Straight Outta Nowhere: Scooby-Doo Meets Courage the Cowardly Dog is a 2021 American animated comedy horror film. In Nowhere, Kansas, Scooby and the gang discover a strange object and encounter Courage and his owners, Eustace and Muriel Bagge.
Produced and directed by Cecilia Aranovich (Scooby-Doo: Return to Zombie Island; Scooby-Doo! and the Curse of the 13th Ghost; DC Super Hero Girls: Legends of Atlantis) from a screenplay written by Michael Ryan. Executive produced by Sam Register.
“An original animated feature so exciting it’s scratching at the door! Comedy is unleashed when Scooby-Doo, your favourite mystery-solving mutt, teams up for the first time with Courage the Cowardly Dog.
The canine colleagues sniff out a strange object in the middle of Nowhere, Kansas, the backwoods hometown of Courage and his owners, Eustace and Muriel Bagge. Soon, the mysterious discovery puts them on the trail of a giant cicada monster and her wacky winged warriors. Fred, Velma, Daphne and Shaggy know that this job is too big for a flyswatter.
They’ll need the help of the doggy duo to piece together the puzzle. Can Scooby and Courage overcome their jitters and defeat the insect army before the whole world bugs out? Try not to get scared. We double-dog dare you!”
In one particularly inspired episode of the revenant Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? American cartoon series, which has been keeping the Hanna Barbera franchise going since 1969, the familiar crew of the Mystery Machine had a special crossover half-hour with a virtually forgotten competing ghost-chasing-cartoon-with-a-dog series from the early ’70s “The Funky Phantom” – also a Hanna Barbera property.
The company literally had no shame ripping themselves off, and the new-generation writers did a long-overdue subversive spin on that. Although viewers were spared the pleasure of the Funky Phantom ensemble (and writers) sent to prison where all the other old Scooby-Do villains land. They are not that edgy.
In Straight Outta Nowhere, an entire cartoon feature goes to pairing the vintage-1960s Scooby characters with the ensemble from an entirely different cartoon dogs-and-monsters franchise, Courage the Cowardly Dog a hit on the Cartoon Network from 1999-2002 and from the workshop of animator John Dilworth, not Bill Hanna/Joseph Barbera.
The results are a wild marriage of the time-honored Hanna Barbera tropes (which, admittedly, have gotten a little cleverer over the last fifty years – even drab American cartoons are not immune to laws of evolution) with Courage animator Dilworth’s more outlandish humor and jagged drawing style. Could Scooby vs. Ren and Stimpy be far off?
The Mystery Machine group are unmasking a giant humanoid insect as the fraudulent “Bee Man of Alcatraz” when Scooby suffers a strange trance/seizure, hearing some kind of rhythmic pulse. This sends the crime-solving teenagers of Mystery Inc. to Nowhere, Kansas, home to Courage the Cowardly Dog and his elderly owners Eustace and Muriel – who, in the series big joke, are completely oblivious that their loyal dog constantly fights off monsters on their behalf.
Courage is also being jarred by the odd frequency, and straightaway the whole ensemble are terrorized by giant mutant cicada insects and other cthonic horrors. A descent beneath the Earth to confront even bigger and more monstrous bugs is extremely trippy, and Courage fans get to learn the ostensible reason for all the creatures and aliens who have bedevilled Nowhere during the Courage the Cowardly Dog programme’s run. A few rather cute musical numbers also get written into the thing.
I am not sure all Courage the Cowardly Dog fans are Scooby-Doo fans or vice versa. For those who are, however, I suppose it does not get much better than this. For the rest of us, well another Scooby antic to cross off the checklist.
For myself, I had fun in fits and starts, could only really take home this: that the Bee Man of Alcatraz is forgotten by the distracted teenagers when Scooby goes into a Scooby-seizure (actually a rather disquieting moment, I am sure all dog owners faced with medical issues will agree). And the Bee Man makes his getaway (though there is a glimpse of him later).
Somebody with more time on their hands than myself must say if this is a series milestone, a nemesis of the Mystery Inc. gang who actually escapes justice. Or did allowing the Funky Phantom Crew to live and become obscure another day count for that somehow?
Charles Cassady Jr., MOVIES and MANIA
” …an incredibly fun, beautifully animated and consistently funny crossover film that fans of both leading dogs definitely won’t want to miss out on or overlook; keeping true to the spirit of both sides for the most part while doing a great job of embracing the best and most compatible traits of each. Straight Outta Nowhere: Scooby-Doo Meets Courage the Cowardly Dog is highly recommended…” 8/10 Screen Connections
In the USA, Straight Outta Nowhere: Scooby-Doo Meets Courage the Cowardly Dog will be released on DVD on September 14, 2021.
Jeff Bergman … Eustace Bagge (voice)
Marty Grabstein … Courage (voice)
Grey Griffin … Daphne Blake (voice)
Matthew Lillard … Shaggy Rogers (voice)
Kate Micucci … Velma Dinkley (voice)
Frank Welker … Scooby-Doo / Fred Jones (voice)
Thea White … Muriel Bagge (voice)
MOVIES and MANIA also says:
Despite superb, imaginative and expressive surreal animation that really is a treat to behold, the plot is vapid and humour is ‘nowhere’ to be seen. This attempt to combine two well-established and appreciated animated franchises smacks of corporate packaging rather than a genuinely inspired idea. On balance, Courage fans will likely appreciate this more than Scooby fans. Casual viewers may well just get bored with the low point being when Eustace raps about being rich.
Adrian J Smith