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  Directed by
  • Full Frame
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
    English, English - Hearing Impaired
  • 2 Teaser trailer - Scooby Doo Meets the Boo Brothers, Scooby Doo Greatest Mysteries
  • Music video
  • Behind the scenes footage

Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost

Warner Bros./Warner Home Video . R4 . COLOR . 67 mins . G . PAL


30 years have passed since the original television series was aired, bringing those meddling kids of Mystery, Inc. and their darn dog to audiences all around the world. Since then there have been more series', videos and live-action films made, with Warner Bros. Movie World on the Gold Coast the home of the Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster – a unique coaster that can only be found in Australia that is a slick ride, combining a rollercoaster, ghost train and a disco into one sensory attraction. But anyway, The Witch’s Ghost...

This adventure, even though it is 30 years after the original series was aired, captures the essence of Mystery, Inc. and the formula of Scooby Doo, where are you?, but redraws the characters using the latest technology and style. The animation has a Manga type feel to it, especially around the panning movements, facial expressions, animations and fine details of the faces. It’s like watching a hybrid of Astro Boy and Scooby-Doo. But don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad thing - far from it. The animation is clean and detailed, and is simply a delight to watch.


While the gang are solving a mystery, they find themselves in a dangerous place, only to discover that Ben Ravencroft, a horror writer, was nearby and able to save the day. Ben invites Mystery, Inc. to the huge Autumn Harvest Festival, but Shaggy and Scooby suddenly get the shivers when they find out that this place is haunted by Sarah Ravencroft, a distant ancestor of Ben. Knowing that she was wrongfully accused of being a witch, Ben has brought Mystery, Inc. here to help find out what really happened to her. But there’s more in this New England town that meets the eye, including walking pumpkins, giant turkeys, flying ghosts and suspicious townsfolk. But who is going to solve this mystery? Ah, that’s easy, the only guarantee in this franchise is that Mystery, Inc. will always be there to solve a mystery.


This direct-to-video production is presented in a full-frame aspect, so is sadly not anamorphically enhanced. Even without this enhancement, this 1999 production is a real beauty. The opening sequence sheds a few signs of posterisation, but thankfully this is the last we see of this nasty compression artefact. Colours are bright, solid and show no sign of bleeding, giving the characters a bold look, with each tone equally as striking as the next. Film artefacts are absent, as is film grain, resulting in a super-slick, sharp image. The only gripe really is from the lack of anamorphic enhancement, resulting in a few minor cases of some jagged lines, but hey, this guy has seen much worse.


Given to us with a sole listening option, the English Dolby Digital 5.1 track is well-suited to the mood of the film. Dialogue is clear from the centre channel, in synch (well close enough anyway) with the character’s movements and audible throughout. Surround action, while not as discrete as it possibly could be, still sounds great, providing ambience and the odd effect to create a rather broad and enveloping soundstage. Bass levels are really nice throughout, and when required give that lovely tummy-rumbling effect, just a slight reminder of why you spent the money on that woofing box. Music-wise, the theme song is sung by none other than Billy Ray Cyrus. Yeah, hmm, OK - not sure where that came from, but oh well. Two tracks are sung during the film by The Hex Girls featuring Jane Wiedlin of The Go Go’s, which are catchy enough for pop songs but no chart toppers. After all, it is direct-to-video.


A small collection of extra features can be found from the anamorphically enhanced menus, of which the main menu features background audio. First up is a brief, at 2:58, Making of Witch’s Ghost, spelt incorrectly on the slick, which features interviews from the cast, and a commentary by Shaggy and Scooby. This is quite entertaining for what it’s worth, and has some good clips of the other cast members impersonating Scooby, looking like absolute fools at the same time too. Next up is a 1:11 music video of the Scooby Doo theme song with Billy Ray Cyrus as well as Hex Girl sung by the Hex Girls. The previous feature was entertaining in a funny light while this is funny in a really bad and corny light - for 1999, the special effects are just so '80s - *shudder*

Completing the collection are two trailers, the first, running for 1:02, is for Scooby-Doo Greatest Mysteries and the second, running for 0:56, is for Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers. Just some promotion for other Scooby-Doo titles. The inclusion of these extras is always welcome, but there is very little worth watching in this bunch, bar the impersonations in the making-of. They still make me laugh...


Three years before Scooby-Doo made it to the big screen in a live action adventure came The Witch’s Ghost, which has reinvented the characters with the latest animation techniques while still hanging on to the magic of Mystery, Inc. The transfer is neatly presented, and much better than expected, but the extras do fall a little short of the mark, especially for a 1999 film. Fans of Scooby-Doo will love having this disc in their collection, and if the kids are bored next school holidays, grab this disc for a bit of fun – how can you go wrong with Scooby Dooby Dooooooooo?!

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      And I quote...
    "Scooby Dooby Doo, where are you? You’ve got a new movie to ‘view now..."
    - Martin Friedel
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-NS530
    • TV:
          Sharp SX76NF8 76cm Widescreen
    • Receiver:
          Sony HT-SL5
    • Speakers:
          Sony SS-MSP2
    • Centre Speaker:
          Sony SS-CNP2
    • Surrounds:
          Sony SS-MSP2
    • Subwoofer:
          Sony SA-WMSP3
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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