Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Scooby-Doo! Music of the Vampire – review

Director: David Block

Release date: 2012

Contains spoilers

Those who are regular readers of TMtV will know that I have a soft spot for Scooby-Doo. The series of feature lengths that have been out are notable for the fact that (at least some of them) have monster antagonists rather than villains in rubber masks and this was even better. To me, the modern films must use Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island as the bench mark.

This feature is back in the Southern States at its opening and we hear a song about the bayou. This is sung by Tulie (Jim Cummings, who voiced a character in Zombie Island and Hellboy animated, Blood and Iron). Now, an opening song we can kind of expect but a word of warning… the film is a musical. Some fit – for instance whilst tied into a stage show… others… well let’s just say that Daphne (Grey DeLisle, also Blood and iron plus What’s New Scooby-Doo: the Vampire Strikes Back & Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: The Secret Serum) tries to convince us by suggesting that everyone loves show tunes!

Following the song Tulie shows us the jewels of a vampire bride – a reluctant bride at that, who happened to be saved when a talking dog… he realises he is getting ahead of himself. The story begins below a factory in another part of the continent. The gang are monster hunting; Shaggy (Matthew Lillard, the Secret Serum) and Scooby-Doo (Frank Welker) are alone as always but in radio contact with Daphne, Velma (Mindy Cohn, also the Secret Serum & the Vampire Strikes Back) and Fred (also Frank Welker). During the chatter it becomes clear that the cases are beginning to merge into one for Shaggy. They catch the cockroach monster – a man in a mask – and Velma suggests they need a vacation.

going to a signing
The vacation location is a secret (and the drive an excuse for singing) but they eventually reach the town of Petit Chauve Sourie Ville – Velma translates it as Little Bat Town. The town was founded by Abraham Van Helsing – the famous vampire hunter – and is now the home of the annual Vampire Palooza. Velma has brought her copy of the book Silverlight – said by the New York Times to be “Sappy and Glittery” – which she hopes to get signed by the author. This was a nice little Twilight backhander, successful through its own brevity. En route to the Palooza the gang come across morale protester Jesper Poubelle (also Jim Cummings), who wants the festival stopped.

Lord Valdronya
To the disgust of promoter Lita Rutland (Mindy Sterling) the gang get in for free, because their names have been left at the gate by landowner and self-proclaimed vampirologist Vincent Van Helsing (Jeff Bennett). All is not well, visitors aren’t coming and Lita is thinking of pulling out next year. Van Helsing shows the gang his collection, which includes the actual vampire Lord Valdronya (also Jeff Bennett) – a vampire sealed in a glass fronted coffin. That night the gang go to see vampire show performed by Fangenschanz, an acting troupe so dedicated to the vampire lifestyle that they only perform at night.

Vampire show
During their performance they use a spell taken from the book of vampires and it causes them to summon Lord Valdronya. Now awakened he seeks a bride, through whom he will gain further powers and it seems that Daphne is high on his bride wish list. Meanwhile Van Helsing wants the vampire stopped, Lita is capitalising on the events to draw in tourists and Poubelle is making political capital out of the events…

Shaggy and Scooby
This was okay. I won’t spoil which direction they went in with the monster (though I am sure you can guess given the description above). The voice acting was fine and the animation excellent. There was Scooby-Doo silliness but not too much. The main problem was the singing, it just wasn’t floating my boat and as such it made the feature drag in places. I don’t mind the odd song in Scooby-Doo (especially wrapped around a madcap chase scene) but the show tunes were just a step too far. A shame really 5.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


Alex. G said...

Not a big Scooby Doo fan. Well not of the old show at least, but the Zombie Island movie was pretty good and if this is in the same vein as that one I might check it out.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Just beware the show-tunes :)