This is actually called Scooby-Doo: Legend of the Phantosaur, but the scene where Shaggy beats up a biker gang is what everyone writes about. It has become a huge source of memes, and now is the time to decide if the film is actually good or just an interesting scene.
The opening credits are in a very abstract style, and I like this in spite of Velma and Fred’s weird hair. It helps to stick out from the hordes of Scooby-Doo films. Some more good news is it has the same cast as the best series, “Mystery Incorporated.”
The film plot starts with Shaggy violating the laws of physics by screaming for several days in a row, and the doctor is told why. The gang explains it was only a normal day for them, chasing ghosts. The doctor is skeptical (defeating the Evil Entity did not make the news after all), and he says Shaggy has a rare condition, overactive fear stimuli. He forbids Shaggy from entering the mystery machine. Already he is my main suspect. Being good friends they go to “La Serena: The Least Haunted place in America.” I love this reference to Crystal Cove. They head there in the new “The Mustard Machine.”
They stay with the eccentric Mr. Hubley, who jokes about dressing as a ghost to scare the locals off to buy their land. Safe to say he is the red herring. When getting food Scooby runs into the Phantosaur.
I find the design lacking, but the atmosphere is silent, which helps the scary mood. Fred, Daphne, and Velma meet some other suspects/characters. like professor Svankmejer.
Based on her design, which is not obviously evil, but somewhat stuck up looking I guess she is the villain. They also meet the worst character in the film, Winsor. Winsor looks like a male clone of Velma, and they fall in lust, and every scene with them is just slow. Then the Phantosaur attacks destroying equipment and chasing everyone. We then get a much more intense chase scene than usual, no song and hardly any talking. Shaggy goes unconscious and Scooby carries him away long enough for Fred to ram the dinosaur with The Mustard Machine. Hubley explains the legend of the Phantosaur. Native Americans made a curse on attacking Europeans by reviving an ancient monster (planing on a bear). It was a large sharptooth who instead drove out the natives and Europeans.
Hubley then hypnotizes Shaggy into being fearless when he hears the word “bad.” He also accidentally hypnotizes himself into forgetting his own word, and only Scooby is even trying to find out the word. This plot is dumb, but the mood is not that serious anyway, and it does set up the good stuff only one third into the run time. Shaggy and Scooby go to an all you can eat diner and make the owner consider bankruptcy.
Daphne finds off dinosaur tracks, and that is character re-railment. In the first series Daphne’s main contribution is she was the most observant and best clue finder. It was not until “Mystery Incorporated she got that niche back. Back with Shaggy he is told “bad” and become the fearless fighter who wipes out a biker gang in a fight. The great part is the reaction from Scooby and all the locks and wrestling moves Shaggy uses. Then the leader, Tex, comes.
While surrounded by his beaten companions Tex challenges Shaggy to a friendly motorcycle race on Dead man’s peak, dead man’s tray, dead man’s bluff, dead man’s curve, and dead man’s avenue. Shaggy accepts and proudly admits it will be his first ever motorcycle ride. Tex is enthusiastic about Shaggy’s craziness and promises not to beat him too badly bringing back normal Shaggy.
Fred and Daphne see two people from a mining company who are obvious red herrings. They think it is solved except Fred “still hasn’t caught anyone in a net yet.” Velma is too distracted by Winsor to be of any help.
Before the motorcycle race Tex brings “other guy” back, and Ultra Instinct Shaggy has a small lead until Tex nearly falls to his death and Shaggy saves him.
This is where it becomes clear that “Other Guy” is still Shaggy just missing the fear. He is still the same selfless guy, but now more heroic. The Phantosaur attacks and Shaggy thinks “bad…” meaning Scooby has to save him. The bikers and the rest of Mystery Inc. flood out the mining inc guys and the Phantosaur’s circuits are fried. The two are arrested and Daphne points out that was solved earlier than usual, as they are only at the 53 minute mark. They go back to Hubley’s home where the holograph technology is gone, and they find velociraptor claw marks and footprints. Then they find…
Again this is lacking. Their introduction is too quickly paced for any sense of dread, and their animation is stiff. Granted it then gets good with slow, dreadful action and good sounds, but on a re-watch this is weird. The dinosaurs are overweight college students who are trying to eat people. They even eat a cake version of Scooby and Shaggy that was quickly made. The raptors run outside where things are worse (except for the viewers).
Now this is great. The dinosaur has fire breath, people are in terror, the plot is fast enough for action, but slow enough for the atmosphere. The design is great. The raptors get more drool. Then Tex declares “If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s ghost dinosaurs.” The gang tries scaring them off until they eventually leave. They go to the professor who is evacuating, and her students have already left. Shaggy notices all the cars are still there even though the grad students supposedly just left. Fred makes a successful trap with flame throwers and Professor and Winsor run away. It was a hologram with heated air.
The professor found a preserved Allosaurus in the quartz and they needed to remove the town to get it out without anyone else noticing. The entire crew of students was in on it. They needed it out secretly and it was under public ground. It was the source of the Phantosaur myth, and they were inspired by the other fake Phantosaur. They use the explanation music from Mystery Incorporated, which I love. They had charges to blow the ground off, but they then go of due to a mistake Daphne makes meaning the cave they are all in is about to be mush. Thankfully professor says “bad” bringing a new leader to action.
In the very first episode of Scooby-Doo it was shown that Shaggy is a gymnast champion, and here he is jumping everywhere to get them to safety. He is doing all the work getting all seven out, and this is great. He is then one jump from getting out and getting help until Daphne says “not bad.” Scooby realizes the word but his impediment means he cannot say it or successfully communicate it. Shaggy is now panicking as the cave collapses, but Fred tells him everything Other Guy did is something he can do. Normal Shaggy goes for it in a surprisingly slow and tense scene. He has to jump, climb, and jump on moving rocks.
Peter Jackson, you plagiarist.
Shaggy makes the jump and finds Tex. He has ropes to get everyone out. He was there as he knew Shaggy could get out and his men camped at the only exit.
IS this good? In spite of its problems, yes. Like my last review it needed something that The Land Before Time sequels did so well, integrate different elements at the end for unity of plot. This has really bad unity of plot with two different dinosaur plots and neither are very connected to awesome Shaggy. The pace is to fast at times for the film’s tone and Winsor is terrible bringing down Velma too.
Yet this is the second best Scooby-Doo movie. Fred and Daphne are great in their limited role. It is nice seeing Scooby be so brave and smart, which are expected for a Mystery Incorporated type show. Shaggy is awesome and never disappointing. While the villains were too obvious Tex was great along with the other side characters like Hubley’s humor and the diner owner’s jokes. The tone was refreshingly serious, and I like the moral. If you did something great then you can repeat it or something similar. I recommend watching this.