STUDIO: Warner Bros.
MSRP: $19.97
RUNNING TIME: 87 Minutes
• A Scooby-Doo Vacation: Mini-European Tour
• European Travel Adventure Challenge
• Available Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
• Audio Tracks: English, Spanish, French

The Pitch

“Scooby and the gang don’t age and their antics refuse to get old and tired! Right?”

The Humans

Voice work from Casey Kasem (as Shaggy Rogers), Frank Welker (as Scooby-Doo/Fred Jones), Mindy Cohn (as Velma Dinkley) and Grey Delisle (as Daphne Blake).

The Nutshell

In this four-episode volume of the What’s New Scooby-Doo TV series, Scooby, Shaggy and the usual gang of teen sleuths go on a European vacation, only to find that they can’t get away from those darned mysteries. In Pompeii & Circumstance, the meddling kids and their mangy mutt travel to Italy to check out all the usual tourist attractions. Well wouldn’t you know it, when they reach Pompeii a ghostly gladiator spoils their sight-seeing! Is the gladiator really the spirit of an ancient warrior protecting his land’s precious artifacts from interlopers, or is there something fishy going on?

Next, the team of snoops go to Greece in It’s All Greek to Scooby-Doo. A couple of archeologists believe they have discovered the key to locating the lost city of Atlantis. Unfortunately, the amulet that can lead them to their goal is cursed by an evil Centaur, which haunts anyone who possesses it! The archeologists lose the amulet, and Shaggy buys it from a street vendor. When the Centaur begins stalking Shaggy and the rest of the kids, it’s time to investigate another mystery. Will Shaggy fall victim to the Centaur’s wrath, or is the Centaur actually an evil schemer trying to pull off a dastardly deed?

"That looks like a clue, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to fish it out."

From the Mediterranean to the land of marzipan, the Scooby pals make their way to France in Ready to Scare to see Daphne’s model cousin Danica strut her [animated] stuff in a Paris fashion show. To Daphne’s dismay, her cousin is abducted from the runway by a ghastly gargoyle! While searching for the kidnapped kin, Shaggy and Scooby meet an alarming bell-ringer with an upper-back protrusion in the Notre Dame Cathedral. Does this quasi-so-and-so have something to do with Danica’s snatch, or is the gargoyle a gruesome genuine?

The last stop on the group’s continental tour takes them to Scotland for an authentic renaissance fair at Glasburgh Castle. And what’s a medieval castle without a troublesome dragon terrorizing the locals? A pretty boring castle, that’s for sure! In Large Dragon at Large, the legend of Glassie the 1,000 year-old dragon becomes more than a legend, but don’t expect Velma or Freddie to let a no-longer-sleeping dragon lie. Does the history of the castle hold a clue or two to the dragon’s presence? How many highly-coordinated people would it take to animate a giant, fire-breathing dragon, and on which parts would one start pulling to reveal their identities at the end of the story?

The Package

Never accuse Warner Bros. of wasting an opportunity to release another flimsy snapper case that every single DVD collector on the planet despises. I want to see a cost analysis comparing a standard keep case with paper insert to the snapper, because until I do, I will not believe that snappers are better for the bottom line. Besides the case, the artwork is fine. The video quality is as good as the average television broadcast, with no noticeable distortion or compression problems. The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is unremarkable, but it’s a cartoon, so no big letdown there. Special features include A Scooby-Doo Vacation: Mini-European Tour Complete with Scooby Snacks, which plays like an extended trailer for all the episodes, nothing more nothing less. The Scooby Snacks part is just a recap of some of the food Shaggy and Scooby drool over. The European Travel Adventure Challenge is an interactive game for youngsters. The goal is to take snapshots of the monsters in each episode as they cross the screen using your remote control. It’s fun for a second or two, but don’t expect much replay value. I’m talking to you, eight-year-old CHUD readers.

First generation Transformers didn’t fight well or talk much.

The Lowdown

I love the classic Scooby-Doo episodes from the 60’s and 70’s. I was virtually raised by phantom racecar drivers and Jerry Reed singing “Pretty Mary Sunlite”. I wanted to ride around in the Mystery Machine all night, looking for ways to meddle. So it’s as an old, 30-something curmudgeon that I must proclaim these new adventures of the Scooby gang to be less entertaining than the originals. Daphne carries a cell phone (yeah, yeah, who doesn’t these days, right?). Velma rarely loses her glasses and quips a little too often. Fred is about the same as in the old days: useless until it’s time to spring a trap. Shaggy and Scooby don’t spend nearly enough time wandering around in the dark looking for reefer snacks. The stories seem even more lightweight than in the classic shows too. It’s really hard to mess up the Scooby formula, but in two of the four episodes, the big reveal is a big letdown. Maybe the formula has run its course. And watch out for some fairly lousy chase scenes with even more lousy musical accompaniment. The music director must love Blink 182. Singing in a foreign language doesn’t make the choppy lyrics and “punk” guitar riffs sound any better. And I really dislike the new theme song.

Indiana Jones guested in the episode It’s the 113th Day of Sodom, Scooby-Doo.

Now I’ll play fair. I like the fact that a Scooby cartoon show still exists on TV, and I don’t expect young kids to identify with the old series the way I did. Besides the horrible music, the stories aren’t painfully bad. I’ve only seen these four episodes of the three seasons that exist. A mystery cartoon show with these characters of passable quality is better than none at all. It’s also great that original voice actors Kasem and Welker are still around to bridge the gap between two generations of cartoon lovers. Mindy Cohn (formerly Natalie from The Facts of Life) as Velma is another famous name associated with this series. At least Scrappy-Doo is still in missing in action. It will be a dark day if he ever returns to a Scooby series. Seriously, fuck Scrappy.

6.0 out of 10

While in Italy, Daphne picked up a gesture or two from the locals.