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Scooby-Doo! and WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon (Blu-Ray Review)

Scooby Doo thumbIf one collaboration between the superstars of WWE and the gang of Mystery Inc. wasn’t enough, here comes a second one roaring onto Blu-ray from Warner Bros. Animation and WWE Studios. In Scooby-Doo! and WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon, Stephanie McMahon’s big new business idea, The Muscle Moto X Off-road Challenge is fraught with more obstacles than the superstars bargained for when a demon that haunts the track begins threatening the racers with his fire-spewing rig of doom. It is up to Scooby and the gang to get to the bottom of the mystery while simultaneously helping The Undertaker win the race and subsequently the big million dollar prize. Twists and turns await our heroes along the way – and not only on the race track.

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Film Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-_5Dexter-0

This is a Scooby-Doo mystery. The plot has been pretty much unchanged for over 50 years: the gang runs into a scenario involving a malevolent spirit, they work to investigate while interacting with clues and suspects, then they reveal that it was somebody with some motive who totally would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those meddling kids and their dog. What makes this Scooby-Doo mystery different is the inclusion of WWE superstars and their larger than life personas popping onto the screen and interacting with the gang.

Featuring the voices of big WWE names like The Undertaker, Vince McMahon, HHH, Stephanie McMahon, Michael Cole, Paige, The Miz, Dusty Rhodes (who recorded his lines a few months before his death) and a few others, Scooby-Doo! and WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon, really seems to embrace the kind of over-the-top goofiness that comes with a Scooby-Doo story. In particular, The Undertaker is contrasted well with his super serious doom and gloom speeches being given out next to Shaggy and Scooby scarfing down mountainous sandwiches. Michael Cole’s penchant for puns is ramped up to dizzying effect and it really plays well with the ridiculous goings-on of the Muscle Moto X Off-road Challenge, an off-road rally featuring WWE superstars driving monster-truck-like vehicles around a track featuring land, sea, and air components. It is as silly as it sounds. But it all works well together.

The voice acting is quite well done overall, with Vince McMahon and The Undertaker as the standouts from the WWE roster. Stephanie McMahon is really the only stumbling point here, with her lines coming off as jerky and unnatural. But, no one performance is ever so bad that it ruins the fun of this collaboration. On the gang’s side, Matthew Lillard and Kate Micucci as Shaggy and Velma are really awesome to hear. There is just a real genuineness brought to their performances that makes me want to believe that they love playing these characters (Matthew Lillard in particular, as he seems to have kinda lucked into that niche).

This is a fun 80 minutes to spend watching some fun and silly animated film. It plays the straight parts well, with a good message and clear intentions and it keeps the jokes nearly constant, generating a few surprising laughs and a couple of marveling glances. If there were a big issue with Scooby-Doo! and WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon, it would be its limited audience. If one weren’t already a fan of WWE, I am not sure that there would be much of a draw to watch this film. The movie does do a pretty good job of introducing the characters in simple enough ways so that anyone could watch and get what is going on, but it is almost necessary to watch wrestling in order to get all the whys that might come up in one’s head. Additionally, there are a few fun callbacks to the previous collaboration between Scooby and WWE, Scooby-Doo! Wrestlemania Mystery, and it would behoove viewers to watch that prior to seeing this new one.

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Video Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-0

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail: Very clear and bright. One might even call it a bit cartoony.

Depth: The entire thing is animated in a way that is meant to recreate the feel of a hand-drawn cartoon. This leaves it flat, but intentionally so.

Black Levels: Black levels seem solid.

Color Reproduction: Bright and lively colors throughout.

Flesh Tones: Hmm. Well, it is a cartoon, so let’s go with N/A.

Noise/Artifacts: There is some noticeable artifacting in a couple of scenes. It isn’t incredibly distracting, but it is there.

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Audio Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-0

Audio Format: DTS-HD Master 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, French

Dynamics: Good use of dynamism in sound design. Nothing really spectacular.

Low Frequency Extension: The rumbling motors of the vehicles racing in the Muscle Moto X Off-road Challenge along with a few explosions kick the bass frequently. Also, Undertaker’s voice has a nice low quality to it that the subwoofer loves to punctuate.

Surround Sound Presentation: Particularly noticeable in the racing bits, there is some good use of surround sound on this release.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue sounds great. Very clear.

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Extras Dex-1Dexter-0Dexter-0Dexter-0Dexter-0

(Includes a DVD and Ultraviolet Digital copy of the film)

Bonus Episodes (HD; 58 Mins) – One episode of “Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!”, a new series produced for Cartoon Network with a more modern animation style somewhat similar to “Family Guy” or “Gravity Falls.” The humor in this is really good and it looks like a pretty fun modern take on Scooby-Doo! One episode of “Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated”, the show that ran from 2010-2013. Also a very good episode. This series is pretty unique in that it features the villains sometimes being actual ghosts.

Revved Up with the Monster Jam Scooby-Doo! Truck (HD; 10 Mins) – A behind the scenes look at the Scooby-Doo! monster truck hosted by the driver of the truck herself. She shows us the ins and outs of the vehicle and talks about what it means to be the driver of the Scooby-Doo! truck. This is somewhat interesting, but really has nothing to do with the main feature in any way.

Trailers (HD 6 Mins) – Trailers for Lego Scooby-Doo!, Tom and Jerry: Back to Oz, and Lego Friends.

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Summary Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-0Dexter-0

There is always something really fun about trying to solve the mystery before Velma announces all the clues that led to her conclusion at the end of the show. This is made more fun by the inclusion of some good performances by WWE superstars and the completely over the top setting of the Muscle Moto X race. It is a little disappointing that there weren’t some more engaging special features on this Blu-Ray, as seeing the superstars flub lines in the vocal booth or getting some more info on what led to the collaboration could have been pretty fun. But, if one is a WWE fan and likes having some fun with a silly cartoon, this is definitely a good one to pick up.

Scooby Doo cover

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I like to be challenged to think about things, so I studied Philosophy in college. Now I am paying for it.

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