Blu-ray Review: Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright

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An all-new, feature-length adventure for Scooby, Shaggy, and the entire Mystery Inc. gang, Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright has arrived on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. This one finds the gang travelling to an old opera house where auditions are being held for an America’s Got Talent-style TV competition. Fred (voiced by Fred Welker) and Daphne (Grey DeLisle) plan to try their luck with a song. A mystery soon emerges, with a phantom wreaking havoc throughout the auditorium (think Phantom of the Opera).

Back in the ‘70s the opera house was transformed into a disco, inspiring rage within a man who eventually took to sabotaging events that occurred there. Even all these years later, the phantom is up to his usual tricks, lighting fires and generally making the audition process highly inconvenient. The whole Mystery Inc. crew decides to investigate further, quickly discovering that the “phantom” isn’t quite who they expected. In classic Scooby-Doo fashion, a series of “unmaskings” must occur before the gang figures out who’s actually behind the hijinks.

Stage Fright Stills_1 (380x304).jpgThough well produced, Stage Fright feels a bit like an episode-worthy story stretched out to feature length (78 minutes in this case). Time is marked by a few detours such as Scooby (also voiced by Welker) and Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) visiting a pizzeria, polishing off a pie so large they needed to sign an anti-liability waiver prior to consumption. Luckily, tangents like that are funny enough to provoke a chuckle and Stage Fright generally zips right by. In addition to Fred and Daphne’s audition, we see several other acts (including a ventriloquist who sits on the dummy’s lap). The music is pretty bad actually, but the action sequences are well staged. Stage Fright builds to a satisfyingly frenzied climax.

Stage Fright Stills_2 (380x304).jpgStage Fright looks quite good on this 1080p, AVC-encoded Blu-ray. Colors are bold and sharpness is consistently strong. Black levels are suitably deep. The audio is offered in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. The surround mix packs an unexpectedly solid punch. Music and effects are plentiful from the rear speakers and the LFE channel is robust when needed. While the songs may be a little irritating, the fidelity is always strong.

Stage Fright Stills_3 (380x304).jpgFor bonus features there are two vintage cartoons, each running about 22 minutes. The first is “Don’t Fool with a Phantom” (the final episode from season two of Scooby-Doo, Where are You! in 1970) and the other is “Never Ape an Ape Man” (episode seven from the first season of the same show, 1969). The pair of bonus episodes, while previously available on DVD, make their Blu-ray debut here. They’re a nice addition (especially the similarly-themed “Phantom” episode) to Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright. The Blu-ray combo pack also includes standard DVD and UltraViolet download code for the film.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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