Few heroes throw themselves into as many perilous situations as Scooby-Doo and the crew. Over the past fifty-plus years, our adorable scary cat pooch and his family in the Mystery Machine have vanquished many television shows and more than thirty direct-to-video features. Zombies, vampires, Gene Simmons — the gang has seen it all and met almost every strange individual. So, who can our terrified buddy meet that will pique the interest of the audience? Courage, the Cowardly Dog, is an even more nervous nellie.
It’s been over two decades since the end of this deliciously off-kilter series of the same name, but those who grew up with it recall his horror-tinged comic exploits. Straight Outta Nowhere: Scooby-Doo Meets Courage the Cowardly Dog, a new feature-length animated picture with two legendary dogs. These two universes seemed bound to collide sometimes, and the only complaint we have is that it took so long!
Even the most casual Scooby-Doo! Fan will recognize the opening scene of the new flick. Fred, Velma, Daphne, Shaggy, and Scooby have apprehended a deranged clown who has been stealing money from a local bank, and the moment has come to reveal the perpetrator. Shaggy and Scooby are not on the verge of a nervous breakdown due to fear, contrary to their typical state of being. The lads are striving to eliminate fear from their lives with the help of a new app (“Being Afraid Is For Chickens”) — a noble quest that will undoubtedly be short-lived.
While his human colleagues are wrapping up the investigation, Scooby hears a high-frequency sound that sends him into a trance and forces him to flee to the nearby town of Nowhere, Kansas. When the group catches up with Scoob, they find themselves outside Courage’s house, who has also been placed into a trance. Things have always been a little strange in Nowhere, but no one is prepared for what awaits them when they come face to face with enormous cicada monsters.
While spectators see Scooby-Doo regularly, the main delight of this picture is catching up with Courage and his owners, Eustace and Muriel Bagge. The Mystery Machine crew blends with the more paranormal-inclined Nowhere. Muriel, who is easygoing but occasionally flighty, is all too glad to welcome many children into their house. Scooby discovers that he and Courage have a lot in common, from a fondness of Muriel’s fresh cookies to a tendency for being forced into odd circumstances.
Eustace is rare since he can now take masks and terrify TWO dogs simultaneously, along with a terrified Shaggy. The narrative is fundamental, with everyone attempting to solve the mystery of the cicada creatures while simultaneously being invited to see the mayor of Nowhere (who no one has ever heard of nor remembers electing). Like each Scooby adventure, the typical formula of progressively strange encounters occurs, but the Nowhere location adds a humorous, spooky twist.
Straight Outta Nowhere has a beautiful mix of thrills and humorous moments. An early chase sequence between the Mystery Machine and Eustace’s truck is sufficiently hectic, and it is capped off with the right comic bow thanks to each owner’s devotion to their car. The highlight comic segment includes our heroes dressed as exterminators, which seems like something out of a classic Steve Martin comedy. The film is just 78 minutes long, so it moves swiftly, but it feels a little too long for the tale they’re presenting.
As the film nears its conclusion, it loses momentum, and a late-period sequence of Eustace rapping is one of the film’s only fundamental mistakes. Those like the Scooby gang may feel that the human characters are underutilized, yet each has at least one opportunity to make their mark. Even if it isn’t flawless, putting these two franchises together is a lot of fun.
All of the vocal performances are excellent. Matthew Lillard has always been our favorite Shaggy in the contemporary age, and Frank Welker quickly plays Scooby-Doo and Fred. Kate Micucci masterfully embraces the characteristics of Velma, while Grey Griffin demonstrates why she is one of the finest in the profession as Daphne.
Marty Grabstein returns as the voice of Courage, and Jeff Bergman fills the role of Eustace admirably after the deaths of Lionel Wilson in 2003 and Arthur Anderson in 2016. With the untimely death of Thea White, who plays Muriel, this film serves as a fitting send-off for a great vocal performer. This is one of the better original Scooby-Doo flicks in a long time. Fans of either property should have a lot to look forward to here.
Straight Outta Nowhere: Scooby-Doo Meets Courage the Cowardly Dog is available on DVD in 480p, which looks exceptionally lovely despite the lack of an HD option. This disc lacks the clarity of a Blu-Ray, but it does prevent a slew of digital abnormalities, including artifacts and digital noise. The film has a vibrant color palette for most of its length, but it lacks a visual jump off the screen due to format restrictions.
The disc has quite deep black depths for a crisp viewing experience that is mainly crush-free. The film’s animation style is stunning, and line detail remains appropriately firm throughout, with only a few instances of blurring along borders. The DVD presentation is good, but I would have like to watch this on Blu-Ray.
This version includes a Dolby Digital 5.1 track that more than suffices when it is needed. The music utilizes all channels with panning effects and demolition noises that put you right in the middle of the action. The low-end has a lot of effort, which brings the mayhem of monster assaults to life entertainingly. The dialogue is always absolutely clear, with no cutting at more busy periods.
This is typically kept in the center channel, although there are a few amusing instances in which characters call from off-screen portrayed beautifully. Warner Bros. did a fantastic job with the audio track. For those who want them, the CD includes optional subtitles in English SDH, and French.
Straight Outta Nowhere: Scooby-Doo Meets Courage the Cowardly Dog combines two of the most popular canines in animation for a highly entertaining, playfully eerie adventure. Certain moments appear stretched to justify a feature-length effort, but you can easily overlook them since you love spending time with these individuals. The Warner Bros. To complete off the bundle, Home Entertainment has produced a DVD with an excellent A/V presentation (for the format) and a handful of legendary episodes.
We’ll make another request for you to start releasing these direct-to-video efforts on Blu-Ray, and to release the entire run of Courage The Cowardly Dog on that format as well.