Scooby-Doo and guest stars go together like peanut butter and jelly as is pairing the Scooby gang with a variety of celebrities icons, which dates back to 1972 and The New Scooby-Doo Movies and this concept continue to this day with Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? but with Straight Outta Nowhere our favourite Great Dane finds himself paired, for the first time, with a like-minded canine in the form of Courage the Cowardly Dog, who was the star of his own dark and often surreal horror cartoon.
This crossover mystery begins as the Scooby gang is wrapping up the current case, an evil bank-robbing clown but they don’t quite get to close the case as Scooby (Frank Welker) is suddenly overcome by a strange sensation caused by something only he can hear, this results in Scooby racing off to parts unknown with his panicked friends in hot pursuit. This leads our group of intrepid mystery solvers to the town of Nowhere and a truly bizarre mystery. Those not familiar with Cartoon Network’s Courage the Cowardly Dog should know that the town of Nowhere is a hotbed of weird activities and Courage (Marty Grabstein) and his owners, the sweet and good-natured Muriel Bagge (Thea White) and her crotchety husband Eustace Bagge (Jeff Bergman), frequently encounter a variety of villains such as aliens, demons, mad scientists, zombies, vampires and other such perils involving the paranormal or supernatural, and for this particular adventure, the problem stems from a swarm of giant cicadas, led by an even larger Queen Cicada, that seem to be infesting the area around the Bagge homestead.
Though the whole Scooby gang is on deck to solve this mystery, with Velma (Kate Micucci) providing integral research to uncover the truth, along with Fred (Frank Welker) and Daphne (Grey Griffin) she is mostly on the sidelines here as it’s mostly Shaggy (Matthew Lillard), Courage and Scooby who are front and centre for the bulk of this direct-to-video outing. That this story takes place in the town of Nowhere skews the mystery more into the realm of the bizarre and unusual, there will be no unmasking of Confederate ghosts or real estate scams being uncovered in this movie because even though the movie does end with an unmasking it’s of the sort that fans of Courage the Cowardly Dog will be more accustomed to rather than that Scooby-Doo fans. But what fans of both shows can appreciate is that this is another great-looking film from Warner Bros. Animation and the blend of traditional Scooby-Doo designs with that of the more surreal and stylistic type of animation found in Courage the Cowardly Dog makes this entry a visual feast, and when our heroes encounter a “Dark Matter Meteorite,” one that has reality-altering properties, it’s the viewers who will be in for a real treat.
• The movie starts with a cold open which finds the gang after they have apprehended a clown that looks a little like Pennywise from Stephen King’s IT.
• Eustace Bagge calls the Scooby gang “Meddling kids” thus making him the first non-criminal to make that accusation.
• Fred, Velma, Daphne and Shaggy all fail to see Scooby and Courage fighting a giant hairy monster in the sink despite the encounter taking place mere feet away and right in front of them. Did the gang suddenly become blind or have they become too blasé when it comes to monsters?
• Over the last little while Fred has become more and more obsessed with the Mystery Machine yet somehow Daphne was able to install a nitrous booster without him noticing.
• When the name “Frau Glockenspiel” is uttered lightning flashes and a hear a horse whinny, which was a nice nod to Frau Blücher’s character from Young Frankenstein.
• While stumbling across an underground chamber the gang is caught in an anti-gravity field but when they decide to leave, they simply float down to the ground, but who cut off that ant-gravity field?
• The gang receives a dinner invite from the Mayor of Nowhere but when they arrive, he denies sending it, and whom or why this invitation was sent is never explained because not even the Scooby gang knew they were coming to the town of Nowhere.
A nice little element introduced into this movie is the idea of Shaggy and Scooby using a “Self-Help” ap on their phone in an attempt to end their constant cowardice and when it informs them “Courage isn’t the absence of fear, true courage is taking action in the face of fear” it’s a nice reveal that for over five decades of mystery and terror these two have never failed to return for more, that is real courage. If that doesn’t make them the bravest pair in the world I don’t what does and then with the teaming up with Courage the Cowardly Dog, you’ve got a match made in heaven as this trio plays off each other perfectly.
Now, there isn’t really a straightforward mystery to be found in Straight Outta Nowhere as the story is more in the wheelhouse of the bizarre adventures found in episodes of Courage the Cowardly Dog rather than that of Scooby-Doo and the gang, in fact, the reveal at the end of this movie though fun and clever will certainly make more of an impact with fans of Courage the Cowardly than that of people who have not seen that show, yet people who have not seen even a minute of that Cartoon Network series will still get a kick out of this movie because this outing is simply chock full of the bizarre inventiveness that one could expect from this pairing and the supernatural-type misadventure that follow. Basically, what we find ourselves facing here is a lot more entertaining than the typical “Guy in a Mask” scenario that has been the staple of the Scooby-Doo franchise for decades, which had but a few diverging moments where “The monsters are real” to keep fans on their toes, and the completely out-of-this-world encounters the Scooby gang must face is nothing short of insane and completely hilarious.
It should be noted that Straight Outta Nowhere was originally intended to be just a regular episode of Guess Who Scooby-Doo? but clearly, writer Mike Ryan and the people at Warner Bros. Animation realized such a team-up was worthy of so much more than a quick twenty-minute mystery and the proof is in the pudding as this is not only one of the best Scooby-Doo adventures it’s easily one of the more original and bizarre outings the franchise has offered in years. So, if you are either a fan of Scooby-Doo or Courage the Cowardly Dog do yourself a favour and check this one out.
You can find all my reviews of the various Scooby-Doo shows and movies collected here: The Wonderful World of Scooby-Doo.
Straight Outta Nowhere (2021)
Movie Rank - 8/10
Of all the Scooby-Doo team-ups over the years this one with Courage the Cowardly Dog is certainly one of the better examples, giving us a film that sported superb animation as well as humour that was very on point, and the bonus amounts of weirdness made me smile quite a bit.