|Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed|
|Directed by||Raja Gosnell|
|Edited by||Kent Beyda|
|Music by||David Newman|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Budget||$25 million -$80 million|
|Box office||$181.2 million|
Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (also referred to as Scooby-Doo 2) is a 2004 American live-action/computer-animated horror comedy film based on the animated television franchise Scooby-Doo. It is the second and final installment in the Scooby-Doo live-action film series and a sequel to 2002's Scooby-Doo, and was directed by Raja Gosnell, written by James Gunn, and released by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film stars Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Linda Cardellini, Matthew Lillard, Seth Green, Tim Blake Nelson, Peter Boyle and Alicia Silverstone, with Neil Fanning reprising his role as the voice of Scooby-Doo.
The film was released on March 26, 2004. Like the first film, it received generally negative reviews from critics and grossed $181 million, considerably less than its predecessor. The reception resulted in a third film, set to be written and directed by Gunn, being cancelled. However, two telefilms featuring a new cast and taking place in a different continuity aired on Cartoon Network in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
Some time after their adventures in Spooky Island, Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby attend the opening of an exhibition at the Coolsonian Criminology Museum, which commemorates their past mysteries with displays of each culprit's monster costume. However, an individual known as the Evil Masked Figure interrupts the event, stealing two costumes using a reanimated version of the Pterodactyl Ghost. Journalist Heather Jasper Howe ridicules the entire gang, starting a smear campaign against them, taking their spoken words out of context. Concluding that an old vengeful enemy is the mastermind, the gang begins revisiting old cases. Dismissing the former Pterodactyl Ghost, Doctor Jonathan Jacobo, due to his presumed death during a failed prison escape three years ago, they suspect Jeremiah Wickles, the Black Knight Ghost and Jacobo's recently-released cellmate. Scooby and Shaggy, after overhearing the others criticizing their tendency to bungle every operation and especially their most recent failure to secure the Pterodactyl Ghost at the museum, resolve to better themselves and act like real detectives.
Going to Wickles' residence, the group falls through a trapdoor and into a cage targeting unwelcome callers, but escape due to Daphne's cosmetics. Inside, the gang find an ancient Celtic text that serves as an instruction manual on how to create monsters by combining magic and science. Scooby and Shaggy find a note inviting Wickles to visit the Faux Ghost nightclub and are attacked by the Black Knight Ghost, but escape after fending it off. Before fleeing, the rest of the gang had previously discovered through the book found in Wickles' mansion that the key ingredient to creating the monsters was a substance called "randomonium", the byproduct of certain silver mines such as Coolsville's old mining town. Daphne, Velma, and Fred go to the museum accompanied by curator Patrick Wisely, but discover that the rest of the costumes have been stolen. Heather Jasper Howe turns the city against them.
Following the lead from Wickles' note, Scooby and Shaggy don disguises and sneak into the Faux Ghost, only to discover it's a hangout for all the villains Mystery Inc. had previously unmasked. After speaking to Wickles, they learn that he has abandoned his criminal ways. The duo are eventually discovered and they escape through a garbage chute. On their way out, they spot Patrick uncharacteristically threatening someone who appears to be a member of his staff, ordering him to find out who vandalized his museum. Escaping an awkward interaction with Patrick, Scooby and Shaggy spot Wickles leaving the club and follow him. Daphne, Velma, and Fred go to the mines, finding Wickles presenting plans to turn it into a summer camp for children to a group of investors. When they confront Wickles, he states that he and Jacobo hated each other for various petty reasons and that he has no connection to the museum robberies.
The gang then finds a secret laboratory where the costumes are vitalized as real supernatural creatures. Shaggy and Scooby play around with the machine's control panel, inadvertently bringing several costumes to life, and the gang flees with the panel as the Evil Masked Figure terrorizes the city. Escaping to their old high school clubhouse, the gang realizes they can reverse the control panel's power by altering its wiring, consequently destroying the monsters. However, Captain Cutler emerges from the nearby lake, forcing the gang to retreat to the mines, encountering the various monsters along the way. When Velma tries to give Scooby and Shaggy the control panel, they refuse to take it, believing that they will once again ruin everything and admit their feelings of inadequacy compared to the rest of the gang. Velma convinces them they are fine as they are and that they have both been heroes in their own way all along. After escaping the Skeleton Men, Velma finds a shrine dedicated to Jacobo built by Patrick. Eventually, Patrick finds her and proves his innocence by helping her after a catwalk gives way underneath her, but he is captured by the Pterodactyl Ghost.
The gang finally confronts the Evil Masked Figure as the Tar Monster captures everyone except Scooby, who uses a fire extinguisher to freeze its body. He reconnects the control panel and activates it, turning the monsters back into their original forms. The gang takes the Evil Masked Figure to the authorities and he is revealed to be Howe. When asked about Howe's reason for committing her crimes, Velma suddenly pulls her face off, revealing her to actually be Jonathan Jacobo, alive and well. Velma explains that she realized Jacobo was still alive after finding a newspaper clipping showing him in front of the museum, the construction of which had begun a year after his apparent death. Having miraculously survived his prison escape, Jacobo sought to get revenge on the gang by discrediting them using his Heather Jasper Howe persona and later ultimately defeat them with his newfound way to create the monsters. Jacobo is soon arrested once again alongside his cameraman accomplice, Ned, and the gang are praised as heroes once more and celebrate their victory at the Faux Ghost with Wickles and the reformed criminals.
In June 2002, at the time of the release of Scooby-Doo, Dan Fellman, the president of Warner Bros., confirmed that a sequel was in the works, and was slated for a 2004 release. In March 2003, it was announced that Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Neil Fanning, Matthew Lillard and Linda Cardellini would reprise their roles in the sequel. In April 2003, the next month, filming for the sequel began in Vancouver, with Seth Green joining the cast.
Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed opened March 26, 2004, and grossed $29.4 million (over 3,312 theaters, $8,888 average) during its opening weekend, ranking No. 1. It grossed a total of $84.2 million in North America, and went on to earn $181.5 million worldwide, more than $90 million less than the $275.7 million worldwide Scooby-Doo grossed two years earlier. It was the twenty eighth most successful film of 2004, and ranks as the sixth highest-grossing film featuring a dog as a major character. The film was released in the United Kingdom on April 2, 2004, and topped the country's box office for the next three weekends, before being dethroned by Kill Bill: Volume 2.
On Rotten Tomatoes, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed holds a rating of 22% based on 119 reviews and an average rating of 4.3/10. The site's consensus reads: "Only the very young will get the most out of this silly trifle." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 34 out of 100 based on 28 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale, an improvement over the previous film's "B+".
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Times gave the film two stars out of four, stating, "This is a silly machine to whirl goofy antics before the eyes of easily distracted audiences, and it is made with undeniable skill." Dave Kehr of The New York Times gave the film a negative review, saying, "In the strictly secular-humanist world of Scooby-Doo, there are no real ghosts, but only humans desperate for attention who disguise themselves as supernatural figures."
Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film a two out of five stars, stating, "it's straight down the line family fare, nothing inspired, nothing objectionable: a few funny lines." Nick DeSemlyn of Empire Magazine also gave the film two out of five stars, saying, "This sequel is a step up from the first. Scooby's animation is improved, there are some fun action sequences and a smattering of amusing moments. But the same manic mugging that spoiled the original mars this movie, and the result is a film only a six year-old on a sugar rush could love" Common Sense Media gave the film two out of five stars, saying, "Sequel is milder than original; potty humor, peril, violence."
The film won the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel.
Warner Home Video released the film on DVD and VHS on September 14, 2004, in both full-screen and widescreen editions. The DVD included deleted scenes from the film's production and other special features, such as two music videos, a "making of" and trailers. On November 9, 2010, Warner Bros. released both the film and its predecessor as a double feature Blu-ray.
Two video games loosely following the plot of the film were released in 2004 to coincide with the film's release; a 3D point and click adventure on the PC and a 2D beat 'em up platformer on the Game Boy Advance. In both games, one ending could only be seen by entering a code displayed at the end of the film after the credits.
A soundtrack was released on March 23, 2004, on compact disc and cassette tape.
In October 2002, during the filming of Scooby-Doo 2, Warner Bros. approved production of a third film. Dan Forman and Paul Foley were hired to write the script for Scooby-Doo 3. In August 2004, Matthew Lillard said in an interview that the third Scooby-Doo film was canceled because the second had not done as well as expected, which he attributed to Warner Bros. releasing it at an inappropriate time. In a 2019 interview, James Gunn revealed that he was set to write and direct but the film did not happen due to the financial disappointment of the previous film, stating, "although it did well, it didn't do well enough to warrant a third, so the movie was never made." Gunn tweeted the plot for the canceled film was that "The Mystery Inc. gang are hired by a town in Scotland who complain they are being plagued by monsters but we discover throughout the film the monsters are actually the victims. Scooby and Shaggy have to come to terms with their own prejudices and narrow belief systems."
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