I’ll admit it. I’ve never outgrown my love of Scooby Doo. As soon as they were old enough to watch, I introduced my kids to my favorite mystery solving Great Dane and his friends. I told them it was because I thought they’d like it, but really it was all so I could feed my own fixation.
Being a fan myself, I’ll try not to include any spoilers. But I can safely say this: when it came time to kick back and watch the new “Scooby Doo! Wrestlemania Mystery,” we were expecting an entertaining, if slightly implausible good time — and that’s exactly what we got.
The basic idea is that Scooby Doo wins a free trip to Wrestlemania while playing video games with Shaggy. The rest of the gang tags along reluctantly — until they discover there’s a mysterious ghost bear on the scene and a threat to the gold and diamond encrusted WWE championship belt.
From there, things get crazy quick. Several WWE wrestlers are integrated into the story, recalling the old “New Scooby Doo Mysteries” where everybody from The Three Stooges and Speed Buggy to Dick Van Dyke and the Harlem Globe Trotters dropped by. With so many characters to cover and so many storylines to juggle, the movie starts to remind you of an overstuffed clown car; it zips around frantically, but with such delight that you hate to find fault with it.
It feels a little like “Scooby Doo! Wrestlemania Mystery” was put together with a throw-everything-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks philosophy. For example, there’s a really great chase scene in the ghost bear’s cave that’s reminiscent of the wacky hallway chase scenes in the old shows. In case that’s not enough, they immediately follow it with an insane rush through a flooded cave, complete with a trip going over a waterfall on an upside down table.
While the actual mystery is never the real focus of a Scooby Doo movie, this does offer a fairly challenging one with several possible suspects who possess either means, motive, or both. Before it’s all over, Fred gets to set his trap, Daphne exchanges phone numbers with the wrestlers, Velma figures out the clues, and Shaggy and Scooby end up competing in the WWE wrestling ring. Hey, that last one is no more far-fetched than a talking dog, right?
“Scooby Doo! Wrestlemania Mystery” is a fast-paced, entertaining romp with familiar old friends. One word of caution — parents may wish to remind their kids that the wrestling moves they see aren’t safe to try at home. I realize it’s a cartoon and that Scooby Doo and the gang do many impossible things. But a gentle reminder that it takes a trained professional to do fancy wrestling moves can’t hurt and just might prevent an ER visit.