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SCOOBY-DOO AND THE MONSTER OF MEXICO

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First up, I have to say that the last Mystery Inc. animated outing, SCOOBY-DOO AND THE LEGEND OF THE VAMPIRE, was lackluster and something of a disappointment. That direct-to-video animated adventure certainly gave this life long Scooby-Doo fan the impression that more than The Mystery Machine was running out of gas. That is probably why I wasn’t too eager to check out the latest caper SCOOBY-DOO AND THE MONSTER OF MEXICO ($25). Still, as a Scooby fan and could only resist popping the DVD in the player for so long.

I am happy to report that SCOOBY-DOO AND THE MONSTER OF MEXICO turned out to be a better program than its predecessor, so I guess the thirty-five year old dog isn’t quite over the hill yet. Sure, SCOOBY-DOO AND THE MONSTER OF MEXICO is no SCOOBY-DOO ON ZOMBIE ISLAND, but it is definitely a step in the right direction. The plot of SCOOBY-DOO AND THE MONSTER OF MEXICO finds the Scooby Gang heading south of the boarder to visit Freddy’s online pal and celebrate Mexico’s Day Of The Dead. Unfortunately, before the meddling kids of Mystery Inc. arrive in Mexico, the monstrous El Chupacabra has shown up in the town and has driven off all of the tourist staying at Freddy’s pal’s hotel. So, before you can scarf down that next Scooby Snack, Freddy, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby find themselves sniffing out clues to solve the mystery of El Chupacabra. SCOOBY-DOO AND THE MONSTER OF MEXICO features the vocal talents of Frank Welker, Casey Kasem, Heather North, Nicole Jaffe and Rip Taylor.

Warner Home Video’s DVD release of SCOOBY-DOO AND THE MONSTER OF MEXICO is presented in the direct-to-video, 4:3 television aspect ratio (why direct-to-video releases aren’t yet being produced in 16:9 is beyond me). The animation is somewhat better than an episode of WHAT’S NEW SCOOBY-DOO?, but not theatrical caliber animated feature. For the most part, SCOOBY-DOO AND THE MONSTER OF MEXICO looks very good, producing an image as crisp and well defined as this type of 2D animation can deliver. Colors are strongly rendered and are reproduced without noise or signs of smearing. Since this is a direct-to-video DVD title, there is no obvious wear on the elements, with everything appearing virtually pristine. Digital compression artifacts are never an issue on this DVD release.

For this type of program, SCOOBY-DOO AND THE MONSTER OF MEXICO comes with a pretty darn good Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. Sound effects are well deployed in the full surround soundstage, and the sound design is fairly active for a direct-to-video animated program. Music sounds well recorded and comes across with a very good level of fidelity. Dialogue is always completely understandably and the voices ring with a distinct sense of character. A French Dolby Surround soundtrack is also encoded onto the DVD, along with English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Music underscores the basic (16:9 enhanced) interactive menus, which provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some extras. On hand, providing a running commentary are those intrepid Mystery Inc. sleuths Freddy, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo! The commentary itself has its mildly amusing moments, but it is also a bit sparse. Creating A Monster is a brief making of featurette that includes interviews with the production crew and vocal talent. Monster Of Mexico Scrapbook is a two-minute story recap with stills and narration by Shaggy. A series of animated Bloopers, plus a few bonus trailers close out the extras.

SCOOBY-DOO AND THE MONSTER OF MEXICO is a fun Scooby Gang adventure that proves that our favorite cowardly canine sleuth has some life left in him yet. If you are a Scooby-Doo fan, you will want to check out SCOOBY-DOO AND THE MONSTER OF MEXICO on DVD.

 

SCOOBY-DOO AND THE MONSTER OF MEXICO 


Scooby-Doo and the Monster of Mexico (2003)

 


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2004 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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