbus, the maker of the first two "Harry Potter" films. Mr. Gosnell does his best to recreate the Potter blend of mild spookiness and kiddie comedy, but the material just isn't as psychologically rich as J. K. Rowling's shrewd combination of adolescent self-pity and violent revenge fantasy. — Dave Kehr
2004-03-26 | Dave Kehr | Read the New York Times Review of Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed