10. Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Scooby’s canon is surprisingly deep (and convoluted). At this point, they are a part of the DC universe as much as the DC universe is a part of Scooby-Doo, which I think this movie gets. It’s not just a crossover with any version of Batman, but with Batman: Brave and the Bold, which ran from 2008 to 2011, a TV show that focused on team-ups the caped crusader had with other heroes. In this movie, Mystery Inc. is invited to a secret, exclusive club of detectives from DC with members like Batman, Martian Manhunter, or Plastic Man. As an initiation ceremony, they have to choose an unsolved case from the club and get attracted to the only case Batman could never solve, which is restricted. As always, everything goes sideways, turning into a fugitive story coupled with the mystery and the mythology from the dark knight and his super friends.
9. Scooby-Doo! and the Curse of the 13th Ghost
If you checked our TV show ranking, you should know that I’m a 13th Ghosts apologist. It’s a very creative show that stands out from the rest of the franchise with wonderful things like Vincent Van Ghoul. Sadly, that show never really got an ending, as it was canceled with only 13 episodes and one ghost on the loose. But thirty-four years later, we got a continuation with Scooby-Doo! And The Curse Of The 13th Ghost. Everyone (except Scrappy, who is still trapped in WB’s basement) returns for this movie that adapts the old show to the modern style of the franchise, in the finale for an ancient adventure that could decide the world’s fate.
8. Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo!
This is what would happen if you combined Mad Max: Fury Road with Scooby-Doo, and I love it so much. A sneaky crossover with Batman without Batman but with his villain, Scarecrow, this movie is perfect for Halloween. You have murderous sentient pumpkins, Elvira Mistress of the Dark, Scarecrow, and lots of mystery. But it’s not exactly a slow-paced movie, as the gang and a bunch of survivors find themselves driving top speed through a highway as the pumpkins pursue them. As the cherry on top, it also has one of the best portrayals of Daphne in the whole franchise, balancing perfectly how badass and unhinged she is.
7. Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo
As the first movie from the new and current era of Scooby-Doo (Although somehow 11 years old), Abracadabra-Doo brought a lot of change with it. This was the first time Matthew Lillard voiced Shaggy after Kasey Casem’s retirement, and the art style was completely changed from what was seen last time in the previous era. Now the mystery geeks are allowed to go back to their darker roots with threatening mansions with dim lighting. While it’s not so much horror-oriented as it is dark fantasy, it has a fun and engaging story with amazing animation that could rival that of Zombie Island.
6. Scooby-Doo! Frankencreepy
This feels made with love for the Scooby-Doo franchise, and for me, that’s all I need to say. But for the reader’s sake, I’ll expand on that. The instantly recognizable choice about the movie is the aesthetic, as it takes place in a gothic, stuck-in-time town that lends itself to some terrific shots and a great atmosphere. Despite the dark aesthetic, it’s still intended to be a funny movie, which it achieves with some great gags, like Freddy mourning the Mystery Machine or Velma going crazy. It goes deep into the Scooby-Doo lore with lots of references and call-backs while making an identity of its own, making it a must-watch Scoovie.
Even though it’s practically a cult movie at this point, I think there’s still a lot of things to say about it. Most people know that it’s insanely funny and a great time to watch even after countless rewatches, which is totally true. But I also think it’s an actual great movie. It wanted to be an adaptation of a really goofy cartoon, and it’s understated how good of a job it does at that. The sets are wonderfully over-the-top. The whole presentation of Spooky Island feels out of Where Are You. The actors are instantly iconic in their roles. It’s impossible to imagine someone else portraying them, even if there are a lot of purposeful differences between their animated counterparts. And talking animation, I can imagine it was truly difficult to capture the dynamism of animated characters in live-action, which I think they totally got, with a combined effort of the editing, the performances, and the script. I would say it couldn’t have been done better if it wasn’t for the amazing second part, which we’ll be discussing soon.
4. Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders
Most people think that after Zombie Island, the quality of the three subsequent movies declined, which I don’t think it’s true. The horror elements were significantly lower. That much it’s true. But while Cyber Chase decides to be a departure influenced by the changing technology in society and in the franchise, the first three are an exploration of Americana horror. Alien Invaders explores the growing paranoia around extraterrestrial life and hidden information by the government, taking place in New Mexico, in a town full of rumors and its own alien witness. It also has probably one of the top three songs in the franchise and one of the most memorable characters too. It’s the one I have the most nostalgia for, and with that said, I cannot recommend it enough.
3. Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island
If you somehow didn’t know, this is what most people consider to be the best Scooby-Doo movie ever made, and I totally see their point. This movie finds the gang in their adult years, mostly separated by the pass of time, and the search for the mystery present in almost every other iteration is absent after the first 20 minutes. It’s the horror itself that lures them and drives the story, creating a sense of isolation, inescapability and urgency. Most of the gags are gone, and in their place, there’s silence and suspense. It feels like a proper horror movie with the Scooby-Doo characters thrown in it, and there’s a lot to love about that. Even beyond how good it is on its own, Zombie Island revitalized the franchise after its first hiatus and set the path for its future, making it probably the most important piece of Scooby-Doo media there is.
2. Scooby-Doo! and the Witch’s Ghost
Yes, it might be a hot take to have this higher than Zombie Island, but I have my reasons. Continuing with the Americana horror, and this time it’s witches! The mystery gang meets a famous horror author named Ben Ravencroft, who invites them to Oakhaven, his hometown. Here we have one of the reasons why this movie is great: Not only does the main cast do an amazing job again, but we have Tim Curry as Ravencroft, who we know elevates instantly everything he’s in. And he’s not even the most recognizable character to come out of this film! We also meet the Hex Girls for the first time, a rock band of three eco-goth Wiccans. They were iconic right out of the gate and have become arguably the most popular side characters in the franchise. But even outside those great characters and incredible performances, we have an old-timey town during fall, a fun villain, and equally impressive or even better animation than in Zombie Island. Instead of having the plot and pacing of a horror movie, it goes back to something nearer to the Scooby-Doo formula while maintaining the previous movie’s philosophy, ending up as a great combination of both.
1. Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed
Yes, this is the best Scooby-Doo movie ever made, and I will fight anyone who disagrees. While the first live-action movie distances itself a bit from the source material by having a different tone and some plot choices like breaking up the gang at the beginning, the sequel is Scooby-Doo through and through. Everything I said about why the first one is great is still true here and even better. We have iconic sets like Wickle’s mansion or Mystery Incorporated’s HQ. There are so many wonderful comebacks from classic monsters, which the franchise never took advantage of, and the mystery is pretty cool with an appropriately very over-the-top main villain. We also have some great character arcs for the whole gang, like Velma learning to be vulnerable with other people (Despite the studio forcing the character to be straight to demonstrate that), Freddie realizing and correcting his toxic masculinity, Shaggy and Scooby’s desire to feel like heroes. The one who doesn’t actually apply is Daphne, with some scenes only exploring a bit how other people keep seeing her as a useless member in Mystery Inc., but she’s still awesome as always with the perfect performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar. This movie captures perfectly what Scooby-Doo is with unlimited fun and creating something of its own at the same time, making it, in my opinion, the best Scooby-Doo movie ever made.
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