Dracula: Please do have some spiderweb spaghetti.
Beware: Spoilers may follow.
Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf was the last time Scrappy was featured as protagonist before becoming a villain in the live action movie in 2002. It was also the only time where Shaggy’s girlfriend Googie was featured. This movie was one of many attempts in the 80s to do something different with the franchise in order to save it from extinction.
The story is that Count Dracula is organizing the annual Monster Road Rally made up of all the world’s most famous monsters. However he is dismayed when he receives a postcard saying that the Werewolf has retired to Florida and will not be participating in the race. Fearing that he will have to cancel the race without one of the best monsters, Dracula decides to create a new werewolf. And he finds a candidate in Shaggy Rogers who recently won his own car race with the help of Scooby, Scrappy, and his girlfriend Googie. Dracula sends his Hunch Bunch henchmen Brunch and Crunch in order to do the job. They succeed and bring the group to Dracula’s castle. Shaggy of course has no desire to be a werewolf and demands Dracula change him back. Thus Dracula makes him a deal: If Shaggy wins the race, Dracula will change him back to normal and let him and his friends go. But of course, Dracula has no intention of making this easy and goes through several schemes to ensure Shaggy loses.
Outside of the beginning and ending, the movie follows the same formula throughout the race: Dracula thinks of a scheme to make Shaggy lose, Shaggy finds himself overcoming the hurdles set by Dracula and his cronies, he overcomes them, and ends up back in the lead. This gives way to some good wackiness (as does the rest of the movie) the first couple of times but it gets old fast.
The premise is decent but the race is pretty much a knockoff of Wacky Races, which while a fun cartoon doesn’t give way to much else in the way of creativity. When it comes to Shaggy and Scooby with monsters there was far more humor in the ways they dealt with them.
The color scheme is nice particularly the green and blue in Dracula’s castle and the monsters themselves give way to a couple of funny jokes and puns. The rest of the animation (in addition to the antics throughout the story) however makes it feel very much like an extended episode.
Scrappy-Doo and Googie’s roles in this movie largely involve them both either cheering on Shaggy and Scooby as they are racing or saving the two from Dracula’s obstacles. Neither of these two ever got particularly annoying at any point but the character of Googie does raise some questions: Who is she? When did Shaggy meet her? Why was she never seen again? In fact her clothing style greatly resembles Daphne’s, which brings up the bigger question as to why this character exists as opposed to Daphne.
Dracula and his wife Vanna Pira are the highlights of this movie. Both their voice actors help give life to the jokes in this movie whether it be her ditzy demeanor or her husband’s over-the top voice in pronouncing Shaggy’s name or the way he complains every time his plan fails.
Scooby-Doo: The Reluctant Werewolf isn’t an unwatchable movie by any means. It’s just that there isn’t much that can appeal to long-time fans of the franchise. It’s perfectly serviceable for kids but the only thing that can appeal to adults is feelings of nostalgia.