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Film / Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins

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Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins is a 2009 made-for-TV film directed by Brian Levant, produced by Warner Premiere and distributed by Warner Home Video. It stars Frank Welker as the voice of Scooby, Nick Palatas as Shaggy, Kate Melton as Daphne, Hayley Kiyoko as Velma and Robbie Amell as Fred.

This film shows the first mystery ever solved by Scooby-Doo and his friends and how they first met and befriended one another.


  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • Fred is normally a blonde but in this movie as well as the sequel he has black hair. A deleted scene from the 2002 movie reveals that he dyed his hair.
    • Much like the theatrical films, Velma's hair is dark brown instead of auburn like in the cartoons.
  • Alternate Continuity: The film is a separate canon from the previous two live-action films.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The film ends with them solving the mystery of the Black Knight.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Scooby is a friendly Great Dane.
  • Blatant Lies: Shaggy tried to use some to avoid admitting being Book Dumb. The list included: being born in a leap year; too tall for his age...
  • Book Dumb: Shaggy was held back a year twice. He had to admit it when he told his friends he already had a driver's license.
  • Brick Joke: The gang gets detention after they start a fight on the school bus, which led to the driver crashing into the flag pole which then broke Grimes' new car. When the gang officially gets to bury the time capsule, Shaggy accidentally throws his shovel onto the car, breaking it again. At least this time Grimes is more forgiving.
  • Canine Companion: Scooby and Shaggy become inseparable after they first meet. Shaggy even tries to sneak him onto the school bus.
  • Chekhov's Hobby: Principal Deedle tells Shaggy that his hobby is collecting misprinted stamps. This turns out to be his motive as the Specter: inside the time capsule is the eerie stamp, the most valuable misprinted stamp of all time.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Fred's attempt at small-talk leads to this.
    Fred: So, the Bears really slaughtered those Dolphins last night, huh?
    Shaggy: What? That's terrible! Who in their right mind would bring bears to the beach?
  • Cobweb Jungle: The gang run through one while escaping the ghosts underground.
  • Cowardly Lion: Scooby tackles the Specter for trying to blow up the gang with dynamite.
  • Dean Bitterman: Vice Principal Grimes
  • Despite the Plan: Subverted. The gang's attempt to catch the Specter allows him to get the time capsule and nearly gets them killed.
  • Dramatic Unmask: "Principal Deedle?!"
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After facing suspension and expulsion, our heroes are commended for bringing the Specter to justice.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Lampshaded by Velma. When Scooby tries to find the source of the ghosts, she claims that there is evidence of dogs being able to detect paranormal phenomenon.
  • Exact Words: When they were told they mustn't be seen anywhere near Coolsville High, Daphne emphasized on they to suggest disguises. Shaggy thought she was suggesting using some invisibility serum.
  • The Faceless: Shaggy's mother is briefly seen, but only as legs at the top of the basement stairs.
  • Food as Bribe: During the epilogue, Shaggy offered (and named) Scooby Snacks to convince Scooby to join the gang in further mysteries.
  • Garbage Hideout: After the gang is expelled from school, they use disguises to continue investigating. Shaggy and Scooby go as walking trashcans. Of course, the vice principal ends up throwing trash into Shaggy's bin.
  • The Glomp: Scooby does this to Shaggy after they solve the mystery.
  • Guilty Until Someone Else Is Guilty: The gang are accused of intentionally disrupting the school pep-rally and of vandalizing it during their late-night break-in. Though they're innocent, they're suspended and then expelled for it, forcing them to investigate and find the real culprit. After they catch their principal in disguise as Specter and he gets arrested, they're finally allowed back in the school.
  • Held Back in School: Shaggy reveals that he flunked a couple of grades. He's clearly embarrassed by it, but it also means that he's the only one with a driver's license, and legally able to drive the brand new Mystery Machine they just acquired.
  • Heroes With Bad Publicity: Thinking the "ghosts" are elaborate pranks, Bitterman blames the gang and suspends them. When an investigation attempt leads to severe property damage, Bitterman expels them.
  • Hidden Depths: The bitter janitor wants to be a dancing star.
  • Honor Before Reason: When Bitterman catches Scooby and Shaggy in the freezer, he asks if Fred, Daphne and Velma were on school grounds the previous night as well. Shaggy lies, but the others step forward anyway.
  • I Am One of Those, Too: A scene involves Velma sneaking around an office in the school's library while she's looking for evidence. When the librarian walks in and demands to know what she was doing, she pretends to be a lost exchange student from Russia. Guess who once went to Moscow and learned Russian.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: During the gang's first visit to Shaggy's place, he gives Daphne and Fred what would become Scooby Snacks. When the two ask what are they made of, Shaggy mentions he added dog food for texture, prompting them to spit it out.
  • I Have Your Dog: The Specter forces the gang to search for the time capsule by taking Scooby hostage.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Shaggy is Type B. He's rather lonely, but doesn't let on how much it depresses him.
  • Jerk Jock: One keeps harassing Shaggy on the bus. Scooby later bites him for it.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Grimes apologizes to the gang for misjudging them, saying he just loves the school a lot.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: Fred's attempt to do this early on gets him yelled at ("Who put you in charge?", "You just wanna go with the hot girl," etc.) Otherwise played straight, though.
  • Lovable Jock: Fred. He chastises his teammate for picking on Shaggy, though he doesn't actually try to stop it either, until the next time.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: While investigating the library incognito, Velma runs into the librarian and pretends to be a Russian exchange student. When trying to respond to the librarian's Russian, she states "Yes. It would be unfortunate if you didn't have a nose." Fortunately, the librarian takes it as a joke, and laughs.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Between the epilogue and the end credits, the theme song for What's New, Scooby-Doo? played, as well as a clip parodying the intro of that series and other Scooby-Doo ones.
    • One of the ghosts Shaggy summons in the climax looks like Miner '49-er from the cartoon.
    • The van that will become the Mystery Machine has a bobble-head figurine of Huckleberry Hound, another Hanna-Barbera cartoon character.
    • Daphne mentions having a butler among her staff. In A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, she has a butler named Jenkins whom she would summon occasionally.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: If Deedle hadn't pushed Shaggy to find some friends, the gang never would've gotten together and solved the mystery.
  • Odd Friendship: Mystery, Inc.. The only common interest they share is mystery books.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Lampshaded. Upon meeting Scooby, Shaggy notes his real name is Norville, but most everyone calls him by his nickname. Shaggy also feels that "Scooby" has a better sound to it than "Scobert."
  • Origins Episode: The film serves as a possible origin story for Mystery, Inc. by showing how the gang first met and how they solved their first mystery.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: The two ghosts haunting the school are transparent, can fly and look zombified. These ghosts are real, and Shaggy accidentally raises dozens more by reading the wrong spell.
  • Race Lift: Velma is portrayed by the half-Japanese Hayley Kiyoko.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The band of heroes were: a Jock, a sweet girl, a smart girl, a Big Eater and a cowardly dog. No, not that cowardly dog.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Deedle or so it seems.
  • Red Herring: The librarian and the janitor are considered because they hate their jobs, but they're quickly eliminated. Grimes in particular is set up as this.
  • Retcon: The origin of the Mystery Machine. In What's New, Scooby-Doo?, it originally belonged to a musical group known as "The Mystery Kids" and was already painted the way most fans got used to see. In this movie, it belonged to Daphne's parents, who kept it for their gardener to use. It was still a plain green van. Considering there are multiple stories of how the gang met (let alone how they got the van), it's much better to assume this is more of an Alternate Continuity.
  • Scary Librarian: The school librarian makes no secret of how much she hates working there. She does like being a librarian, as she takes a university position.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: Subverted. The Specter is really Deedle, but the ghosts are real.
  • Shout-Out: The plot kickstarts when the pre-Scooby gang - a brain (Velma), a basket case (Shaggy), an athlete (Fred) and a princess (Daphne) - get detention.
  • Stepford Smiler: Shaggy is generally a positive guy, but he tries not to let on how lonely he feels.
  • The Summation
  • Talking Animal: Scooby is obviously a talking dog as usual.
  • Team Hand-Stack: Subverted when Shaggy tries this and is told the moment isn't right. Played straight during the ending.
  • True Companions
  • Wiper Start: When Shaggy tries to start the car, he activates the wipers.
  • You Meddling Kids: Principal Deedle states in the end that he would've gotten what he wanted were it not for "you meddling kids and your dog".