Since Warners revamped the Scooby-Doo franchise in 1998, feature length mysteries have been inconsistent. The first few had real monsters, with no rubber masks, but far too many disgustingly PC mommies in America complained and the Brothers Warner folded and went back to the "guy in a suit to scare away the locals" stories. A shame.
What a surprise then that Scooby's latest adventure is actually quite good, despite its PC shortcomings. This time around the Mystery Inc. gang are in Hawaii, catching some rays and relaxation. Typically, this is the exact moment the local volcano starts brewing over and a big monster called the Wiki-Tiki rears its ugly head, scaring away all of the surfers from the Hunahana resort and kidnapping a local babe. If you are incredibly sad, like me, you will realise this is too much like the 1970 episode, A Tiki Scare Is No Fair.
The usual long list of suspects includes a sleazy real estate agent, an ambitious mayor and an eccentric holiday rep (Adam West). And just as soon as their mystery-solving begins, the real culprit is immediately noticeable. It's a poorly written whodunit, but what saves it are crazy set pieces and a varied atmosphere, which keep the mystery interesting, if obvious. Or, at least, obvious to a 24-year-old. It may well come as a surprise to an eight-year-old.
Locations, such as the beach, the deep jungle, the catacombs and Auntie Mahina's cabin, are beautifully animated. The best thing about the modern Scooby is that production values are a zillion times what the original 1969 series was. Aloha, Scooby-Doo looks incredibly slick and the eye-popping colour schemes would keep you interested no matter how poor the mystery was.
One could accuse the film of being slightly xenophobic and somewhat stereotypical in regards to its Hawaiian setting. But it's no worse than the unrealistic Scotland seen in last year's Scooby-Doo And The Loch Ness Monster.
I was also surprised at how little of it actually relies on Scooby (voiced by Frank Welker, who also does Fred). He barely gets a chance to do his thang. Most of the laughs come from the rest of the gang. But, as it is, Aloha, Scooby-Doo is still loads of fun and proves that while the story quality of modern Scoobys remains inconsistent, the animation just gets better and better.