The initial setup is a simple. Scooby and the Mystery Inc. gang find themselves fighting a series of monsters they have previously conquered that are miraculously brought back to life. The monsters were part of a new exhibit at Coolville's Coolsonian Museum until an anonymous masked villain releases them to wreak havoc on the city. Mystery Inc. to the rescue? Nope: Their investigation is hampered by a public relations nightmare created by an overzealous reporter Heather Jasper-Howe (Alicia Silverstone) who criticizes the gang on local television. Instead of focusing on the task at hand, Fred (Freddie Prinze Jr.) and Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar) spend most their time trying to protect their image.
This inability to focus on the adventure paves the way for the introduction of other extraneous subplots that further obstruct the film's buoyancy. The museum curator, Patrick (Seth Green), asks the frumpy Velma (Linda Cardellini) on a date, but because she thinks so little of herself, Velma refuses to go. Later, after a Daphne-style makeover, a prettied-up Velma agrees to the date; she is disappointed, though, when Patrick has an unfavorable reaction to her new style. While Velma deals with her self-esteem issues, Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) and Scooby-Doo deal with similar personal problems after they botch-up the latest investigation. Did anyone call for a shrink?
It's not just the ridiculous subplots that handicap Monsters Unleashed. The film also suffers from a convoluted storyline that even I could barely follow, let alone a child. We're introduced to so many possible villains, it's impossible to determine who's behind all the madness. There are just too many people who could be villains who later turn out not to be actual villains, but are finally linked to someone else's villainous activity. The mystery is resolved in the final five minutes, when, I guess, the filmmakers decided to make up their minds and stop stringing us along.
This time the mystery is too difficult to fit together, and kids will spend more time trying to make sense of the extra detritus than letting loose at the gang's wild antics.
The DVD adds 7 minutes of deleted scenes, music videos, making-of featurettes, and various other kid-friendly features.
Yoiks! Green stuff!
Run time: 93 mins
In Theaters: Friday 26th March 2004
Box Office USA: $84.0M
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Production compaines: Warner Bros. Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 21%
Fresh: 24 Rotten: 90
IMDB: 4.9 / 10
Director: Raja Gosnell
Screenwriter: James Gunn
Starring: Freddie Prinze Jr. as Fred, Sarah Michelle Gellar as Daphne, Matthew Lillard as Shaggy, Linda Cardellini as Velma, Seth Green as Patrick, Peter Boyle as Old Man Wickles, Tim Blake Nelson as Jacobo, Alicia Silverstone as Heather