I'll admit I wasn't sure what to expect when I went into this. I finally got the book delivered to my house on Saturday, thinking I'd maybe read a bit here and there when I got time. Given you're reading this review now, it shouldn't come as too big of a surprise that I finished this book in two days. This was really good, to the level of "can't put it down it's so good!" Admittedly, I may have finished it in one night had it not been after midnight when I started reading on Saturday...but even then, it was hard to put the book down!
Before I get into the review, let me clarify a few things. Despite the design on the cover, no, this is not in any way connected to the Daphne & Velma live action film released in 2018. Also, this is a non-spoiler review, so if you're reading this review to get a sense of whether to buy the book yourself, I'm not going to spoil anything!
I also thought it was interesting how the author used a fake psuedonym, Josephine Ruby (a reference to Joseph Ruby, creator of Scooby-Doo).
One of my favorite things about Daphne & Velma is that had lots of great references, the most blatant one being they live in Crystal Cove, CA. The city also has rumors of a "Crystal Cove Curse," although it's a different curse than the one in SDMI. In a sneak preview of the second book, the Lady Vampire of the Bay (from Scooby and Scrappy-Doo) is mentioned and it seemed to me they were setting her up to be the main villain in the second book. The whole atmosphere of Crystal Cove potentially being haunted sets the novel up to have a very creepy feel, which I loved.
Daphne and Velma, as the title hints, are the two main characters. But it's not just them! Shaggy, Fred and Scooby also appear in the book. One major difference is that Scooby cannot talk, at all. He appears very briefly in the final scene of the book, but is referenced a few times.
Fred does make an appearance, but he is also very much a side character. He makes a single appearance and is said to be a playboy-type (his single appearance is making out with a girl). As Daphne puts it "Fred Jones has dated one half of the school, and made out with the other half." And I suppose I didn't say it, but they are in high school in this series. Daphne and Velma are said to be juniors, but it is not clear if Shaggy and Fred are in the same grade.
Shaggy, on the other hand, is a pretty consistent character in the book. He's not a main character, but he shows up regularly throughout the book. Shaggy is super laid back, but is also very popular and throws parties for the entire school. He says, however, that he does it as a public service and he actually hates parties, thus why he hangs out in his room during all his parties. I sort of liked this version of Shaggy, though it's strongly implied at the end that Shaggy is hiding something, which seems like it will be the focus of the next book.
Let's get to our main girls! Velma is a social outcast who does not have any friends. She is uber smart, but is an edgy loner after Daphne betrayed her as a child. It takes most of the book to reveal to the reader how this happened, but it does eventually come out and I think the explanation is pretty heartbreaking! This is hardly a spoiler, but Daphne and her do make up, hence why they're the main characters of the series. This does make for the most realistic portrayal we've probably ever seen of the gang, however. In addition to Daphne and Velma, Fred and Shaggy also used to hang out with the girls when they were all 10 years old, but the rift between Velma and Daphne's friendship cause them to all break up. Their mystery solving hobby at the time was said to just be kids playing pretend, but now, Daphne and Velma are able to put the skills they learned to the test. While this might anger some fans that their supposed "Pup Named Scooby-Doo" era adventures were just a child's imagination, I personally liked the more realistic feel of this book as a separate, more mature universe.
While I found Velma's loner, "no one could ever love me!" personality to be quite sad, I did really sympathize with a message that her character discovered early in the book. At the beginning, when Daphne and Velma dislike each other, Velma interprets everything Daphne does as being about Daphne's frustration for her. As the reader quickly finds out, Daphne had wanted to apologize for years but was too afraid of being rejected by Velma. I think it's easy, whether you're a teenager or an adult, to think the world revolves around you and that everybody is doing stuff directly in response to the vibes you're giving off. In reality, most times, the other person is going through stuff as well and it is important to remember that their reaction might be simply about their own frustrations or anxiety rather than an affront to your identity.
I've been talking about Daphne a lot, so let's get to her. Daphne is a spoiled brat, who is best friends with Velma's second (or third, she doesn't remember) cousin Marcy. It's not directly said, but this appears to be inspired by Marcy from "A Scooby-Doo Halloween." She hates her mom and her new stepdad, the latter of whom she blames for ruining her family. This is where the book gets into really mature topics. It turns out, Daphne's mom (named Elizabeth, as with the continuity of the franchise), cheated on her dad when she was 10, and married the person she cheated with, divorcing her husband. This is pretty serious stuff, and Daphne's hatred of her stepdad is quite intense.
Speaking of maturity, this book has quite a lot of it. One thing in particular that stuck out is that tampons are mentioned. I'm not bringing this up to make a huge deal out of it or sound the mature topics alarm, but that little mention definitely symbolizes how mature this book is. Feminism is also mentioned and discussed briefly, but not at all in an in-your-face-way in my opinion. If the Daphne & Velma film didn't bother you, this won't either.
Let's talk about another major mature topic and special appearance that we get: The Hex Girls show up! Luna and Dusk are barely present or developed in the story, however, Thorn is portrayed as a lesbian in the book, and hits on Velma. By mature, I don't mean Thorn's taking off her shirt or anything so crude, but a brief little flirt session does occur, though Velma immediately dodges it and says she's not interested. Daphne also jokes that it seemed like Thorn was hoping for a "make-out session" because of Thorn's obvious flirting. My explanation is about as much as it's ever mentioned, but I'm not sure about it being in future books.
Besides the Hex Girls, we also get the continual return of Shaggy's parents. His father is a police officer, like in A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. He is said to have had an ancestor who came here in 1850 to settle during the Civil War, which definitely lines up with Shaggy having an uncle in the Civil War (Colonel Beauregard from Boo Brothers). It also sort of goes along with the trend that Shaggy's ancestors are explorers, like McBaggy Rogers from "Wedding Bell Boos." Fred's uncle also runs a local newspaper, The Howler, which is said to be a hack newspaper. This is reminiscent of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo where Fred's Uncle Eddie ran that sketchy "National Exaggerator" newspaper. Fred's uncle is named Milford in this continuity however, and ironically appears far more than Fred does in this novel.
In terms of the mystery, I thought it was really well written. It wasn't necessarily easy to figure out, and lots of red herrings were put out there to throw the reader off the track. The idea that girls were vanishing and seeing ghosts was super creepy, especially Marcy's sort of cryptic disappearance. The villains, who I won't say who they are, were unexpected and again a sort of mature theme with drugs comes up.
Instead of the Malt Shop, Daphne and Velma's hangout is a coffee shop named The Mocha. I kinda of liked this modernized version of the classic Malt Shop trope here, and given the sneak preview for book 2, it's definitely going to be recurring.
Overall, this is a great read! It does come across as a bit fanfiction-like at times, which I know bothers some people, but I would definitely recommend at least giving it a chance because it's a really solidly developed universe with a mature take on the characters that many of us adult fans crave.
The second Daphne & Velma novel, titled "The Dark Deception," is listed on Amazon for release on July 7, 2020. The book is by Morgan Baden, different from Josephine Ruby, the author of the first book for some reason. The book is 272 pages and published by Scholastic.
Here's the description:
Despite their differences, Daphne and Velma were able to solve the mystery of The Vanishing Girl. But there are a lot of secrets buried in the town of Crystal Cove. And the biggest case of all still remains unsolved... why did the town's original settlers all disappear? What happened to them? Velma is determined to find out... especially because her family's ancestors were among the disappeared. And now that she and Daphne have started to get a reputation for solving mysteries, everyone in town is looking to them for answers. But digging up the past can be dangerous... especially when some people in town have profited from the mystery for so long. Can these two intrepid teen detectives crack the case... and escape with their lives?
Amazon.com has announced another Daphne & Velma novelization, which is the second of the series. Entitled "The Dark Deception," and by Josephine Ruby, the 272-page novel will be released four months after the first one, on July 7, 2020.
Here's a description for the second book:
Move over, Betty and Veronica ― this is Daphne and Velma like you've never seen before! This dark new series of YA novels is a horror-driven twist on the classic girl detectives from Scooby-Doo.
Despite their differences, Daphne and Velma were able to solve the mystery of The Vanishing Girl. But there are a lot of secrets buried in the town of Crystal Cove. And the biggest case of all still remains unsolved... why did the town's original settlers all disappear? What happened to them?
Velma is determined to find out... especially because her family's ancestors were among the disappeared. And now that she and Daphne have started to get a reputation for solving mysteries, everyone in town is looking to them for answers.
But digging up the past can be dangerous... especially when some people in town have profited from the mystery for so long. Can these two intrepid teen detectives crack the case... and escape with their lives?
The 2018 live action film Daphne & Velma is going to become a young adult novel! On March 3, 2020, a short novel by Josephine Ruby entitled "Daphne & Velma: The Vanishing Girl" will be released in stores. The book will be published by Scholastic, and is 272 pages. Here's the sypnosis of the novel:
"Popular Daphne Blake and über-nerd Velma Dinkley are not friends. They aren't enemies either, but they don't have any reason to speak to each other, and that's how they prefer it. The two girls grew up together - they'd been best friends since pre-K - but when they hit middle school, Daphne dropped Velma and never looked back.
These days, Daphne's deep in the popular crowd, daughter of the richest family in town, while Velma's an outsider, hiding from the world behind her thick glasses. When they run into each other in the halls of Crystal Cove High, they look the other way.
But then Daphne's best friend, Marcy - who happens to be Velma's cousin - goes missing. A century ago, there was a wave of disappearances in Crystal Cove, and many local people believe that supernatural forces were behind it. Now the whole town believes those same forces are back . . . and up to no good.
Daphne and Velma may be the only ones who can solve the mystery and save Marcy-if they can trust each other enough to try. Especially since the truth might be stranger-and scarier-than either girl can imagine . . ."
I thought it was really interesting that they included Velma's cousin Marcy from A Scooby-Doo Halloween. She was such a minor character in that episode that I honestly didn't think she'd ever appear again in a piece of Scooby-Doo media.
You can also pre-order this book already on Amazon here.
Throughout Daphne & Velma, a student named Kristina Davies can be seen climbing the Bloom Bracket. This is a reference to the film's editor, who is named Kristina Davies. Additionally, the picture used for her on the Bloom Bracket is actually a real-life picture of Kristina Davies.
Briefly put, Daphne & Velma was a very odd and silly movie, but in a way that really worked well. Or as Velma says, "It tastes like gerbil...but in a good way!" I would highly recommend that those who are worried about watching this film give it a fair chance. The biggest worry for most people seemed to be the feminist undertones, but honestly, they were barely noticeable in the film. This was a really fun little movie and I'm so glad I gave it a chance.
Before I get more into the review, I want to strongly recommend that those who have not seen the movie yet do not read this review, because there are spoilers ahead!
The movie begins with Daphne discussing the possibility of aliens on her web show. Her online friend, Velma, is a supportive yet critical fan of Daphne's and challenges her findings, because "there's always a rational explanation." Daphne then tells Velma that her mom (who travels around the world) has been transferred to Ridge Valley High, and Daphne will be going to school with her online bestie.
This scene is the one I had the most criticisms about. I would have liked to have seen Daphne and Velma becoming online friends, or at least interacting with each other a little more, before they immediately jumped to meeting each other in real life. When you think about it, it's pretty extraordinary to have an online friendship so strong that you actually meet each other "IRL" (as Daphne says)! I've actually never met an online friend in person, and very few people online even know my real first name. It would have been nice to have some buildup to this, so the audience could be excited along with Daphne and Velma. Instead, the film rushes this scene and takes away from what could have been a really sweet and friendship-building event.
Anyways, Velma seems a bit apprehensive about Daphne coming to her school, but Daphne doesn't seem to notice. She turns on her "pump up playlist" and goes down to eat her french toast breakfast, on her first day of high school.
Daphne goes to school and sees Velma, but Velma doesn't even acknowledge her. Meanwhile, Daphne meets her senior advisor Carol, and is nearly hit in the face with an energy-ball of some sort. Carol shows Daphne around the school, and explains the "Bloom Bracket" to her. The Bloom Bracket gives all of the student rankings, taking into account academics, extracurricular involvement and even social media posts. As Spencer says, "it's like a GPA on steroids!" Daphne meets Spencer and Mikayla, two intellectually bright students, and Spencer discusses an odd invention he wants to create, which would allow your phone to make a pie.
Carol and Daphne run into Velma, who is still acting strangely and is not speaking to Daphne at all. Daphne goes after Velma to talk to her, telling Carol she is Velma's friend, much to Carol's surprise because she does not believe Velma has any friends. Later that day, Velma runs into Daphne again, when the lights begin flickering and a ghastly noise is heard throughout the hallway. Velma lies to Daphne and says she is "going to the sports match...in the sports classroom" and pretends not to notice the odd occurrence. Daphne and Velma see Spencer walking through a secret passage in the lockers, appearing to be in a zombified trance. Velma tries to leave again and repeats that she needs to get to that "sports classroom." (fantastic joke btw, and a very Velma-ish thing to say haha).
All of a sudden, something runs into the two girls. Daphne sees it is her dad. Back at home, Daphne's dad confesses to her that he has been following her around everywhere all her life, and tries to make everything perfect for her. It is revealed that Nedley actually controls every detail of Daphne's life including making her french toast (even though he had made her eggs previously), throwing a button on the floor so Daphne wouldn't be hit by the energy-ball, being Daphne's "playlist controller" and playing her pump-up playlist, and even going so far as to dress up as a female lunch lady to serve her caviar in the lunch line.
In honesty, I genuinely felt sad for Daphne! It's crazy that her dad controlled her that much and did basically everything for her. However, it was very amusing watching him dance to Daphne's pump-up playlist lol. I really liked the callback to Daphne's parents names (Nedley and Elizabeth) from The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show and A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. They could have easily just made up names, so I thought it was cool they stayed consistent with the rest of the franchise. It was wonderful that they made Daphne's parents an interracial couple. Not that it's a big deal or anything, but IMO, it's good to see increasing representation in the media that there are other types of families besides the nuclear, same-race family that we seem to glorify in the US.
The next morning, Daphne has a bad start to her first day on her own, realizing "the violin serenade every morning must have been my dad" when her alarm clock goes off...well, just like any other alarm clock does. Daphne goes to school in an all-purple outfit, because her dad was apparently also her clothes closet (I'm confused though as to how, like was it a machine that he ran or was he actually picking out clothes for her every day?). Carol helps Daphne pick out a new more color-coordinated outfit when she gets to school, which is purple with aliens on it.
Daphne confronts Velma again, but she wants nothing to do with Daphne. After a cool reference to "The Curse of Crystal Cove" (it was nicely worked in too, it didn't feel forced at all), Velma tries to walk away. She accidentally runs into the school janitor, Three-Mop Maggie and wrecks her mop. The students quickly make a viral video of the incident, which was cheesy other than the "Dat mop life" caption (I think that's what it said, it flashed by within a second and was backwards on Daphne's phone). The janitor then storms away angry, because she's tired of dealing with "dat mop life."
Later, in science, Daphne tries to be partners with Velma, and she refuses until Daphne guilts her into doing so. Daphne notices Spencer acting very strangely, yet somehow no one other than her notices, despite that he is literally eating a paper towel. Velma then intentionally sabotages their experiment and splatters purple goo all over the two girls' clothes.
The girls are taken to the office of the school principal, who just happens to be Velma's aunt. They are asked to sit on "the best couch for conflict resolution" while the principal's "Timothy Bot" (basically like Alexa or Siri) goes haywire and begins calling "My Bad Boy." Daphne and Velma argue it out, and Velma reveals she just pretended to hate Daphne because she knew about what was going on with Spencer, and it's been happening for years. The girls eventually agree to solve the mystery together, after the couch nearly crushes them together. The principal comes back in and sees the girls have become friends again. Daphne tells the couch that "Velma totally sucks" so it will push her closer to Velma for a hug, which was sooo adorable! The Timothy Bot then uploads all of Principal Piper's bikini pictures to Facebook, much to her horror.
The next day, the two girls sneak out of an assembly where Tobias Bloom is presenting his latest invention, much to Daphne's frustration that she won't get pizza. Velma reveals to Daphne that she destroyed her robot child (who she unfortunately programmed to have human emotions - that was so sad lol) so she could create a formula to melt the locker where Spencer went through the secret passage. They melt the locker, but there is no secret passage, and they are caught by Three - no, make that Two Mop Mollie and sent to the principal's office again.
The principal, who apparently has no more disciplinary skills to offer, gives the girls "shame stickers" and asks them to tell her how shamed they feel. They also have cafeteria duty for a day, and run into Griffin Griffiths, the second hottest guy in school, and his dimwitted friends. I absolutely loved the dumb jocks in this film, they were so hilarious! Daphne mocks Griffin's "hot" status in school, but another kid accidentally hears it and believes they are talking about him in a flattering way. Velma's response is priceless here, particularly when he asks if they want to go out with him. "No, you should go away now." Rejected! haha
That brings us to the next scene, which is quite possibly one of my favorite scenes in the entire film. Daphne sees a lunch cart they could hide in and spy on Griffin, because she believes he may be behind Spencer's zombified state. She points for Velma to look, but Velma instead looks at the gym coach, who is about to eat a slice of pizza out of the garbage can. "No, Coach Williams, don't do it!" she yells. But it was no use, and he eats the pizza out of the trash and amusingly looks very pleased with himself for doing so. Even better was when Daphne redirects Velma's attention, and Velma looks again only to say "Oh no, he's doing it AGAIN!" lol.
Velma and Daphne enlist Carol's assistance to get on the lunch cart to spy on Griffin and his friends. Griffin and his friends discuss fatherhood, and Ryder says he wants to be a good dad. In a very amusing twist, Mike then announces that sometimes he wishes Ryder was HIS dad, because that's not awkward at all lol. My amusement with the dumb jocks continued as Mike suddenly becomes very paranoid and says "I'm being crazy again, aren't I?", and then jumps up as if he heard a wild animal when one of the girls accidentally bumps the cart. Griffin then says he has to leave because he forgot his phone in his locker, which has something very important on it. Daphne and Velma believe this is something to do with the mystery, so they follow him.
It's revealed that Griffin actually secretly likes to watch cat videos alone in the hallway. The girls see him watching one called "Cat Me If You Can" (It's actually listed in the end credits!), until suddenly, Griffin goes into a trance and goes through the secret passage like Spencer previously had. The girls are caught again by Principal Piper, who punishes them with the "Shame Drones." Sadly, the Shame Drones did not live up to their name and were pretty lame. The girls realize that whoever is on the top of the Bloom Bracket is being targeted, so Velma decides to put herself on top of the Bloom Bracket by sabotaging the other students.
There's a really sweet moment here, where Daphne assures Velma that "things are hard now, but they always get better." This film did a great job in making one of its main messages about optimism. In such a seemingly-scary, insecure world that we live in now, it's so important to remain optimistic and see the good in everything. It's a value I try to follow in life, especially with all the political drama and violence that's been plaguing the United States as of lately, and optimism honestly is what keeps me the happy person that I am and to believe in people, and life. I'm really glad the film touched on this message, as it's very important in this current cultural climate, especially for the children and teens growing up.
Velma makes it to the very top of the Bloom Bracket, only being held back by Mikayla, who we see earlier in the film with Spencer. The girls sabotage her art exhibit by turning the lights off, and inadvertently knocking over one of her pieces of artwork. Daphne sees a cloaked ghost, and accidentally discovers the secret passage which Griffin and Spencer went through. The girls run away from the ghost, in their classic running poses, and there's a fun little reference to Velma losing her glasses. Once in the secret passage, they find Mikayla, who has apparently been captured in the short time that it took to navigate the secret passage. The girls release her from the tube she is trapped in, and devise a plan to trap the ghost. They manage to trip the ghost, who is not actually a ghost, but really Daphne's dad in a bathrobe following her again.
Daphne is astonished her dad is still following her, and feels like he doesn't believe in her. Her dad then realizes that he is following Daphne because he is scared for her, rather than because she isn't smart or capable enough to live her life in the way she wants to. There's a sweet bonding moment, and Velma points out that Tobias Bloom would be the only one who knew how to invent such technology. Daphne's dad points out that there's a sticker which says "Tobias Bloom" on the machine that Mikayla was trapped in. Velma then scolds Daphne's dad and says not to ruin the girls' moment.
Honestly, this is really one of the few "feminist" scenes I can pinpoint in the film, and that's not even really much. The feminist thing was more of an undertone, and wasn't obtrusive at all to the plot. It's a great message to be putting out there to girls and women, young and old alike, that they can do anything they put their mind to and shouldn't ever feel second-best to men. The opposite is also true, though this message is important because it more often occurs with women than men.
The girls come up with a plan to expose Tobias Bloom and save their mother, who they video chatted with and were cut off after her mom encountered Bloom. The girls break into the building and bop the guard over the head with a small rock. It's difficult to hear, but Daphne's dad's commentary in the background is hilarious! (Did you just break into that building? You're grounded young lady...That's assault!) The girls go alone into the building and go into an elevator, where the lights are turned off and the classic "spooky eyes" scene is incorporated. The elevator is programmed to bring out the girls' greatest insecurities about themselves.
This scene had a really cool message too. Like it or not, we live in a society which tries to make us someone we're not and fit in with the latest trends. So many people are insecure about themselves, whether mentally with characteristics about their personalities, or physically with how your body looks. This movie sends a great message about being comfortable with who you are, whoever you are and facing up to your insecurities. This is such an important message which all viewers, young and old can relate to.
The elevator brings out Daphne and Velma's biggest insecurities, and to escape the elevator, they have to admit their flaws and think optimistically about themselves instead. They also had to fight off a pack of wolves...well, at least they would have, if Tobias Bloom would have remembered to put the wolves in the elevator. I found Daphne's huge insecurity about never having a female president interesting. It was a good, non-obtrusive way to work feminism into to the movie, but it also seemed odd that Daphne's "biggest insecurity" in life (which is said right before the president comment) was not having a female president. Though then again, if her dad has sheltered her so much, maybe it actually is her biggest insecurity!
The girls overcome their insecurities and admit to themselves they only human, so they are not perfect. They escape the elevator and run into Tobias Bloom, who reveals he has captured the brightest minds at Ridge Valley High and uses a machine to suck all of the intelligence and ideas out of them, so he can use them to make inventions for his own company. After they set Daphne's mom free and destroy all of Bloom's robotic spiders, they realize Tobias Bloom actually isn't human, but rather, a hologram being controlled by someone else.
The girls run into Carol, who reveals that she is the one controlling Tobias Bloom. She ran the entire company by herself, and had been kidnapping kids for years and placing them in tubes like the one they saw Mikayla in earlier. Daphne and Velma figure out that Carol is not actually a senior, but is actually 26. I found this whole dialogue hilarious, especially "well, you look great for 26!" Being in my mid-20's myself, I find it pretty amusing that kids and teenagers think I'm "old." However, I felt more explanation regarding Carol's plan would have been helpful. It's hard to imagine that Carol could have run the whole company (which is apparently world-famous, given Daphne's mom left a job in Tokyo to work for Tobias Bloom) for years by herself, without anyone knowing what she was doing or that Tobias Bloom was just a hologram. I think they could have made a really cool, intricate explanation to go along with it, but the "reveal" scene seemed very rushed to me and didn't make a lot of sense in hindsight.
I found it interesting that there were no ghosts or monsters in this movie at all. Even though it's uncharacteristic of a Scooby-Doo film, I felt they did a great job with the mystery overall. It does, however, make it a bit challenging in terms of the site's movie guide. I've been debating whether I should put "Tobias Bloom and Carol" as the villains, as the majority of people reading the movie guide are there because they want to read the summary before watching the movie, and I don't want to put a big glaring spoiler in the guide for those who haven't seen it. I think what I'm going to do is put the villain as "Hologram" along with a picture of Tobias Bloom while he's glitching, and thus distorted enough where you can't tell it's him, alleviating the spoiler issue while still accurately documenting who the villain is. I also wouldn't need to list Carol, as technically (at least how I saw it) she was the equivalent of the "unmasked" villain. If anyone has any other suggestions though, I'd be more than happy to hear them!
Anyways, Carol is arrested and the Bloom Bracket is taken down. The jocks are initially frustrated about it, but quickly come to the realization that the Bracket is literally a representation of societal peer pressure and how competitive our culture is. While this is a good message and a great reinforcer of the earlier "be your unique self" message, I still found the jocks' realization of this to be quite amusing, considering how dimwitted they acted throughout the rest of the film. Velma makes up with Three-Mop Maggie by giving her the mop she wrecked, Daphne makes up with her dad, Principal Piper continues dancing with her yogurt cup, and there's a sweet moment with the girls hugging Mikayla at her exhibit.
Overall, I thought this movie was terrific and one of my favorite Scooby films from more recent years. Between the great humor, interesting mystery and fantastic messages about self-confidence and being yourself, this film definitely accomplished what it set out to do and made for a very entertaining, silly movie. My only minor complaints were that the beginning scene, with Daphne and Velma becoming friends, felt a bit rushed, as well as Carol's explanation for her master plan lacking some clarity. Regardless, the movie was still great, and I would love to see a sequel! Given the sort-of cliffhanger ending, I think they could definitely make another movie without being repetitive or unoriginal. I've actually already watched this film twice since it came out!
Though the trailer worried me a bit, the acting was actually very good. I thought Sarah Jeffery's version of Daphne was very relatable, in fact I would say I'm a bit like Jeffery's Daphne in real-life, in the sense that I'm very optimistic and always have a lot of hope even when life isn't going great. Sarah Gilman's Velma stayed very true to the character, even down to her witty lines and dry humor from Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. As I mentioned, I liked the dumb jocks a lot as well as Principal Piper. I also thought Vanessa Marano did a great job as Carol, and her friendly-yet-sarcastic personality really threw me off the trail that she was the culprit. I really liked Brian Stepanek as Daphne's father as well. He did a wonderful job playing a protective character that was a bit goofy. Spencer's actor also did a good job, for the little bit of the movie he was in where he wasn't "zombified." Besides Jeffery and Gilman, I would say my favorite actor in the film was Courtney Dietz, who played Mikayla. She seemed really into her role, and gave Mikayla a great personality whereas some of the other characters (i.e. Three-Mop Maggie, Griffin Griffiths, etc.) could be a bit dry and the acting felt forced at times.
I absolutely loved this film, and I really hope they make a sequel someday! I'm really interested to hear what you all thought of the movie, so if you've seen it, let me know what you thought in the comments!
The day has finally arrived and Daphne & Velma is now available for our watching pleasure. I'll post my review of the film later this week, but for now I thought I'd share a fun little interview from IconVsIcon. Trying to play an iconic character who is beloved by fans around the world is never easy, but Sarah Gilman offers some insight into how she took on the role of Velma in this interview.
Credit goes to IconVsIcon for the interview transcript and above image.
IconVsIcon: Why does Scooby-Doo and the gang continue to resonate with audiences?
Sarah: I think there are a couple of factors. One of the aspects that attracts me to the show is the relationships between these five friends. I grew up watching them interact and seeing them be five best friends doing what they love to do together. I always wanted that to translate into my life! I always wished I could find my own group like that! Watching them and their chemistry, which sounds funny to say because they are cartoons but I really believe they do have on-screen chemistry. That’s one of the things that attracted me time and time again. The mystery/whodunit/monster in the attic and who’s-going-to-be-under-the-mask type of thing is a timeless genre and operation that a lot of people are attracted to. It’s fun, keeps you watching and keeps you on your toes! You think it’s going to be this person but it’s the other person and that’s something fun for all ages to figure out. Right now, it doesn’t hurt that it is a piece of nostalgia, at least for me. When I was watching the Scooby-Doo cartoons to brush up on who Velma was, her sassy character and how she operated, it did bring me back to my childhood memories. I think, in times like now and with how our world is, that’s definitely very appealing to a lot of people to let those memories all come back!
IconVsIcon: What did you do to prepare for the role of Velma Dinkley?
Sarah: There were a couple of things. There was the physical preparation. I used to have my hair down almost to my waist. When I flew out to film the movie, they cut it into the Velma hairstyle. From there, I went into wardrobe and tried on all of Velma’s clothes. That stuff really does make a difference for me in terms of settling into the character, figuring out who they are, how they walk, how they talk, how they operate and feel. That was the physical preparation. Then there was the work that comes into it like making sure I know my lines. I can’t start acting until the lines come naturally. If I’m using my energy to remember the words, then I’m not putting my full attention into what the acting is going to be. There is a lot of memorization and reading involved. I didn’t go too crazy on watching too much “Scooby-Doo” to prepare for this. There was a bit of binge-watching but, at the same time, a lot of the creativity and finding out who Velma was came from talking to our director Suzi Yoonessi and our creative producers, Jennifer and Ashley Tisdale. It came down to figuring out what this more three/dimensional, flesh-out Velma was going to be. The cartoon is great, and there were definitely parts that I wanted to take from that, but it is also a very flat character. To expand on that, there were a lot of talks with the creative team on this film to figure out who she was going to be.
IconVsIcon: How did this project compare and contrast to the ones you’ve been a part of in the past and what were the biggest challenges on this film?
Sarah: Most of my work has been on television or in theater but mostly television with sitcoms and single/cam comedies. “Daphne and Velma” is my first real feature film experience and it’s very different. Getting accustomed to that was its own experience in itself. The way that the pace moves is much faster than television. We filmed the entire movie in 17 or 18 days. It’s quick, you’re memorizing lines a lot faster and you don’t have days of rehearsal and you’re rehearsing on set and running lines — then you go in and do the scene! It’s a lot faster and there’s a lot less time to work in the space, at least with a movie shot this quickly. That was the big difference between the two. I think the biggest difficulty in portraying Velma was the fear that I had about playing such an iconic character. She’s iconic and there are so many people who know and love Velma! They have their own perceptions of the character, so I was worried about fleshing her out, working on her, making her a little different and how people would react to that. I thought it might alienate some people and their view of who Velma and I really didn’t want to do that! The biggest difficulty was my fear and making sure that it didn’t affect the acting, the performance or how the movie came out. I don’t think it did but it’s definitely going to be nerve-racking once this film premieres and seeing everyone’s reactions to this new Velma! She’s different than the original character!
IconVsIcon: She is different but you put a great spin on a classic, so I’m sure the reaction will be positive! What do you hope audiences take away from it?
Sarah: What I want girls to take away from this film is that they can do anything! This is a really good film in that it shows two young, strong females who aren’t constantly talking about boys or are damsels in distress who are waiting for someone to rescue them. They are proactive and fast-thinking. They are very real characters who are scared at times but find their strength and inner courage to keep moving forward and kind of control their own destiny. I think that’s a really important message to in the media right now for young females because, historically, we haven’t seen much of it. I’m hoping that is the message that anyone can take away from this film!
Thanks to SolzyAtTheMovies, we have some new exclusive details about Daphne & Velma, including a nearly-complete cast list and a few more (non-spoiler) plot details. This information comes from film critic and blogger, Danielle Solzman, who saw the Hollywood red carpet premiere of the film on April 7.
A week ago, it was announced that Vanessa Marano had joined Sarah Gilman and Sarah Jeffery as a main cast member. According to SolzyAtTheMovies, Marano will be playing Daphne and Velma's senior advisor, Carol. Nedley Blake, whom you may recognize as being Daphne's father (who has the canonically-same name from A Pup Named Scooby-Doo and The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show) will be played by Brian Stepanek. Additional cast members include Ardin Myrin as Principal Piper, Adam Faison as Spencer, Brooks Forester as Tobias Bloom, and Steven Ruffin and Evan Castelloe with currently unannounced roles.
On a brief side note, though it's unconfirmed, IMDb lists a few more roles. IDMb hasn't always been 100% correct on everything, but based on the trailers (which include some of the unconfirmed named actors), I would say this info is pretty likely correct.
Film editor Kristina Davies also lends her voice as the "Shame Drone," whose only purpose in the movie to feminist-shame people. Lol I'm totally kidding there, but that was too perfect to pass up given I've heard so many people presume the movie is only being made to lecture and "feminist-shame" everyone.
But there is actually a character called the Shame Drone! No idea what its purpose in the film is, but that name sounds amazing and hilarious!
Solzman also provides us with some more info on the film's plot (don't worry, no spoilers). Daphne will be very sheltered by her parents, who just want to give her a "perfect" life. Daphne apparently responds at one point in the movie, "I can handle myself!" Which I'm super happy about, because that appears to be a reference to the more mature, empowered version of Daphne from Zombie Island! (She says this same line verbatim when Fred tries to help her up)
We know about Daphne and Velma being Internet friends, but apparently there is some worry from Daphne's end after she discovers Velma's contact information is nowhere in the school's contact system. Because of this, her senior advisor Carol says she is surprised that Velma has any friends at all.
There will also be a lot of 'state of the art, Steve Jobs-esque' technology included in the film.
Additionally, Danielle Solzman closes with these final words on the film.
"The Scooby-Doo franchise has a large history to choose from with so many stories to tell. It’s a history that allows for Mack and Meares bring a fresh approach with their screenplay. It’s one that allows for Daphne [Blake] and Velma Dinkley, two of the strongest female characters in the TV cartoon history, to take on leading roles. The film could not come at a better time for women. The film is before the Mystery, Inc. gang gets together so it opens a book for new stories to be told for a new generation. Even though new stories are being told, the script stays true to the history."
This review has definitely amped up my excitement for the upcoming film! While it may not be the horror-focused, spooky tale of terror that some fans were looking for, it sounds like a fun, silly movie. And couldn't we all use a bit of cute and silly in our lives? :)
Amazon has just released the back cover art for the upcoming Daphne & Velma live-action film. The film, featuring Sarah Gilman and Sarah Jeffery, is currently slated to be released on Tuesday, May 22, 2018. Bonus features on the DVD and Blu-Ray set will include a gag reel, and three featurettes: "An Updated Classic Mystery," "Iconic Styles of Daphne & Velma Reimagined" and "Daphne & Velma: A New Ambition."
Additionally, the back cover lists actress Vanessa Marano as part of the starring cast. Currently, it is unknown what her role in the film is. Marano is possibly most famous for her role on the long-running CBS comedy The Young and the Restless.
Here's the back cover art for the DVD set:
Thanks to The Geekiary, we now know the bonus content which will be included in the DVD and Blu-Ray release of the film, which will happen on May 22. Special features will include: "Daphne & Velma: A New Ambition," "An Updated Classic Mystery," "Iconic Styles of Daphne & Velma Reimagined" and a gag reel. Additionally, here's the plot summary which will be included on the DVD's back cover:
State of the art robots and high-tech gadgets are common sights at Ridge Valley High, an innovative center of learning for some of the brightest minds in the country, including new transfer student, the bright & optimistic Daphne Blake (Sarah Jeffery) who is excited to finally go to school with her online bestie, the whip-smart & analytical Velma Dinkley (Sarah Gilman). But not everything is as innocent as it seems as mysterious disappearances begin to plague the top-performing students on campus. Once cheery and full of life, kids now appear in a “zombiefied” state – lifeless and shells of themselves. Can Daphne and Velma learn to work together and save the students or will they become the next victims? Get ready for thrills and laughs as we follow the first adventures of Mystery Inc.’s fierce female duo.