Directors: Cecilia Aranovich Hamilton, Ethan Spaulding
Cast: Frank Welker, Grey Griffin, Matthew Lillard (VOICES)
Release Date: October 1, 2019
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 5/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
On Scooby-Doo! Return to Zombie Island, Scooby-Doo and his pals win an all-expense paid vacation and embark on a trip of a lifetime to a tropical paradise. Their destination however, turns out to be Zombie Island. As soon as they arrive, they realize the place looks strangely familiar and is reminiscent of a trip they took years ago, in which they became wrapped up in a mystery involving zombies. The gang soon learns that their trip to paradise comes with a price when the zombies re-emerge and attack their hotel. Will Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. gang finally solve the mystery behind Zombie Island?
Please Note: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the DVD I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
In the long-awaited sequel to ‘Scooby-Doo! on Zombie Island’, the gang returns to their first in a long chain of animated feature length mysteries in ‘Scooby-Doo! Return To Zombie Island’ which sees Scooby, Shaggy, Fred, Velma and Daphne deciding to take a break from mystery solving and heading out on a promised tropical vacation that Shaggy and Scooby were lucky enough to win tickets for on their favorite show. But as the gang arrives at their destination and starts noticing far too many weird coincidences and peculiar aspects about their location, they soon begin to question whether they truly have arrived in paradise, or simply been tricked into returning to the scene of a long unsolved mystery they had no intention of ever revisiting.
‘Scooby-Doo! Return to Zombie Island’ manages to deliver some fun gags, plenty of laughs and even some fairly smart twists and turns throughout. Unfortunately, it also falls flat on its face as a sequel to the beloved 1998 animated film ‘Scooby-Doo! on Zombie Island’ which it bears little resemblance to in many respects. While the setting and other elements are related, it takes things in a drastically different direction while also going so far as to blatantly contradict plot and story elements from its predecessor, not to mention dissecting the mystery in the most disappointing and unoriginal ways fathomable; all coming together into far more of a spoof like follow-up than an actual sequel. Make no mistake, the movie has its moments and is fairly fun in its own right, just don’t expect anything exceptional or remotely on par with the first ‘Zombie Island’ movie. Either way, hardcore Scooby fans will still want to try and check out ‘Scooby-Doo! Return to Zombie Island’ whenever you have the opportunity to do so in order to make up your own mind. Even while undoubtedly one of the weaker Scooby animated features in recent memory and quite the lackluster sequel, it still has enough laughs and clever moments throughout to at the very least warrant a viewing at some point.
Overall, ‘Scooby-Doo Return to Zombie Island’ has some fun tidbits and clever moments sprinkled throughout, but it also falters in many areas, particularly as a sequel to the fan-favorite ‘Scooby-Doo! on Zombie Island’ animated feature which it unfortunately pales in comparison to, while also contradicting many elements from the first film in the storyline. Dedicated Scooby fans will surely still want to make a point of checking out ‘Scooby-Doo Return to Zombie Island’ at some point in order to form their own opinion, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to go in with your expectations in check if possible. Unless you’re one to collect every new Scooby release (which I know many hardcore fans probably do) it also wouldn’t hurt to try and rent the film prior to purchasing it on DVD or Digital just to be safe.
The DVD release of ‘Scooby-Doo! Return to Zombie Island’ is presented in a 16×9 friendly Widescreen presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic altogether for a DVD release, providing a smooth, clean and vibrantly colored presentation from start to finish, with no noteworthy faults or troubles to be uncovered along the way. It holds up remarkably well even during the fast moving, darkly lit and heavily populated moments, never causing anything onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a great standard definition video presentation that should please the fans, especially those who are still content with the DVD format itself.
The DVD release features a 384 kbps 5.1 channel Dolby Digital soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack delivers a crisp, clean and fairly active audio presentation throughout. It repeatedly takes advantage of all five available channels in order to send music and nature elements, along with scare effects and plenty more throughout the various speakers quite regularly, and never allowing any dialogue or other audio activity that might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible along the way. Overall, this is a pretty terrific 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack that sounds consistently great while contributing plenty of extra fun to the viewing experience.
The DVD release of ‘Scooby-Doo! Return to Zombie Island’ includes a couple extras in the way of Bonus Scooby Cartoon Episodes including: ‘The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries, “Ghosts of the Ancient Astronauts” Part 1 and 2’ (running approximately 12 minutes each) and ‘What’s New Scooby-Doo? “Mummy Scares Best”’ (running approximately 21 minutes).