Continuity and the Scooby-Doo franchise has always been an “oil and water” sort of thing, with retconning and rebooting happening with almost every new incarnation, but in the case of Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon, two beloved characters were basically retconned out of existence. Back in the late 70s, Hanna-Barbera released a 60-minute package show called The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour which starred the Scooby gang as well as the superhero team of Blue Falcon and Dynomutt, who themselves would often team up with Mystery Incorporated, but with the release of Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon, the Blue Falcon and Dynomutt are now considered to be fictional characters. Ruh-roh?
In this movie, we find Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) and Scooby-Doo (Frank Welker) distracted from mystery-solving by the upcoming Mega Mondo Pop Comic Con-A-Palooza in San De Pedro — a not-so-subtle parody of the San Diego International Comic-Con — where Shaggy and Scooby hope to win the convention’s costume contest, dressed as their favourite comic book heroes, Blue Falcon and Dynomutt. Velma (Mindy Cohn) is less than thrilled with the idea of attending a comic book convention, the concept of superheroes being too farfetched for her, but Daphne (Grey Griffin) is eager to attend as this will give her the chance to expand her collection of Littlest Fuzzies. Meanwhile, Fred (Frank Welker) is looking forward to seeing the trailer for the new darker and edgier Blue Falcon movie.
Lucky for Velma, there seems to be a real mystery on hand as the villainous Mr. Hyde (John DiMaggio), a character out of the original Blue Falcon television show, appears during the trailer presentation and then proceeds to wreak havoc at the convention. Like any Scooby-Doo mystery, we are treated to several potential suspects who could be masquerading as the monster du jour, but unlike many of the gang’s previous mysteries, the case of the “Mask of the Falcon” brings us several credible suspects, all with decent motives and an overall crime that, if a bit implausible, all goes towards making this one of the better entries in the direct-to-video movie series.
Note: As in many Scooby-Doo mysteries, the villain here pulls off feats of engineering that would have made him more money in selling that technology than in any crime he could commit using it.
And who are today’s suspects? First off we have actor Owen Garrison (Jeff Bennett) who played the Blue Falcon in the original television show, and now finds himself banned from wearing the costume in public due to the studio releasing the new “darker” Blue Falcon movie, and have since turned their backs on him. They’ve also pulled the television re-runs as well as refusing to release the old show on Green-Ray. This all makes Owen a very credible suspect and his furious rantings against the new movie don’t help much as it just puts him at the top of Fred, Velma and Daphne’s list. Next up is movie producer Jennifer Severin (Nika Futterman), who is the writer, producer and director of this new Blue Falcon movie and the Mr. Hyde attacks could easily be part of some elaborate publicity stunt for her movie; and then we have actor Brad Adams (Diedrich Bader), who is playing the new Blue Falcon, and he finds the character beneath his talents. Finally, there is Hank Prince (Gregg Berger) a comic shop owner whose booth at the convention is making a killing as the attacks have raised interest in the Blue Falcon and allowed him to jack up his prices.
So which one of these suspicious characters is behind the Mr. Hyde attacks? None of them actually; turns out, the man responsible for Mr. Hyde is Jack Rabble (Fred Tatasciore), a former battle bots champion who now makes a living signing autographs. Over the years, he’d shared a booth at numerous conventions with Owen Garrison and he came up with the whole Mr. Hyde shtick after listening to Garrison bitch and complain about not being able to revive the Blue Falcon, and the whole thing was an elaborate scheme to divert an armoured truck carrying the $5,000,000 entrance fees for the convention with the Blue Falcon motif in place to make Owen Garrison the perfect patsy. This particular criminal plan may have been a little too elaborate, and the obvious robotic nature of Mr. Hyde’s attacks clearly pointed at someone with Jack Rabble’s skill set, but the whole framing of the original Blue Falcon actor was a nice touch and made this movie stand out for having one of the better mysteries in the series.
• Daphne’s almost pathological need to collect Little Fuzzies is a cute running gag, but it’s a bit of a step back with her character from what we’ve seen in some of the later incarnations. Both she and Fred don’t get to do much in this movie other than providing goofy comic relief.
• Jennifer Severin is an obvious jab at producer-director Michael Bay, and her comment “When the studio asked me to put The Blue Falcon on the big screen, I only had one question: instead of a story, how about I just blow things up?” This is something you can picture Michael Bay saying.
• Brad Adams is a beautiful parody of the method actor of today: “I never studied the older Blue Falcon, in fact I’ve never even watched the show, instead I bring to the Blue Falcon a clean slate seeing him as a divided soul in the endless debate over the choices he’s had to make in a very real and dangerous world. That the Blue Falcon is an enigma living a life trapped within the possibility of certainty.”
• Owen Garrison’s despondent television actor is very reminiscent of The Grey Ghost from the Batman Animated Series, which in turn was based on actor Clayton Moore’s real-life struggle against the owners of The Lone Ranger property, who had prevented him from making public appearances in costume and went so far as to sue him.
• A despondent Scooby-Doo tosses his Dynomutt costume in a trash can stating, “I’m Dynomutt no more,” a nice reference to the classic Amazing Spider-Man issue that followed Gwen Stacy’s death.
• This is not the first time we’ve seen a darker version of The Blue Falcon and Dynomutt; in the 2013 series Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, we got a Frank Castle/Punisher-type vigilante version of The Blue Falcon.
Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon is an incredibly fun entry, one that lovingly lampoons the direction of the “Dark and Gritty” superhero films that followed the release of Tim Burton’s Batman, and the setting of this mystery at the “Not San Diego Comic-Con” opened up the show for some great visual gags — the art designers and animators must have had a field day coming up with all those costumed conventioneers — and then the mystery itself being rather clever makes Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon is a personal favourite of mine.
You can find all my reviews of the various Scooby-Doo shows and movies collected here: The Wonderful World of Scooby-Doo.
Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon (2012)
Movie Rank - 7.5/10
Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon is a great salute to comic books and superheroes movies all wrapped in a cool Scooby-Doo mystery that fans will surely get a kick out off.