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  Scooby-Doo! And Kiss: Rock 'n' Roll Mystery Made For Merchandising You
Year: 2015
Director: Spike Brandt, Tony Cervone
Stars: Frank Welker, Mindy Cohn, Grey Griffin, Matthew Lillard, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Eric Singer, Tommy Thayer, Garry Marshall, Penny Marshall, Doc McGhee, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Pauley Perrette, Rachel Ramras, Darius Rucker
Genre: Comedy, Animated, Science Fiction, Adventure, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Something is afoot at the KISS theme park, and it's not a concert. There have been complaints about the rollercoaster when the photos taken on there for the customers are not up to snuff, so two workers are trying it out, but when they do they are suddenly assailed by the Scarlet Witch, who flies around them in terrifying manner, spraying a noxious red gas at them, roaring "I want rock!" When their boss finds out, he gets on the telephone to whoever can help, for the last thing he wants is the fun-seekers scared away, and the team who show up are Scooby-Doo (voiced by Frank Welker), a Great Dane, and his human helpers. They're sure to get to the bottom of the mystery...

In between the seemingly endless runs of Scooby-Doo series, Warners, who took over the brand from Hanna-Barbera, released a number of one-off "movies" for television and video which help in keeping the now-classic characters in circulation. This particular effort was the concoction of producers and directors Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone, who had been responsible for the Scooby-Doo: Monsters Inc series, a couple of seasons that took the mystery-solving concept of the original 1969 show and made something truly superb out of it, not only making new fans out of the youngsters who caught it but bringing back the "old" fans too who appreciated its quality.

Indeed, there were many who observed Monsters Inc was one of the greatest cartoons of its era, which would generate the same kind of interest in this, Brandt and Cervone's last hurrah with the characters before passing on the mantle to the makers of the more broadly comedic Be Cool, Scooby-Doo the following year. However, while it was perfectly serviceable as one of the adventures that did get released on the small screen as specials, it was not exactly the grand finale fans of Monsters Inc may have wanted, though you could see what they were getting at, the seventies specials where the producers hired celebrity voices like The Harlem Globetrotters.

KISS were certainly minor icons of the seventies and you can imagine this was the thinking, making up for the fact they were not given their chance for their own animated special back then - though they were given the semi-legendary vehicle KISS meets the Phantom of the Park, which curiously also featured a haunted theme park as this does. That was so bad it was funny, but Rock 'n' Roll Mystery was intentionally amusing, with proper jokes, some of which landed a laugh or two, though there was something somewhat corporate in the relentless plugging of the band as a brand which undercut the entertainment factor, no matter how many gags about KISS's obsession with marketing their merchandise there were. The way that Daphne (Grey Griffin) fawned over lead singer Paul Stanley was also offputting.

It smacked of wish-fulfilment: for Stanley, rather than Daphne, and flogging a bunch of ageing rockers to the youth of America, nay, the world, complete with recognisable tunes such as I Was Made for Loving You, Detroit Rock City and er, Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight (?) left the whole thing more appropriate to the kids' parents, or indeed grandparents by the time this was released. There was a KISS comic way back when, which presumably inspired the latter, more science fictional part of the plot where Scooby and the gang are sent out into a very seventies concept of life on other cosmic planets, which was all very well but not really what you watched Scooby-Doo for, though the running joke with him and Shaggy getting frightened by Gene Simmons did garner one big laugh. But the way that Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes were also guest stars told you everything you needed to know.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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