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Warner Home Video presents
What's New Scooby-Doo? Space Ape at the Cape (2003)

"Are you sure you know what you're doing, Freddy?"
- Velma (Mindy Cohn)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: December 23, 2003

Stars: Frank Welker, Casey Kasem
Other Stars: Mindy Cohn, Grey Delisle, Tom Kenny
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:25m:00s
Release Date: August 19, 2003
UPC: 014764215525
Genre: animation

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Scooby-Doo and the gang have been solving mysteries for decades, and the appeal of the almost-talking dog seems as permanent as the neverending array of would-be ghosts, monsters, and ghouls they encounter. The show has lived on in endless reruns, and even survived a brief run as a series with all the characters as little kids (A Pup Named Scooby Doo), with the image of a pre-teen stoner Shaggy being nothing short of disturbing.

In a stab at revitalizing the franchise and maybe ride the coat tails of the success of the live-action film, What's New Scooby Doo? teeters on sacrilege by ditching the familiar theme song in favor of a peppy new song performed by Canadian "Blink-182-lite" popsters, Simple Plan. The song isn't bad, as far as cartoon theme songs go, but it seems a trifle sad to completely eliminate the original theme, which is one of those comfort songs to anyone who grew up on Scooby.

Or am I just over-romanticizing a dumb cartoon?

Well, purists will at least appreciate the fact that the premise of What's New Scooby Doo? is thankfully as one-note as the original episodes, with each installment finding Scooby, Freddy, Velma, and Daphne having to solve a mystery and unmask the culprit, all in about twenty-one minutes. Original voice talent Frank Welker (here doing both Freddy and Scooby) and Casey Kasem (Shaggy) are joined by Mindy Cohn (Velma) and Grey Delisle (Daphne), and we get the same dumb jokes about Scooby snacks, goofy musical montages, and stiff, lifeless animation. In other words, it's pretty much the same as it ever was. Sure, there are some modern touches&#8212the Mystery Machine has a talking GPS (voiced by SpongeBob Squarepants' Tom Kenny), Daphne has a cell phone and one episode on this disc centers on snow boarding&#8212but if you've seen one Scooby episode, you've seen 'em all.

Which brings me to who exactly is the target market for a disc like this? The episodes collected here are remarkably bland, and while youngsters may sit through their appearance on the tube, I shudder to imagine someone actually consciously selecting this DVD from a shelf and watching it. The four episodes on this disc feature the usual rehashed Scooby-type villains, including a rampaging snow beast (There's No Creature Like Snow Creature), a drooling purple alien (Space Ape at the Cape), a pair of Civil War ghosts (Big Scare in the Big Easy), and a dinosaur run amuck (3-D Struction).

Like clockwork, the gang captures the bad guy (or girl) for the big unmasking, and the criminals would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for those meddling kids.

Rating for Style: D
Rating for Substance: D


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Well, the disc looks nice, if nothing else. Not on the level of a major animated release, but certainly acceptable for a poorly animated television series. The 1.33:1 transfer reveals average, but pleasing colors and decent image detail.

Nothing special, but clean.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, French, Spanish, Portugueseyes

Audio Transfer Review: As with the image transfer, it's all about being decidedly average. Nothing to put your system to the test, with the upfront 2.0 surround contains voices that are mixed well, and the repetitive Simple Plan theme song sounded deep and full.

French, Spanish, and Portuguese tracks are also included.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 4 cues and remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Scooby-Doo and The Monster of Mexico, Scooby-Doo Meets the Harlem Globetrotters, Ozzy and Drix
4 Featurette(s)
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: Snapper
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Extreme Boardin' With Scooby-Doo
Extras Review: Extras are all kid-friendly (i.e. short and to the point) and none run longer than three and a half minutes. Backstage With Simple Plan (03m:21s) has the pre-teen heart throbs professing their love of all things Scooby, and of course singing that theme song once again. The Velma Dinkley music video (02m:15s) and the Mystery Inc music video (02m:15s) are assorted clips set to music, with Velma's being a jazzy little number and some twangy country for the other.

Get the Picture: How to Draw Scooby-Doo and the Gang (02m:15s) is a deceptively titled segment that simply shows an artist (in fast motion) drawing all the characters. There is also a redundant little game, entitled Extreme Boardin' With Scooby-Doo that may appeal to some younger viewers, but it seems to contain no replay value whatsoever.

DVD-ROM extras include sneak peek demos of three Scooby-themed computer games, as well as the usual Warner weblinks.

There are four chapters (one per episode) and available subtitles in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Extras Grade: C


Final Comments

Maybe I'm just being nostalgic, but the lame original Scooby-Doo episodes were much better than these lame new episodes, and the replacement of the theme song doesn't make it any easier to swallow.


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