KISS, one of the most popular rock bands of all time (and my all time favorite too), takes center stage in the latest Scooby-Doo! full-length animated film, Scooby-Doo! And KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery, set for release on Blu-ray by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment July 21st. Starchild (Paul Stanley), Demon (Gene Simmons), Catman (Eric Singer) and Spaceman (Tommy Thayer) join everyone’s favorite teen sleuths in an explosive, new, must-see musical adventure that I personally guarantee you no KISS Army member will want to miss! In Scooby-Doo! And KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery, the Mystery Inc. gang travels to KISS World, an amusement park dedicated to the band, for a special Halloween concert headlined by the legendary rock group. Can you tell how excited I am about this Blu-ray release? I’m frickin’ doing cartwheels over it. Read on and I’ll tell you why!
Besides the current lineup of the real life band members of KISS themselves, Scooby-Doo! And KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery is filled special guest stars. Guest voice performances include the likes of Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Darius Rucker (yes you read that name right), Garry Marshall, Penny Marshall, Jennifer Carpenter and Pauley Perrette. And if that’s not enough, check the following out. Not one, but six KISS anthem songs (“Shout it Out Loud,” “Rock ‘n’ Roll All Nite,” “Love Gun,” “Detroit Rock City,” “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” and even “Modern Day Delilah”) will be featured alongside an original new “comedic” song performed by the band, called “Don’t Touch My Ascot,” just for the film.
So y’all are probably familiar with my undying love of the band from my Blu-ray praise of the recently released (finally) Detroit Rock City and exclusive interview and chat with director Adam Rifkin (and more) over here, but quite frankly I don’t think you care. You’re here to find out what Scooby-Doo! And KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery is all about. Luckily for you, I’m here to indulge your wish so you don’t have to proverbially crap in your other hand. Here’s how it all goes down.
The main gist of the story is this. The animated film of the hour here involves a major concert featuring the world-famous rock band…Eric Singer drum roll please…KISS. However, the rock show is in jeopardy and legions of KISS fans will be let down, that is unless Scooby-Doo and his trusty pals solve a mystery that’s keeping concert goers from the venue. So what’s scaring park visitors away from the premises? Did you really think it would be that easy? I would have to be a witch to do that and I’m not about to divulge that kind of information and ruin the fun rock ‘n’ roll ride for you here. Scooby-Doo has always been about mysteries and solving them by the end of each episode, and this 79-minute feature is no different.
The question should really be why KISS in Scooby-Doo? Well, for those of you who know anything about the Demon, Gene Simmons, you would know he’s probably a bigger superhero freak/worshipper than the inner geek within you and I. The man grew up loving/worshipping comics, horror movies, etc. and don’t you think for one minute some of that influence rubbed off in the creation of the Hottest Band in the World, KISS? Of course it did! Their persona and image is “Larger Than Life.” They are a live, walking comic book and they’ve been doing it more successfully than anyone else for the past 40-plus years. Only pioneers in the field such as Stan Lee or Jack Kirby can compete in that sandbox, but I digress. KISS is in this feature so deal with it. Now where was I? Oh yeah! The rest of the story…
At KISS World, Scooby-Doo and the gang meets all four members of KISS, who agree to let them all (Scooby, Shaggy, Fred, Daphne and Velma) help them solve the mystery of the blankety-blank (omitted here for your protection). Together they embark on an unforgettable, rocking and rolling adventure as they discover something sinister and evil has come to KISS World to summon The Destroyer (hell yeah!), an evil being from the alternate dimension of Kissteria (think Galactus from the Marvel comics world)! Yes, you read that right! The ghastly plan is to obviously destroy the earth! The question now remains, can Scooby-Doo and gang’s cunning and KISS’s power of rock save the day?! This and so much more, which I’ll go over down below, is why you should tune in to this rock and roll mystery for some FUN! Yep! That is the key word here, F-U-N.
Let’s first talk about KISS World. What an absolutely amazing place on Earth for any fan of KISS. If this place were real, I would move to whatever city its located in and have a season pass or two. That’s how much I’m in love with the fictional setting of KISS World. It’s like the best of a carnival and amusement park environment coupled with everything being KISS themed, including KISS merchandise up the wahzoo. You want a KISS flashlight? No problem! However, don’t forget your KISS batteries to power it. Need to take a dump? How about buying a KISS toilet to use in the privacy of your own home? You get the picture, right? Just like in the real world, KISS merchandising is everywhere from Kondoms to Koffins, and the writers of Scooby-Doo! And KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery take full advantage of their dominant pulp culture status. It’s nice to see the band so self aware and being loose enough to joke about it (even with their big rockstar personas intact). Now don’t get me wrong, if I had the cash, you bet I’d own a KISS toilet. #Serious. Haha.
So here’s the deal, even if you’re not a Scooby-Doo fan, but an avid lover of all things KISS, you’re still going to love this one. Why? Because it’s KISS and I said so! The one-liners that Scooby and gang mutter are funny, but it’s nothing compared to how amped up things get when KISS shows up. It turns from dull to a blast! It’s amazing the amount of energy KISS can infuse into a mere cartoon. It’s hard not to feel like a kid in a candy store whenever KISS performs one of their staple classics in this feature. They rock even as cartoon characters and you literally just feel the energy drop when the performance stops, but it’s okay because that’s what rewind is for, right? Right! The ride they take you on while performing “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” is absolutely amazing (the outer space fights/hallucinations harken back to my childhood with reminiscent trippy thoughts of Transformers The Movie). That’s all I’ll say on that! The story, well, it’s mediocre, but it’s no KISS Meets The Phantom of the Park (this is much better). However, it is something that’s a MUST-HAVE in any KISS fan’s collection. And quite honestly, that’s all you really need to know on the matter!
Finally to go hand-in-hand with all the fun here, there’s a lot of KISS Easter Eggs being dropped left and right here. References to songs such as “Black Diamond,” “Shandi,” and “Strutter” are just to name a few. Now come on KISS Army. Do you really need any more reasons as to why this is a MUST-OWN in your KISS Kollection? Alright then, try this one on for size. There’s references to the Elder album in here. I know! How cool is that?! Come on KISS Army. Let loose and have fun with this one! Minus the usual Scooby-Doo storyline and the “Ascot” song (don’t worry there’s a reason for it), this Blu-ray film rocks for all the reasons I listed up above and more.
I’m not going to lie about this. It has been quite some time since I have judged an animated Blu-ray release. So I’m going into the below explanations with the old college try spirit. I’ll call it like I see it in this Blu-ray presentation. Here goes nothing…
- Encoding: AVC MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Clarity/Detail: It’s not the absolute sharpest cartoon I have ever seen in HD, but it’s still stunning in the looks department with detailed lines, accents in the clothing the characters wear, etc. What’s really cool, in my opinion, is how the KISS outfits are so detailed as well as their hair, which is accented with the corresponding color of their solo albums. Love that little attention to nostalgic detail! Daphne looks incredible dressed as the Starchild.
- Depth: If you want to judge depth of field within a cartoon, then I would like to point out how they characters all pop and are separated from their associated backdrops.
- Black Levels: The black levels are all deep and inky throughout.
- Color Reproduction: What I love about watching cartoons in HD is how bright and vibrant they generally are and this Blu-ray presentation is no exception with its crimson reds and bright blues just sucking you right in.
- Flesh Tones: I’m not sure if judging flesh tones is applicable in a cartoon, but if it is, things look just groovy here.
- Noise/Artifacts: There’s nothing to be found in this Blu-ray presentation that will distract or hinder you from enjoying the vivacious imagery onscreen.
I can confirm that after a second inspection the audio here is DTS-HD MA 5.1 even though the back of the box does not say nor does the disc’s menu make mention of it.
- Audio Format(s): DTS-HD MA 5.1, Dolby Digital English 5.1, Dolby Digital French 5.1, Dolby Digital Spanish 5.1
- Subtitles: English SDH, French
- Dynamics: Well like I said up above, dynamic-wise this surround track was rather unimpressive, but once KISS arrived on the scene some 19 minutes or so in, things exploded in a very good way. Dynamics were off the wall from that point on in the quieter moments to hear all the dialog to the rock out loud ones where KISS takes over your living room with their infectious brand of rock and roll.
- Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel is there to bring balance in the score department and obviously kick your arse during the many rock and roll KISS anthem moments too.
- Surround Sound Presentation: The music, score and action all fill in the soundscape of the presentation within the rear channels. It’s not overwhelming or overly potent, but it’s noticeable and therefore crowd pleasing.
- Dialogue Reproduction: Spoken words are clear and understandable while remaining prioritized in the center channel.
Here’s what I wish. How could would it have been for KISS to sit down and record a quick audio commentary about this newest animated adventure they are a part of? I think that would have rocked hearing them talk about all the aspects on how self aware they were in the making of this (the branding, merchandising, etc.) and maybe a few chats in regards to any comparisons to their 1978 flop, KISS Meets The Phantom in the Park. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just asking too much. I digress. So what we have here is a few things. You have a redeemable code that makes you eligible to own, download or stream Scooby-Doo! And KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery in UltraViolet Digital HD. And finally, you have some bonus cartoons and other quick bonus features to sift through. Come with me and I’ll show you around this circus (you know how bad I really want to reference “Psycho Circus”?).
- Bonus Cartoons – Here you’ll find two classic Scooby-Doo episodes in Standard Definition.
- To Switch A Witch (SD, 22:35)
- The Diabolical Disc Demon (HD, 22:35)
- Are You a Scooby or a Shaggy? (HD, 2:00) – The members of KISS as well as the cast select who they would rather be, Scooby or Shaggy. Of course Eric had to be different with his choice. Haha.
- KISS Cut-Ups – Blooper Reel (HD, 1:10) – The members of KISS take turns dropping words in an attempt to promote this feature film I guess, haha. It’s hard to tell, but kind of funny to see them up close and personal.
- Trailers (HD) – There are two trailers here, one for LEGO Dimensions and the other for Scooby-Doo! Wrestlemania Mystery.
What do you buy this year for that KISS fanatic on your shopping list? Look no further than Scooby-Doo! And KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery on Blu-ray, every KISS Army veteran’s wet dream. Loaded with good times, laughable jokes and most importantly 6 “klassic” KISS tunes to rock to, this is a MUST-HAVE for any KISS fan in your life. Did I mention this was available on Blu-ray, loaded with bonus features, a Digital HD copy and enough KISS merchandise to get you through whatever obstacle life may throw in your way? Well it is! It’s all that and more! Why don’t I just spare you from reading anymore of my gibberish nonsense and allow you to let the good times rock and roll with a pre-order link down below and the following trailer to whet your KISS Krazed appetite.
Scooby-Doo! And KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery
Rocks It Out on Blu-ray July 21st!