When Scooby-Doo’s around, nothing stays buried for very long. Not even the Scooby-Doo film franchise.
Yes, according to Deadline, Warner Bros. will be giving the reboot treatment to their beloved mystery-solving, implied weed-smoking canine. Details are scarce about the project, but we do know three major developments:
1. Screenplay duties will be handled by Randall Green.
2. This new Scooby-Doo will most likely be live-action, according to a later report from Variety.
3. Announcing an all-new Scooby-Doo adventure three days after the death of Casey Kasem is probably not the most respectful move.
But WB is the one that unearthed this corpse, so we’re the ones that have to intrepidly investigate until we can figure out which local business owner is really responsible.
First of all, it’s not hard to see why WB would want to shove their cartoon dog through the great rebooting machine. Scoobert’s fallen on hard times in the last few years. It’s not like the original live-action/CGI hybrid films were that great to begin with (although children will always treasure the time Scooby appeared, Game Boy in hand, to tell kids a secret cheat code for the official Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed tie-in game).
Making matters worse were the two television movies that followed. After the second Doo outing failed to impress the head honchos of WB, Scooby’s eerie, not quite cartoon/not quite realistic CGI self was banished to Cartoon Network for two prequels that continued where the theatrical films left off. That is: the characters looked and sounded even less like their original counterparts (Fred, for example, was stripped of his blondeness and his ascot, in a misguided attempt to make people think Fred from Scooby-Doo was cool). And the CGI Great Dane dug himself even deeper into the Uncanny Valley, as seen below:
Even Scooby’s traditionally animated adventures have lost a little slack recently. When Scooby’s recent adventures involve winning tickets to WrestleMania, then solving a mystery “with the help of WWE Superstars John Cena, Triple H, Sin Cara, Brodus Clay, AJ Lee, The Miz, Santino Marella and Kane,” maybe it’s time to shoot for something a little more legitimate. Like a new theatrical film or two.
The one big problem, of course, is WB’s meddling decision to merge a CGI dog with non-CGI teenagers. Not because one can’t put CGI characters into a live-action film. But because every time a studio has tried the “lets reboot an old cartoon character in CGI and place him/her/it next to a Hollywood star!” routine, the results have been an unmitigated disaster. Might I remind you about The Smurfs, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Yogi Bear, Garfield and Marmaduke (also Underdog, to some extent)?
This is a lazy formula that consistently produces the ugliest possible results. Maybe Paddington could break the cycle, but that project’s got a little bit of pedigree (also, hiring someone like James Earl Jones or Keith David to voice Paddington Bear would definitely knock that movie up a few pegs). Scooby-Doo doing the same seems a lot less likely.
But who knows? Maybe WB will rip the mask off this project and reveal it was a Huckleberry Hound reboot the whole time.