Scooby-Doo (2002)

Inciting Event: All the friends receive mysterious invitations and run into each other at the airport and find out what the others have been up to for the last two years, since they broke up. Velma, who instigated the break-up by being the first to quit, has been working at NASA on research projects. Daphne tells how she overcame her damsel-in-distress syndrome by earning a black belt in martial arts. Shaggy meets a new girl, Mary Jane, who he instantly falls for. When they arrive on Spooky Island, they meet the proprietor as he emerges from a robot suit (a little foreshadowing there) and witness paranormal behavior among guests leaving the island.

First Plot Point: Daphne decides to go to the haunted castle attraction in hopes of solving the mystery all by herself, before anyone else does, to prove she isn’t helpless anymore like they knew her to be in days gone by.

The rest of the gang winds up there too, though, so they split up and do their own thing.

First Pinch Point: The gang is attacked by booby traps and threatening characters while trying to leave the haunted castle attraction. They escape with their clues: The Damon Ritus (an ancient artifact) and knowledge of the existence of a secret brainwashing facility (which is kind of a hazy plot point that only mostly makes sense at the end)

Midpoint: The real monsters bust into the clubhouse and capture Fred and Velma. The others wait for the Coast Guard to help.

Second Pinch Point: Instead, they wake up the next morning (or is it much later?) to find all evidence of the monsters’ attack erased. However, Scooby and Shaggy soon run into Fred’s body which has been possessed by one of the creatures. This kicks off a chase scene ending in Scooby and Shaggy’s getting into a fight because Shaggy doesn’t believe Scooby when he says Mary Jane is one of the monsters. Scooby falls down a hole and Shaggy dives in after him.

He doesn’t find Scooby, but he instead finds the rest of his friends’ spirit heads in a cauldron of spirit protoplasm. He fishes them out and they seek out their bodies.

After a brief mix-up and some vicarious sexual harassment of Daphne by Fred while occupying her body, they are all straightened out and reunited—except for Scooby Doo. They hatch a plan to rescue him.

It is discovered that the monsters die almost instantly when exposed to sunlight.

Fred finally starts treating Velma like a real member of the gang by giving her a nickname.

Third Plot Point: The gang sneaks into the underground chamber where the proprietor is performing a ritual sacrifice of Scooby Doo to obtain ultimate power.

Shaggy reconciles with Scooby and they break out of the ritual. The evil park proprietor initiates the ritual and sucks up all the brainwashed guests’ spirit protoplasm through the Damon Ritus. He almost gets Scooby’s protoplasm too, but is interrupted. During the struggle, the villain is unmasked and revealed to be none other than Scrappy Doo, the egomaniacal former member of Mystery. Inc., who was masquerading as the park’s proprietor in a robot suit.

Climax: Scrappy becomes a hulk dog using the spirit energy he absorbed and tries to smash our heroes. Each of the Mystery, Inc., members work together to stop Scrappy, while Daphne fights a luchador on the roof, using her new kung fu skills to get the skull-shaped disco ball into the cave and destroy the monsters with its reflected sunlight.

Climactic Moment: Daphne busts open the ceiling vent using the luchador’s body and drops in the disco ball. The monsters perish and the protoplasms escape Scrappy, re-entering their proper bodies and leaving Scrappy a tiny weakling pup.

Resolution: The gang are reunited and set off to have more adventures together. Shaggy’s new girlfriend Mary Jane is back to normal, too.

Most importantly, Fred finally gives Velma the credit (and uses a new the nickname he gave her) instead of stealing the spotlight like he always did before. She now feels like an appreciated, full member of Mystery, Inc.

Comments: This movie is not a good example of strong storytelling, but it does a fair job of resonating with the earmarks of the original cartoon series while exploring new character development. I suppose if they made the story too deep, it might have been too different from the whimsical cartoons to feel like a Scooby Doo episode. It still accomplishes its main goal of entertainment.

(Submitted by Aaron McCausland.)

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