Sunday, September 11, 2016

Another Mystery Solver: Warner Animation's 'Scooby-Doo' Movie Gets a Co-Director

Warner Animation, as a lot of us know, is looking to milk all the Hanna-Barbera properties they have on hand.

The first in a series of connected movies will be an all-animated film based on Scooby-Doo, which is being directed by Tony Cervone, a WB Animation veteran who directed and worked on many of the titular Great Dane's direct-to-video films and various recent Looney Tunes projects. He's been at it since the early 90s, moving on up as an animation director on Space Jam, that not-so-Looney Tunes movie that people my age adore. Up-and-comer Matt Lieberman is writing it, and Dan Povenmire of all people is an executive producer.

Now, it looks like it has a co-director, Dax Shepard, who will also co-write with Lieberman. Who is Mr. Shepard? Long-time actor turned director, he directed the small scale films Brother's Justice and Hit & Run, and is looking to make his breakthrough with next summer's CHiPS. Apparently he had expressed interest in being involved, and WAG was thinking early on that the project would have more than one director.

The Variety article doesn't refer to the picture is S.C.O.O.B., though. Is that still the title? Or did they make a little flub?

I'm actually looking forward to this. Warner Animation burst out of the gate with the unlikely Lego Movie, and I think there's potential in this. Scooby-Doo is almost a 50-year-old franchise, one that hasn't quite gotten high marks or is considered a high quality milestone in television animation history. It's endured because the characters are likable, even if the formula was so clear to even the young viewers. Things like Mystery Incorporated shook things up a bit, but I think this movie can really have fun with the series and go some irreverent, fun routes... And make up for the studio-mangled live-action movie that was first intended to be a PG-13 send-up of the show.

Interestingly, as mentioned before, it is meant to launch a Hanna-Barbera cinematic universe. Now some look at that and say "oh goodness, Hollywood, you really are going downhill!", I say... Yes!


Hanna-Barbera was sharing universes before it was cool. The Flintstones Meet The Jetsons, anyone? Scooby's All-Star Laff-A-Lypmics? That Johnny Bravo episode where he teams up with the Mystery Gang? They still do it to this day, too. Most recently, they released a direct-to-video Jonny Quest/Tom and Jerry spy movie crossover. Given how cartoony and silly and anything goes HB's stuff usually is, crossovers work. A bunch of HB-based movies working off of that ought to be very fun, as long as it's done right and they affectionately send up all aspects of HB's history. Who knows what this shared universe could do.

Either way, on its own, a new all-animated Scooby-Doo movie from the Lego Movie group is enough to interest me. What say you?

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