LEGO Scooby-Doo: Haunted Hollywood combines the cleverness of LEGO animation and the goofy humor of Scooby-Doo, in a cartoon movie that’s been updated for modern day.
Disclaimer: I was given a free copy by Warner Bros. for the purposes of a review.
LEGO Scooby-Doo: Haunted Hollywood begins with a familiar scene: Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) and Scooby (Frank Welker) being used as monster bait. After deciding to take a vacation from solving mysteries, Shaggy and Scooby win a vacation in Hollywood. The studio that hosts the tour, however, has fallen on hard times. Fred (Frank Welker), Velma (Kate Micucci), Daphne (Grey Griffin), Shaggy and Scooby are asked to make a movie that will save the studio. From there, the inevitable Scooby plot ensues: Monsters ruin their plans, until said monsters are revealed to be people with plans for the studio. The studio manages to stay afloat, thanks to the Scooby gang.
LEGO Scooby-Doo: Haunted Hollywood is a refreshing change from the recent Scooby-Doo DVD movies. Warner Bros. is trying very hard to update the Scooby gang, as well as partner with successful properties, in an attempt to snag a great marketing position. But those attempts haven’t been enjoyable to watch, like Scooby-Doo & KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery, or Scooby-Doo Meets the Harlem Globetrotters. LEGO Scooby-Doo: Haunted Hollywood is a smart mash-up of brands, resulting in an entertaining movie.
One of the things I love about all the LEGO movies, cartoons and video games, is that they embrace the kitsch. Lots of the jokes are meta, with a wink to the audience, nearly breaking the fourth wall. For instance, at the beginning of the movie, Velma tells Shaggy, “The only thing to fear at a movie studio are their sequels.” Also, the opening credits theme is reminiscent of cheesy ’80s music, synthesizers and all.
Along with tongue-in-cheek humor, LEGO cartoons are fantastic at turning familiar tropes upside down. Shaggy, himself, gets impatient when a villain is revealed and it’s time to go through their boilerplate dialogue. He cuts off the villain, saying “gotten away with it too” and “meddling kids” while they rest of the gang goggles. Heck, he and Scooby even swear off Scooby Snacks!
The Scooby gang fully inhabits a LEGO world, much like the Simpsons did in “Brick Like Me.” LEGO bricks go cascading when buildings and movie sets fall apart. When villains are unmasked, the characters have to watch that their whole heads don’t pop off. Props, vehicles and costumes are all LEGO-style, adding a whole level of fun to the movie. It’s like looking at an amazing LEGO collection and marveling at all the tiny pieces.
Updates to the old-fashioned Scooby gang include selfies, social media and talk of “trending.” In fact, the movie that puts the studio back into the black is a “found footage” horror flick, made from security camera footage that’s been edited together, a la The Blair Witch Project.
See also: LEGO Haunted Mystery Mansion
Young viewers will especially enjoy LEGO Scooby-Doo: Haunted Hollywood, especially if they aren’t as familiar with how Scooby-Doo episodes go. While the story is predictable, there are enough surprises to keep it entertaining.