Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Scooby Doo! and the Goblin King

Premiered September 23, 2008.

"He who holds the Goblin Scepter holds the power of Halloween in his grasp."
-The Amazing Krudsky

On Halloween, Scooby Doo (Frank Welker) and his friends from Mystery Inc. are having a great time at Coolsville’s Halloween Carnival.  The gang decides to attend the Amazing Krudsky’s (Wayne Knight) magic show.

When Scooby accidentally splashes water on Krudsky, the dog is barred from attending the show.  This prompts Shaggy (Casey Kasem) and Scooby to sabotage Krudsky and reveal that his magic is fake.  This revelation causes the audience to walk out on Krudsky’s show, and the magician vows revenge.

Scooby and Shaggy’s actions get the gang kicked out of the carnival.  They decide to go Trick Or Treating, Scoob and Shaggy wear multiple costumes...

 ...in order to maximize their treats.

Elsewhere, Krudsky is furious about being exposed.  Through a chance encounter with a fairy named Princess Willow (Hayden Penatiere), the magician learns of the Goblin Scepter, fabled wand of the Goblin King (Tim Curry).  Whoever possesses the scepter will control the magic of Halloween.  Krudsky uses a spell to steal Princess Willow’s magic powers, which gives him “the power of the light.”

After knocking on every door in the area, Scoob and Shaggy trick or treat at a mysterious mansion that turns out to be Mr. Gibble's Genuine Magic Shoppe.  They learn that Gibble (Wallace Shawn) knows the secrets of wielding real magic.

Princess Willow shows up at Gibble’s seeking help and tells him he must close up his shop.  She tries to warn them that Krudsky is chasing her and will attack the magic shop, but it’s too late.  The magician arrives, turns Gibble into a rabbit, captures Willow and flies away with a bunch of magic supplies.

Gibble explains that Krudsky has gone to the Land Of Halloween Spirits in order to get the Goblin Scepter.  This would enable Krudsky to unite the power of the light with the power of the dark and destroy the balance of the supernatural order.  If Krudsky succeeds, the powers of Halloween Night will rule the world forever and turn everyone into monsters.

Gibble tells Shaggy and Scooby it’s up to them to save the day.  They must find the castle of the Goblin King and get to the scepter before Krudsky captures it.  If they can’t accomplish this before midnight, the world is doomed!

Scooby and Shaggy encounter some interesting friends and foes on their Journey:

Glob (Jim Belushi) and Glum (Larry Joe Campbell), a duo of shadow goblins who attempt to capture Shag and Scoob when they hear they're seeking the Goblin King.

Jack O’Lantern (Jay Leno), a talking pumpkin who helps them escape from the shadow goblins.

The Headless Horseman, Jack’s “partner” who chases Shaggy and Scooby through a pumpkin patch!

The Grand Witch (Lauren Bacall), who gives our heroes a flying magic broom to help them reach their destination.

And last, but definitely not least, the Goblin King himself!

Can Scooby and Shaggy save the world from Krudsky?

J.A. Morris says:

I should mention that Scooby Doo and the Goblin King has a running time of 75 minutes.  That means it’s much longer than a typical Scooby episode.

The animation in this special looks great.  The voice actors are very good.  Casey Kasem was still alive when this was produced, so it’s nice to hear him voice Shaggy.  Frank Welker, the original voice of Fred, is back and also voices Scooby Doo.

The “guest” voice actors include several A-list talents.  Lauren Bacall brings a lot of gravitas to the witch.  Wallace Shawn makes Gibble an endearing character.  Tim Curry provides a great voice for the Goblin King and Wayne Knight is entertaining as the villainous Krudsky. 

The story here is basically good and the stakes are pretty high.  Shaggy and Scooby have to save the world from Krudsky.  That’s a bit more serious than figuring out the identity of the fake ghost or monster of the week.  The Headless Horseman is always a welcome addition to any Halloween special.

The train Scoob and Shag take to the Land Of Halloween looks pretty cool.

But Goblin King also has several problems.

It’s full of songs that feel like padding so the special could be “feature length.”  These songs aren’t bad, but most aren’t relevant to the plot and they do nothing to forward the story.

The depiction of Velma (Mindy Cohn) is problematic at best.  She’s always been the brains behind Mystery Inc, here’s she’s just a victim.  Making matters worse, there are two moments in Goblin King that insult Velma’s physical appearance (which my co-blogger will further discuss below).

Considering the talents involved and the great animation, Scooby Doo and the Goblin King could have been a classic Halloween special.  I enjoyed some of Scooby and Shaggy’s adventures and Tim Curry always makes everything better.  I’m recommending it for hardcore Scooby-philes and fans of the guest voice actors.  But the problems I mentioned keep it from getting a higher rating.

J.A. Morris’ rating:

2 and a half jack o’lanterns

RigbyMel says: 

There is a LOT going on in Scooby Doo and the Goblin King.   So much is going on that it feels like the writers didn't feel like they had enough material to fill out the time allotted to them in a feature length format.  Hence, they just kept throwing elements into the mix rather than trying to fully develop any of them.   

So we get Halloween, magicians,  fairy princesses, ghost trains, real monsters, witches, talking pumpkins, skeleton musicians, trick or treating, magical tarot cards, real monsters, the goblin king and it is ... exhausting.

As J.A. Morris mentions above, I also have big problems with the way Velma is treated in this.  Rather than being shown to be brainy, occasionally sarcastic and necessary to the Mystery Inc. gang, she comes off as a gibbering, shrill killjoy and winds up repeatedly depicted as a dog  (ok, werewolf, whatever).  Daphne (Grey DeLisle)gets turned into a witch and while not exactly a sexy witch, she at least stays more humanoid in her transformation.

The animation in Scooby Doo and the Goblin King is of reasonably high quality and the voice talent is top notch, it's just a shame it wasn't used in service of a better told tale.  Halloween and Scooby Doo would seem to go together like peanut butter and chocolate,  I feel like the writers could have done more to make this confection better.

RigbyMel's rating: 

1 and a half jack o'lanterns 

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