On December 15, 2019, we heard about this movie for the first time after I stumbled upon a TCM listing (which was removed shortly after) for this and Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo. Now, over two years later, the movie is finally out!
A lot of people watched Scooby-Doo and Courage the Cowardly Dog throughout their childhood, so a crossover was a dream come true for them. I came into this film with a bit of a different perspective, as I never watched Courage as a kid. However, this didn't affect how much I absolutely adored this film.
Even as someone who wasn't a Courage fan, I thought this movie was so well done. It seemed like they really combined the best of both worlds here, and I thought they introduced the Courage franchise in a way that could be easily understood to someone who had never seen the show before, while not overdoing the background information. I thought it was easily as good as Happy Halloween; in fact, I would say it was even better.
One of my favorite things about the movie was the tone. It had a very dark, creepy tone to it and that made for an incredibly engaging mystery. I know some fans were worried about Courage's dark tone not fitting very well with Scooby's more lighthearted mysteries, but I thought they found the perfect balance between the two tones.
I quite enjoyed the humor in the film, for the most part. I found it amusing how Eustace repeatedly brought up that he didn't vote for the mayor. Velma's political satire at the end was quite funny as well. The clown repeatedly showing up in the film was also pretty funny. I was annoyed by the immature fart jokes with the mustard bottle, especially the fact that they went back to the joke a second time. Bodily function jokes have always seemed like very lazy writing to me, and it was unfortunate they chose to do that here as I thought all the other jokes were quite good.
I really liked the cicadas as villains! I'm usually not a huge fan of bug/animal monsters to be honest, but the cicadas were super creepy in this film and I would say I liked it just as much as the Cicada Monster from Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. Speaking of villains though, while I know they were using classic villains from Scooby and Courage in the intro, I wasn't a fan of them using the green ghost, Redbeard, and the Space Kook for the millionth time. I understand that it's a cool reference to Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, but when those villains have cameos practically every other DTV at this point, it starts to feel less like a fun reference and more like they're trying to beat you over the head with forced nostalgia. If they are going to continue to reference classic villains as Easter eggs, I'd much prefer we get more obscure ones like The Wax Phantom or the Headless Spectre for example, rather than reusing the same 10 villains over and over.
I thought the film had a great balance of Scooby and Courage, and it never felt like one franchise was overshadowing the other at any point. I quite liked Courage as a character, and Muriel was super sweet. Eustace's grouchiness was quite amusing as well. Speaking of him though, Eustace rapping was incredibly cringey and him shaking his butt is not something I ever want to see again haha. I guess it makes a little sense given they riffed off Straight Outta Compton for the title of this film, but it was still really bad lol.
As a random trivia bit, I believe this is also the first time that live-action footage has been interspersed with animation, when Eustace is watching his show on TV. It's a trope I absolutely hate in animation, so it's not something I want to see again, but I thought it was worth pointing out.
I think one of my favorite parts of the film was how they explored the theme of courage, and how it doesn't mean the absence of fear, but it means being brave when there is fear. It was really neat that they chose to explore that theme, given it's such a prominent part of Scooby and Courage's character, and shows that they really did put some thought into the plot of this film instead of just trying to cash in on people's nostalgia. I quite enjoyed the self-help app Shaggy and Scooby were using too.
I thought it was neat how the culprits were two Courage villains, Katz and LeQuack. The motive behind what they did was super interesting, particularly how they dressed up as the mayor. It was quite amusing how Fred, Daphne and Velma tried to pull the mask off of Katz. Velma didn't seem overly skeptical of anything other than Katz and LeQuack not being real, but it was done in an amusing way that didn't feel overbearing like she has been in recent films.
The ending was...interesting, to say the least. The general's character honestly seemed like they just based it off of the General from those insurance commercials haha. I'm generally not a fan of movies that end with "and now everyone's dancing together!" because it seems cringey, but I didn't hate this. I'm not really sure how to feel about it though; it was just so random and out of nowhere (extra points if you got that terrible pun lol). I probably shouldn't say this, but it genuinely sounds like Eustace is saying "Where's my dang b*tches?" when he's coming down the stairs at the end hahahaha. I watched that part three times and I still can't figure out what he's saying, because I can't imagine it's that lol.
Overall, I thought this was an incredible crossover and it exceeded my expectations. They did an amazing job combining the two shows, and the message about the meaning of courage was a really cute addition. This is one of my favorite DTVs in recent years and I hope to see more movies like it in the future.
~ WildwindVampire ~