Before going into the movie, it must be stated that Courage’s creator, John R. Dilworth, didn’t have any knowledge about the movie in question or the utilization of his character, finding out at the same time the public did when the trailer was released. While the creative team’s not at fault, using another artist’s creation without permission is unacceptable, even more, when dealing with a multibillion-dollar company.
Keeping up with the two direct-to-video movies a year module, Mystery Incorporated is back on our screens once again! You could say this one is a particularly special occasion since it’s not only a new Scooby-Doo movie but a crossover with the other easily frightened canine; Courage the Cowardly Dog! His show came to an end almost twenty years ago in 2002, and the last time we saw him was in a CGI special that only aired in Southeast Asia during Halloween of 2014. This movie not only marks the first time we see him since then, but the last time Thea White got to voice Muriel Bagge before her passing on July 30, 2021.
The movie starts as they often do in this era: with the gang at the end of a mystery, about to unmask another monster. However, Shaggy and Scooby decide to take a picture with the criminal, who, in this case, is a crazy clown. With the rest of the gang and the audience confused, the film takes the opportunity to slip in the central theme of the movie, which is courage, and what it means. They are trying, with the help of an app, to stop being terrified by everything. The other team members are very supportive of what they’re both attempting, but Scooby himself interrupts them, dancing uncontrollably and hallucinating, only to run off without warning. With their priorities in mind, the gang gets in the van to go look for Scoob, while Daphne says to the clown she’s sorry to not finish that properly, but there’s a family emergency, leaving him to grab the money and escape.
This is a truly great Scooby-Doo intro. It sets up the theme and conflict of the movie while characterizing our beloved teens (and dog) perfectly; they are not pseudo-mystery cops. They are a family who’s in it for the adventure and mystery.
But the presentation’s not over, as we then cross over (pun totally intended) to Courage’s home, who’s experiencing the same anomaly as Scooby, coupling that with Eustace’s torments. He runs outside, the sun already set, and finds Scooby. The two communicate in the best way two dogs with speech impediments can, but are suddenly attacked by giant cicadas. Thus, the team-up starts.
What follows is a rollercoaster of out-of-world oddities as the gang resides in the isolated house of Courage, miles away from anything at all and at the mercy of whatever dares attack them. While not nearly playing with horror as something like Zombie Island or even Camp Scare, it’s an interesting atmosphere and nice change of pace after two movies that concentrated more on the action and adventure, parodying Mad Max and telling a medieval story. It’s not an atmosphere that lasts long, but a welcome one, and what’s next is equally exciting, as the oddities continue to come their way, giving place to fun and creative set-pieces with time to shine for both sides of the crossover.
If you’re a fan of either franchise, this is a definite must-watch. It’s one of the best Scooby-Doo crossovers, managing to mix both the Scooby and Courage formula in a great, fun, and entertaining way that is easy to recommend.