Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

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Scooby-Doo okie dokey, if you're a fan

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Read Billy's movie reviews on his special archive page.
By BILLY NORRIS, Xpress Movie Critic

© St. Petersburg Times
published June 17, 2002

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Movie: Scooby-Doo

Rating: PG

Summary: Mystery Inc. has broken up and all of its members have gone their separate ways, but when each one of them receives an invitation to visit Spooky Island Theme Park, they are reluctantly reunited. What they find there is strange -- all the teenagers who arrive as wild and crazy party animals depart in a trancelike state.

The gang quickly realizes there is something evil behind this transformation. Fred (Freddie Prinze Jr.), Velma (Linda Cardellini), Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) and our favorite canine-hero, Scooby-Doo, must overcome their personal conflicts and work together to shine some light on who is behind all this evil.

My view: The creators of this film definitely did a good job bringing to life the original cartoon, which made its debut in 1969. First of all, the actors portrayed the characters exactly as they look in the cartoons. They captured everything from the small-screen version, from wardrobe to hair color, to personalities and relationships. The mix of live-action characters with the computer generated Scooby-Doo really worked well here. Scooby-Doo's action and movements made him look like he was really a live character. He had physical depth, and even his fur had texture. I don't think this was an awesome, "better-than-anything-I've-ever-seen-before" movie, but I do think this was a little better than average rendering of the original cartoon. The plot was pretty shallow, but then again, what do you expect? This is Scooby-Doo.

Favorite part: Even though this is definitely a kids' movie, some of the humor is aimed directly at the adults who were kids during Scooby's early run, and that kept the film from being totally juvenile.

Recommendations: Of course, all kids are going to love this film no matter what, and fans of the cartoon will, too. But, if you aren't really big on the cartoon, this film probably won't do much for you.

Grade: C+

Billy Norris, 14, will be in the ninth grade at Seminole High School, and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

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