Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Daphne and Velma are on the case when the latest film in the world of Scooby-Doo releases digitally. It is set to debut on Blu-Ray and DVD May 22nd. This new caper directed by Suzi Yoonessi (Relationship Status) stars Sarah Jeffery (Rogue and Descendants: Wicked World) as Daphne Blake and Sarah Gilman (Last Man Standing and I Didn’t Do It) as Velma Dinkley.
Last weekend I was lucky enough to be able to attend the world premiere of Daphne and Velma while attending Chicago’s C2E2. The fact that they debuted the film and are allowing professional reviews well over a month in advance of its release should tell you how proud and confident they are of their creation. They have good reason to be, while nothing in this movie may reach the heights of Matthew Lillard as Shaggy, it is the best of the four live-action Scooby-Doo films to be produced.
The creators wanted to take iconic characters they felt were underserved and write a new story where they were the center, and this movie was the result. It is cheesy in the right ways, like an advanced version of a show for the Disney Channel. Sometimes it goes a little over the top for my tastes, but it should hit big in its target audience of pre-teen and teenage girls. This movie is more about finding yourself in high school and your friendships, believing in each other and girl power more than it is about the mystery. There were women at every stage of production to keep it honest and focused on the emotions they want the story to convey.
My only real issue with the film is Velma. It is not with Sarah Gilman’s performance as Velma; I think she did a good job. She also brought a lot of the fanfare moments to the movie. I think it is more with how Velma was written; she came off meaner than I would have expected her to be. It wains as the film goes on and it could be chalked up to her feeling isolated and her paranoia, but I found it off-putting during the film’s first act.
I think there is a chance that the film will not age well. They did their best to keep popular phrases out, but some did make it into the final script. They also rely heavily on technology which is always a difficult task; however, they may have done it in the best way possible. Instead of focusing on tech that is 50 years beyond anything we have, they altered real-world devices in what may be in their next logical evolution. Another smart move is that some of the advanced technology turns out to be faked by concerned parents trying to give their daughter everything she could dream. Speaking of parents, Brian Stepanek who plays Nedley Blake may be the best part of the movie; he steals every scene.
I look forward to the time next month when other people have seen this movie, and we can discuss what call backs and references to the classic animated series. If you are a Scooby-Doo fan, this is worth your time especially since they have plans for at least one sequel but probably many more if this film performs well financially. I look forward to seeing how this team will introduce the rest of Mystery Inc. and how they will keep Daphne and Velma as the center of the team. It will be a difficult task not to lose focus once Scooby is on-screen because he and Shaggy have been the fan favorites since 1969.