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Movies Reviews

Retro Sci-Fi Review: Scooby Doo and the Cyber Chase (2001)

Directed by Jim Stenstrum. Written by Mark Turosz.

The Spring of Sci-Fi Review #2

I remember my friends talking about this movie while I was growing up. This film released twenty years ago and it doesn’t feel like it has been that long. Scooby Doo and the Cyber Chase is an animated movie that’s a part of what I call the Scooby-Doo animated movie universe. There are over thirty films that are animated starring Scooby and the gang. An animated universe that spans from the 1980’s to today in the 2020’s. Impressive. Scooby Doo and the Cyber Chase stars Frank Welker as Fred, B.J. Ward as Velma, Scott Innes as Shaggy & Scooby, and Grey DeLisle as Daphne.

In this movie, Scooby and the gang get transported into a video game where they have to stop the Phantom Virus and defeat all levels of the game in order to escape. The gang is transported into the game via a laser that left me intrigued. The laser can make objects into reality and absorb objects into virtual reality. This is an idea that Warner Brothers should’ve used again in a sequel. The concept is fantastic. A new villain could steal it to take care of their nefarious plans.

Speaking of villains, it’s not normally hard to figure out who the baddie is in a Scooby Doo show or movie. The plot gives clear clues as to who the villain is in different levels of the video game. The mystery of who the villain is would’ve been better if they left the clues out. The film introduces several potential people who could be the villain. If the movie didn’t introduce the clues, the eventual villain reveal at the end would have had a bigger payoff. The clues are still fun though. It does reveal the villain early in the movie, but that’s if you’re paying attention closely.

The overall plot is fun and creative. Yes, it’s filled with the classic antics of the show, but it does introduce new ways for the gang to solve mysteries. The real gang working with their cyberspace counterparts is a blast to watch. Also, we get to see the gang in various environments that we haven’t seen before. The gang goes to the Roman Coliseum and a prehistoric jungle with dinosaurs. It’s always entertaining to see the gang get away from their hometown on occasion. The film’s animation holds up well for a twenty-year-old movie. Everything operates smoothly with the gang having a fresh and classic look all at once.

In the end, Scooby Doo and the Cyber Chase is an exciting movie with a classic formula. The film puts the gang in a new danger, while making sure that it stays light in spirit. A great film to watch to unwind for the day. Why did Shaggy put whipped cream on that hot dog though?

Overall rating: 3.5/5.

Categories
Batman DCAU Movies

Review of Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (2018)

Batman: Gotham by Gaslight is a classic graphic novel written by Brian Augustyn and drawn by Mike Mignola. The novel focuses on Batman who is trying to stop the murder spree of Jack the Ripper in Victorian-era Gotham City. Warner Brothers Animation and DC Comics adapted this entertaining story in 2018 as an animated movie. Bruce Greenwood returns as Batman with Sam Liu handling the directing duties yet again for another DC animated film. The final result is a boring, loose adaptation that does not feature any thrills like the original novel.

Jack the Ripper is wreaking havoc in the streets of Gotham. The film begins with the Ripper carving up a prostitute in a dark alley who happens to be Poison Ivy. Poison Ivy is not included in the graphic novel. This appearance of her is a wasted cameo that is not needed. Batman is on the Ripper’s trail, but he arrives too late to save Ivy. Batman is inexperienced in the movie as it is easy to tell that Bruce has not been a vigilante for long.

Batman versus the Ripper.

In the first act, the film introduces several characters into the movie that were not in the graphic novel. Poison Ivy, Doctor Hugo Strange, the three Robins, Selina Kyle, and Harvey Bullock all make appearances. Characters from the graphic novel that are included in the movie are Bruce Wayne/Batman, Jim Gordon, and Alfred. The movie is missing one significant character that is important to the plot of the novel. The character is Jacob Packer who turned out to be the Ripper in the comic.

Selina.

Selina Kyle and Jim Gordon are the intriguing characters with the best story arcs. Kyle is a wealthy businesswoman who runs a popular dance show in Gotham. The Ripper tries to make her a victim in the film. She shows that she is fierce and unafraid of the Ripper’s deadly game. In their fight scene, Kyle is a fantastic fighter which audiences know is not a surprise. However, the surprise is that the Ripper is an expert hand-to-hand combatant. The surprise does give away who the villain is if viewers are paying attention. Gordon is a mysterious inspector for the Gotham police who seems to be hiding something. Gordon is hellbent on catching the Ripper. The film’s version of Gordon is a man who is untrustworthy. Gordon plays a pivotal role in the Ripper reveal scene that is nowhere near as satisfying as the graphic novel.

The adaptation is decent. It is not as bad as the adaptation of Batman: The Killing Joke. The character details for Gordon and Kyle are what keeps this movie somewhat entertaining. This movie is the 26th film that I have added to my movies for pluviophiles list on Letterboxd. Final rating: 2.5/5.