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Coming nineteen years after the cowardly canine detectiveís debut, SCOOBY-DOO AND THE RELUCTANT WEREWOLF ($20) is something of a creative low point for the character. This movie length program jettisons most of the members of Mystery Inc., as well as the premise that the SCOOBY-DOO series was built upon. Instead, SCOOBY-DOO AND THE RELUCTANT WEREWOLF tells the story of a racecar driving Shaggy, who ends up being transformed into a werewolf by Count Dracula, because the vampire wants him to drive in a monster auto race after his regular werewolf retires to Florida.

Of course, Shaggy doesnít want to spend the rest of his life as a werewolf and pleads with the Count to be made human again. Dracula agrees to change Shaggy back to his former self, but only if Shaggy consents to drive in the monster auto rally and wins the race. What follows is a series of dirty tricks perpetrated by the Countís hunchback henchmen to keep Shaggy from winning the race and remaining a reluctant werewolf forever. SCOOBY-DOO AND THE RELUCTANT WEREWOLF was obviously aimed a more juvenile audience than the classic SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU? TV series- as the presence of Scrappy-Doo and the level of the filmís humor will certainly attest. Still, younger kids will certainly enjoy SCOOBY-DOO AND THE RELUCTANT WEREWOLF for its goofy humor, however longtime adult fans of Scooby-Doo might be better served by picking up one of the newer direct to video adventures, all of which have shown up on DVD.

Warner Home Video has made SCOOBY-DOO AND THE RELUCTANT WEREWOLF available on DVD in a full screen presentation appropriate to the original television broadcast. The quality of the animation is decidedly low budget and the transfer is an accurate representation of that fact. While the image is definitely watchable, it has a very flat appearance and many shots appear decidedly soft. Colors are generally vibrant and are reproduced without any significant signs of smearing. Digital compression artifacts never really make their presence known on the DVD.

As you might have guessed, this 1988 television production features a monaural soundtrack, which has been encoded into Dolby Digital. The sound has that slightly compressed television quality, but it is nothing that the kids will notice. Dialogue is always completely understandable, so one isnít likely to miss the jokes- even the groaners that are worth missing. French and Spanish language soundtracks are also encoded onto the DVD, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few extras. Get The Picture shows how to draw Scooby-Doo. There is a Scooby And Shaggy Love To Eat music video, plus And The Race Is On interactive game included on the DVD. In a brilliant bit of marketing, a trailer for the upcoming live action SCOOBY-DOO movie has been provided on the DVD. Trailers for other Scooby-Doo DVD titles and other animated titles close out the DVDís extras. SCOOBY-DOO AND THE RELUCTANT WEREWOLF is also DVD-ROM enabled, offering game demos and web links.

SCOOBY-DOO AND THE RELUCTANT WEREWOLF doesnít represent the cowardly canine detectiveís finest ninety minutes, but younger kids will find it funny and diverting. Older fans should stick with DVD titles like SCOOBY DOOíS ORIGINAL MYSTERIES or SCOOBY-DOO AND THE ALIEN INVADERS.



 Scooby-Doo's Original Mysteries  Scooby-Doo's Spookiest Tales
 Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost  Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island
 Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase  Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders

Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf 


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2002 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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