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Anyone who knows me knows that I have been a big Scooby-Doo fan since childhood. I have been watching the antics of that beloved cowardly canine detective since I five years old. Sure, Iíve seen every episode of every series incarnation of Scooby-Doo since it all began, right up until the present. Of course, the original SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU! will always be my favorite, but I do have a fondness for all the later escapes of Scooby and the gang from Mystery Inc. The basic premise of SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU! continually found the members of Mystery Inc. stumbling onto supernatural happenings, which always turned out to be a front for some sort of criminal activity. Following the clues they always managed to stumble upon, the "meddling kids" of Mystery Inc. always manage to solve various crimes that left "the men and women of law enforcement" baffled.

After a successful two season run the characters of SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU! were reworked into modified format, which padded the half hour comedy/mystery exploits of Scooby and the gang to a full hour by adding famous "guest stars" into the mix. The reinvented and expanded series became THE NEW SCOOBY-DOO MOVIES, which ran for twenty-four episodes, before Scooby-Doo found himself being retooled for yet another incarnation. THE BEST OF THE NEW SCOOBY-DOO MOVIES ($65) comes to DVD in a four disc boxed set that features fifteen of the twenty-four episodes. Rumor has it that licensing issues with certain "guest star" appearances have precluded their inclusion here, but hopefully the remaining ten episodes will appear in a second collection.

The featured fifteen episodes on THE BEST OF THE NEW SCOOBY-DOO MOVIES are as follows: The Ghastly Ghost Town (featuring guest stars The Three Stooges), The Dynamic Scooby Doo Affair (featuring guest stars Batman & Robin), The Frickert Fracas (featuring guest star Jonathan Winters), Guess Who's Knott Coming To Dinner (featuring guest star Don Knotts), The Spooky Fog (featuring guest star Don Knotts), The Ghost Of Bigfoot (featuring guest stars Laurel & Hardy), The Ghost Of The Red Baron (featuring guest stars The Three Stooges), The Ghostly Creeps From The Deep (featuring guest stars The Harlem Globetrotters), The Caped Crusader Caper (featuring guest stars Batman & Robin), The Lochness Mess (featuring guest stars The Harlem Globetrotters), The Mystery Of Haunted Island (featuring guest stars The Harlem Globetrotters), The Exterminator (featuring guest star Don Adams), The Weird Winds Of Winona (featuring guest star Speed Buggy), The Haunted Candy Factory (featuring guest star "Mama" Cass Elliot) and The Haunted Carnival (featuring guest star Dick Van Dyke).

Warner Home Video has made all the episodes that comprise THE BEST OF THE NEW SCOOBY-DOO MOVIES available on DVD in the proper 4:3 full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. Again, I have to comment that like the preceding series, THE BEST OF THE NEW SCOOBY-DOO MOVIES looks as though Team Xerox animated it, so no one will be blown away by the quality of the animation. The image itself appear as sharp as this type of vintage Saturday morning cartoon fare is likely to look. Colors are pretty vibrant, although there are occasions where the hues appear a bit more subdued. Blacks are accurate, whites are clean and contrast is all one should expect from this type of fare. The film elements display modest blemishes (many of which are part of the original animation) and a bit of grain. Digital compression artifacts are always well contained. The Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks are solid enough and free from noticeable hiss or major distortions. The dialogue is completely intelligible, but the sound effects and music are low to mid fidelity. No other language soundtracks are provided on the DVD, English, French, and Spanish subtitles are included.

Music and a bit of animation serve to enhance the interactive menus, which provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some extras. The Hanna-Barbera Kennel Club Roasts Scooby-Doo is an amusing five-minute program in which other Hanna-Barbera characters pay tribute the popular canine star. Uptown With Scooby-Doo And The Harlem Globetrotters runs eight minutes and features live action Globetrotters interacting with their animated counterparts. Girls Rock! Clocks in at nine minutes and features various observations about the women of Mystery Inc. Trailers for THE FLINTSTONES SEASON 1, THE FLINTSTONES SEASON 2, THE FLINTSTONES SEASON 3, TOP CAT: THE COMPLETE SERIES, WACKY RACES: THE COMPLETE SERIES and WHAT'S NEW, SCOOBY-DOO? VOL. 5 close out the extras.

I still love Scooby-Doo and am pleased that more of his escapades are coming to DVD. Letsí hope weíll see the rest of THE NEW SCOOBY-DOO MOVIES before long. However, considering that the credit sequences for the episodes contained in this set have been altered to remove images of certain "guest stars" there may be an awfully long wait before that release happens. With that said, THE BEST OF THE NEW SCOOBY-DOO MOVIES that is certain to tickle fans. Warner has done a good job with the presentations, with the episodes on DVD outshining your typical cartoon network rebroadcast. If you love the Doo, youíll want to check out this set.



The Best of the New Scooby-Doo Movies (1972)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2005 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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