It's hard to believe that Scooby-Doo has been scouting out ghosts, ghouls and goblins since 1969. Scooby-Doo and his gang – Freddie, Daphne, Velma and Scooby's sidekick Shaggy – spent the 70s and 80s driving around in their customised van, the Mystery Machine, solving supernatural puzzles in all manner of spooky locations.
Adults of a certain age remember the series fondly, mainly for the stock endings that saw the team unmask the villain wearing some kind of ghostly disguise in order to conduct a convenient haunting. The villain would grumble and curse "those meddling kids" a phrase that has practically entered the contemporary language.
Abracadabra-Doo is a feature-length film created using the classic Scooby-Doo formula. Toby, five, knows nothing of the Scooby-Doo history. To him Scooby-Doo and Shaggy were bumbling, entertaining characters, who took the edge off the scary-faced villains through their exaggerated fear and slapstick escapes.
I'm happy to say that this new film stays visually faithful to the 70s originals, with just a subtle scattering of computer-generated effects. Set at the Whirlen Merlin Magic Academy, an ancient Irish castle with definite shades of Hogwarts, where Velma's sister Madelyn is studying under the master magician, the team are soon knee deep in screaming banshees, a soaring gryphon and mysterious characters.
Abracadabra-Doo held Toby's attention for the entire hour and 15 minutes and he claimed not to be scared although there were a couple of moments that might have made nervous children jump. He said it wasn't suitable for his two-year old sister, a feeling I shared, and he relished the "older" qualities of a programme about ghosts and monsters.
Reassuringly the adventure includes all the essential Scooby-Doo elements – a creepy castle, creepy groundskeeper and even a creepy businessman who wants to buy the castle from the owners a reduced price. The traditional costumes and familiar team were the part that made it fun for me to watch with Toby but the real enjoyment was in his delight at Scooby and gang's victory over the villains.
Abracadabra-Doo made for a very fun movie night and is available from Amazon. To order, click the link below:
Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo [DVD]