Why It’s Time to Revisit Live-Action Scooby-Doo

Summary

  • Scooby-Doo movies have aged well and hold a nostalgic charm for fans of the original cartoons.
  • There is a recent trend of adapting animated characters into live-action settings, offering the potential for a new live-action Scooby-Doo iteration.
  • Revisiting the franchise in a live-action form could update the characters and world while capturing the true potential of the series.


It’s Halloween season and a perfect time to revisit some incredibly spooky, family-friendly adventures from yesteryear. There have been so many live-action adaptations based on cartoons, although many have been lost to time and largely forgotten about. However, there is one franchise that has continued to live on in its animated form and holds a special place for a certain generation. Scooby-Doo might have dominated the cartoon landscape, but it also stepped its paws into the live-action world to a mixed critical response. Somehow, the movies have aged pretty well, though.

There’s an increased focus on returning to these kinds of proven franchises, even if the initial outings didn’t prove to be as financially sustainable as expected. Nostalgia is a powerful thing, and there are certainly plenty of emotional ties between audiences and Mystery Inc. This might be the best time to revisit a live-action iteration of Scooby-Doo despite its flaws. Not only should there be a push to appreciate the charm and humor of the originals, allowing those previous entries to thrive with a new audience, but there should also be a move toward a sequel that can capture the true potential of the series.

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There’s a Trend in Moving From Animation to Live-Action

Space Jam 2

There’s been a real trend recently in the kids’ market of taking animated characters and placing them in live-action settings. That might be through a direct adaptation such as Clifford the Big Red Dog or Paddington, where CGI is used to create photo-realistic variations on the classic characters. But then there’s also a more direct approach being used, where an animated character is actually surrounded by a live-action backdrop. Space Jam: A New Legacy embraced this trend, as has Tom & Jerry. Scooby-Doo has some truly strange cartoon character designs that never got to make the jump from one medium to the other.

Perhaps upon a revisit to the franchise in a live-action form, Scooby himself should be animated still, akin to Who Framed Roger Rabbit. However, the original series opted for a CGI approach that looked cartoonish and stylized at times but ultimately was more photo-realistic than a full-on animated version. Since technology has come such a long way since that period, a return to the series with a sequel definitely provides a good opportunity to update that model. Indeed, the industry trends might be in place to allow for an increased interest in the animation to live-action genre regardless of the techniques used. But is there any passion for the franchise in general right now?

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The Scooby-Doo Movies Are Underrated But Nostalgic

The Scooby-Doo movies are certainly nostalgic for a specific generation of fans. There’s a large portion of the audience who grew up with the cartoons and couldn’t believe their eyes when Scooby was suddenly in live-action. There are also plenty of fan theories and analyses surrounding those original films, with the cinematic outings acting as a perfect continuation of the animated show, even paying reference to past foes and monsters. Despite a poor critical reception, the movies are genuinely underrated and connected with the audience beyond the familiarity of the characters and world. In fact, the second film, in particular, called Monsters Unleashed, which was directed by Raja Gosnell and boasts a writing credit from James Gunn, has a genuinely moving narrative to get sucked into.

The film sees the crew return to their childhood hideout so that they can get away from the huge variety of monsters that have been let loose. The movie acts as an analysis of the legacy they are leaving behind while reflecting on the breakdown of their relationships with one another. It’s a character-first piece that still boasts the scares and silliness of the cartoon but with a genuine human story at its core. While the first Scooby-Doo movie is still loved by some and set the stage for the franchise, it’s the sequel that really begins to show how much potential the gang had in this form. It’s a genuine shame the series ended there, but with cast members like Freddie Prinze Jr. talking about a negative experience on set, it might be hard to get the gang to reunite once more. However, at the very least, the sequel demonstrates that there’s a reason to go back to the live-action releases, even if it’s just so a newer generation can see the iconic characters in an unexpected format.

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It Might Be the Right Time to Revisit Live-Action Scooby-Doo

Split image of Scooby and Shaggy in Scooby-Doo The Movie (2002) and Scooby-Doo On Zombie Island

It’s a time for second chances, and in theory, the trends in the industry all point towards giving the Scooby-Doo series another go in this format. There have been a few attempts to rejuvenate the brand in recent years, with movies like Scoob! and TV shows such as Velma. Warner Bros. Discovery is obviously looking for something different to do with the property that could bring in older viewers and still appeal to a younger audience. A live-action iteration is a natural option, as it can pack in an all-star cast and play on some of the nostalgia that has been built. Although a reboot is absolutely an option, with a live-action film perhaps introducing a different iteration of Mystery Inc., it would make much more sense to move forward with a sequel.

Of course, the viability of that right now is pretty low, especially since those other attempts to change up the Scooby-Doo series didn’t pan out how WB perhaps would have hoped. But just because it might not happen, it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t. There’s so much potential with these characters and this world to level up the whole franchise to an even more cinematic scale while still pulling emotionally compelling performances out of the leads. And with the updates in technology, Scooby himself would look better than ever. It’s a great time to revisit the series, respect the old iterations and look to something new.

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