1:30 PM, 20th October, 2002
Having gone their separate ways after the usual personal conflicts, the Mystery Inc. crew have been gathered together for one more mystery. All five of the crew - the stupid one, Shaggy (Lillard), the beautiful one, Daphne (Gellar), the handsome and dumb one, Fred (Prinze Jr), the smart one, Velma (Cardellini), and of course Shaggy's faithful mutt, Scooby - are tricked into coming to Scary Island, to solve the mystery of why college students are turning into conforming drones after returning from the Island.
This film is OK. It's not brilliant, but it's at least as funny as the original cartoon. It has the usual 'self awareness' of all these adaptations - though it doesn't go as far as Josie and the Pussycats. The standout is Lillard, who is excellently cast, and lives the role of Shaggy. Sarah Michelle Gellar seems out of place, although that might just be the 100 or so episodes of 'Buffy' that I've watched. Probably the highlight of the entire movie is the absence of the vile, evil Scrappy-Doo (and if you don't know what I'm talking about, be grateful). Don't pay to see this by any means, but it's worth the effort at the Film Group if you have a spare evening.
3:30 PM, 20th October, 2002
American critics unleashed on Snow Dogs their most venomous prose, the stuff they use when they've encountered cinematic badness in its most pure form and they want to make sure that the mutant turkey they're writing about dies, and stays dead. Good for them! I'll admit I haven't seen the film, but damn, it looks like a stinker, and you wouldn't believe me if I pretended otherwise. And yet, in accordance with the editorial guidelines I myself am partly responsible for, I have to say something nice about it. Sigh. Well, here goes:
It's rated G. So anyone can see it. It has dogs in it. Dogs are always cute.
The plot is as follows: a Miami dentist (Gooding Jr.), who likes neither snow nor dogs, inherits an Alaskan dog sled team, and there's this race coming up... Yes, I know, it's obvious where the story's going, but the Disney studio, all joking aside, generally handles this kind of formula remarkably well (Cool Runnings, for instance, was pretty good). And despite the critical tongue-lashing, and the ghastly trailer, Snow Dogs proved popular, at least in America, where it brought in $US81 million - not bad for a film everyone thought would sink without trace.