‘Scooby-Doo: WrestleMania Mystery’ Is The Greatest Film Of Our Generation [Review]
I'm afraid I have some bad news for the roughly 6.5 billion of you who are not Chris Sims: It turns out that they're just producing media for me now. I know, I was surprised too, but how else do you explain the actual existence of Scooby-Doo: WrestleMania Mystery, a feature-length, direct-to-video film in which the gang from Mystery, Incorporated and their talking dog team up with the superstars of World Wrestling Entertainment in order to battle a demon bear who wants to steal the WWE Championship?
There's no other explanation. I have somehow become the exact target market for at least two companies to join forces and spend a lot of money ensuring that a Scooby-Doo/WWE crossover is something that actually exists. Not that I'm complaining, you understand -- I've been excited about this thing since they announced it last year, and now that I've finally seen it, I can confirm that it is amazing in every sense of the word.
This isn't the first time that everyone's favorite meddling kids and their talking dog have teamed up with real-life celebrities -- this was actually pretty common back in the '70s, when they'd hang out with country music star Jerry Reed, the Harlem Globetrotters and Batman -- but it's definitely the weirdest. In fact, now that I'm thinking about everything I just watched, it might actually be the single strangest movie that I've ever seen.
I genuinely considered making this review just a straight-up list of every insane moment in this movie, because it starts early and does not let up 'til we're watching the closing credits. In fact, the first thing I had to pause and write down happened 43 seconds in, when we're introduced to the setting of the movie, WWE City, in the form of a gigantic Triple H-shaped billboard that welcomes people to town with a speech that is way too long for anyone who would be driving by to hear.
Also, this opening features the Miz jogging while listening to his own intro music, before being literally backhanded out of his clothes by a demon bear, which alone would put it in my pantheon of favorite films:
Incidentally, it turns out that the Miz is actually a pretty solid voice actor. I mean, I probably should've expected that since he is, after all, the star of both The Marine 3 and The Marine 4, but still, it was a pleasant surprise. He and AJ Lee are far and away the best of the wrestlers who provided their own voices, outshining John Cena -- ostensibly the star of the show -- by a fair bit. The real surprise is that Triple H is actually kind of terrible at it. Everything he says sounds like it was recorded for the voice chip in one of those stuffed wrestlers that says a catchphrase whenever you bop it on the nose, but, you know, he's a busy guy.
Anyway, all of that is beside the point, which is: WWE City.
The premise of this movie is that WWE has their own city -- possibly a small sovereign nation, I have no idea and it is never addressed as its very existence is taken as a given by everyone involved -- full of WWE-related businesses, including an arena that seems to host every WWE event, including WrestleMania. This is the single least believable thing about the movie, and I am including the talking, mystery-solving dog in that statement. Just the logistics of it defy any explanation, both in the story and in terms of how it came about in the writing process. I mean, would it be that weird to just explain that WWE was planning events in Crystal Cove (or Coolsville, for those of you who adhere to the heretical live-action movie continuity)? Instead, I've been sitting here all night trying to puzzle out the process of Vince McMahon buying a massive, unincorporated parcel of land and then deciding that his employees should live and train in a quarry with a gigantic carving of the WWE Championship etched into the side of a mountain. Not that I think he wouldn't do it if it were possible, you understand.
On the other hand, this beautiful vision of McMahon's Waffle House (complete with waffle-shaped roof) and Tombstone Tacos have made WWE City the new leader in fictional locations I want to go to and never leave. Suck it, Hogwarts.
With the setting firmly established, we get to the plot, which is that WWE City is being menaced by a demon bear. But not just any demon bear -- a demon bear that is actually the ghost of a monstrous wrestling bear named Vicious defeated in a wrestling match on that spot generations ago by Sin Cara Grande, the ancestor of the current Sin Cara:
This is going to sound like I'm making this up, but I promise that I'm not, and if you don't want spoilers for the most insane story of the year, stop now and go buy this thing digitally toute de suite: The story of the original bear and its defeat is related to the Scooby Gang by Sin Cara, whose appearances are always accompanied by Spanish guitar and whip-cracks, but who does not speak. Instead, he communicates solely through interpretive acrobatics, which are translated for the benefit of the audience by John Cena, who fortunately "speaks masked luchador." Now, this ghost-bear is allegedly back for revenge, just in time to disrupt a WrestleMania main event that will crown a new WWE Champion after Kane's unsuccessful attempt at winning the title.
So how does Mystery Inc. get involved? Well, Scooby and Shaggy are playing a WWE video game that does not require a controller (I guess it's a Kinect thing) while cosplaying as John Cena and Sin Cara, and they not only win on the most difficult setting, Scooby -- a dog -- completes a victory dance and wins a trip to WrestleMania for himself and his four closest friends. But! The victory dance video game challenge was actually secret hypnotic conditioning that was designed to trick a sleepwalking Scooby into stealing the WWE Championship so that it could be replaced by an EMP device that the demon bear was going to use to shut down the entire event on the most important night of the year!
This, just so we are clear on this, means that there is a scene in this movie where John Cena explains what an electromagnetic pulse is to both the characters and the audience. If that dude doesn't host the next season of Cosmos, then we are losing out.
Also, this happens.
So! Who are our suspects? Well, aside from the wrestlers who appear in the film, including Brodus Clay, AJ Lee, Triple H, Santino and Kane (who does not get unmasked by Velma in the most disappointing plot development of the year), along with Vince McMahon and real-life WWE announcer Michael Cole (who, true to his real-life counterpart, refers to a Fujiwara armbar as a headscissors takedown), we have a pretty good roster of possible demon bears. Bayard, a gun-toting, sketchy hillbilly hell-bent on driving people away from "the beast" that is WWE City, Ms. Richardson, a WWE executive whose career is on the line if WrestleMania doesn't go exactly as planned, Cookie, a former wrestler and trainer who injured his knee and had to give up on his dreams, and Ruben, a trainee who is good at "computers" with a dream to become "The Bone-Bender" (literally the worst pro wrestling name I have ever heard in my life), and who has the most genuinely terrifying line in the entire film:
"I got an outfit that I made out of spandex and bones! Real bones! That I ordered off the Internet!"
He is not kidding.
I have to admit, director Brandon Vietti and writer Michael Ryan have done a pretty fantastic job of this one. Vietti in particular has finally created a crossover that has redeemed him for the lackluster and disappointing The Batman vs. Dracula. The mystery isn't exactly edge-of-the-seat stuff, but it is a step above the usual Scooby-Doo DTV movies, and considering how much they have to do to incorporate this completely bonkers premise that they're dealing with, it's infinitely fascinating (to me). There wasn't a five minute stretch of this film where something didn't happen that made me want to grab a screenshot and show to everyone I know. Like, say, this.
Please add Daphne Blake to the next season of Total Divas. Don't even explain it. Just Roger Rabbit her right in there.
WrestleMania Mystery is out on DVD next week (just in time for the real-life WrestleMania, which takes place in New Orleans this year and not in some neon soaked company town, for better or for worse), but if, like me, you cannot wait to experience it, it's also up on iTunes for download now, at a slightly heftier price.