Did you know that Scooby (Frank Welker) and Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) were into wrestling? I wonder how William Hanna and Joseph Barbera would feel about that. In any case Scooby and Shaggy are really putting the mania in WrestleMania with their enthusiasm for the newest WWE video game. Did you know that if you complete the video game you win a trip to WWE City and get front row seats for WrestleMania? Never heard of WWE City? It’s the Las Vegas of lucha libre. Of course on their trip to wrestling heaven the gang runs into all kinds of troubles involving pro-wrestlers, giant ghost bears and Scooby Snacks!
Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery is a direct-to-video film directed by a guy I’ve never heard of, Brandon Vietti, but at least he has an Italian sounding name. What the hell am I doing reviewing this? Well, like Scooby and Shaggy I am fascinated by the world of professional wrestling. There’s just something about those colorful costumes, cartoony personas and all those massive muscles clashing together. Trust me: You don’t want to know for how long I believed that it was in fact all real. Just because I now know that it’s all for show, that doesn’t mean I’m any less impressed by what these guys accomplish.
Back to the film however, WrestleMania Mystery is a standard Scooby-Doo story. If it weren’t for the voices of real WWE personalities like John Cena, Sin Cara, A. J. Lee, Triple H and the one and only Vince McMahon there wouldn’t be much to this film. In fact sometimes it just feels like a long promotional film for the WWE brand, which is fine by me, but I’m sure most people have better things to do. I also had the impression that the film was trying hard to sell wrestling to a female audience: Forget about it. It’s not going to happen. I don’t think it’s sexist to say that this is a man’s “sport” period.
For a film about wrestling I was surprised of how boring it managed to get. The jokes are nothing special. Okay, there’s a couple funny moments, but for the most part it doesn’t really feel like they’re trying. Maybe I just remember Scooby-Doo to be funnier and more entertaining from when I was younger, but now it actually feels like a chore to get through a film like this. As you would expect the whole “mystery” is explained by Velma (Mindy Cohn) by the end. I know I needed that when I was a kid, but now it’s like I get it. Actually you can see the “twist” coming from the beginning of the film.
To the film’s credit I have to say that it was fun to have an extravagant setting like this invented mecca of wrestling. As someone that is into branding and marketing I thought it was interesting to see how the WWE brand was employed in the film. If you like Scooby-Doo or wrestling: Yes, check this out you’ll probably get something out of it. If neither of those are appealing to you however stay away from this film, there’s really not much else to enjoy. Well, all right I always like the animation in Hanna-Barbera films. I’m glad that at least they stayed true to the original character designs and that the wrestlers look very life-like.
5 out of 10