Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share on my Own.
When Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island hit in 1998 it was like breathe of fresh air in the fearsome franchise; the monsters were real, the tone was darker than before, and the story featuring a disbanded Mystery Inc. (comprised of Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, Shaggy Rogers, Velma Dinkley, and that lovable mutt Scooby-Doo) coming back together for one last hurrah and falling afoul of the undead and werecats on Moonscar Island was cool AF.
So how will the sequel; Scooby-Doo: Return to Zombie Island measure up? Let’s begin with the ol’ sinister synopsis, shall we?
As before, our teenage sleuths and their dog have cooled their jets and have managed to stay out of terror trouble for a damn sight (like at least a few months or more). Of course that is short lived as the gang win a tropical vacation courtesy of Elvira (voiced by Cassandra Peterson ‘natch) to Moonstar Island (hmmm… that name seems familiar somehow… ).
Once on the island they are warned the place is lousy with zombies, and soon they find out how dire that warning is as they are stalked by the walking dead at every turn! But… all is not as it seems, and soon our protagonists find themselves B.D. in a meta nightmare… and yet another mystery!
So, is Scooby-Doo: Return to Zombie Island the follow up to Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island that fans may expect? I’m going to go with a solid “no” on that one… but is it a disappointment? I’m going with an even bigger “no”!
First up, this is a meta-send-up (the details of which I will not reveal to keep things spoiler free for you boils n’ ghouls) of the franchise that just so happens to include the basic ingredients of it’s predecessor; it’s lighter, funnier, and thankfully it’s own thing rather than being a retread of the first outing… and it’s well done and witty to boot, with plenty of the usual Scooby shenanigans on display (the Werecat banquet is a real stand-out in that department). To balance the humor we get some thrills as well with a great werecat chase sequence leading the pack.
You may have noticed the werecats getting many a mention up yonder, with not so much attention payed to the zombies, and to be honest that’s because the ghoulish hordes are kept to a minimum this go-around (though there is a sweet gag involving the Scooby gang as zombies that leads to fun visuals). Is that a problem? For me, no… I dig on all monsters equally, but if flesh munchers are your bag your mileage may vary.
On a super positive note; the voice acting is superb with Frank Welker as Scooby-Doo and Fred Jones, Grey Griffin as Daphne Blake, Matthew Lillard as Shaggy Rogers, Kate Micucci as Velma Dinkley… and of course, the aforementioned Peterson portraying her legendary role as Elvira… and c’mon; how freakin’ cool is it that we have an animated Elvira in this pic (that’s worth the price of admission alone in my beastly book)?!!
As for special features you get two episodes of The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries, an episode of What’s New Scooby-Doo, and some trailers. Not bad, but not really Scooby-Doo: Return to Zombie Island-centric either.
Bottom line; Scooby-Doo: Return to Zombie Island may not be the Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island sequel you had in mind; but it’s a whole heap of arcane awesomeness in it’s own right… plus Elvira and Scoob in the same fright flick; what’s not to love?!!