I have always been a huge Scooby Doo fan. It is great fun with funny jokes and writing, endearing characters and a sense of mystery that is quite infectious. Big Top Scooby Doo! is one of the best Scooby Doo movies alongside Witch's Ghost, Zombie Island and Goblin King. In fact there isn't a Scooby Doo movie I intensely dislike, even my personal least favourite Monster of Mexico had its moments. Back to Big Top Scooby Doo!, I knew I was in for a treat when I got the DVD from Amazon and I was right.
The animation, a nice mix of the What's New Scooby Doo?, Mystery Incorporated and the classic Scooby Doo styles, is colourful and fluid. Yet when there are more haunting and mysterious parts there is a darker visual style that was most fitting. The music is both catchy and rousing and never feels too much. The writing has hilarious jokes, so much so I was in danger of missing a few from laughing so much, and witty dialogue, that sticks true mostly to the Scooby Doo that I know and love. Only Velma's tensing up joke came across as awkward but don't let it put you off too much. The story has its fair share of almost scary(but never enough to traumatise anybody) and entertaining moments. And it further benefits from a wonderful mystery that is quite suspenseful, with a setting that brings a fair bit of nostalgia for me and a very convincing werewolf, that exudes menace. The train chase sequence was one of the best of any Scooby Doo movie as well.
Not only that, the feel of the film is close in feel to Scooby Doo Where Are You, no dating awkwardness or stereotypes like bumbling sheriffs or wacky parents, just feel-good and funny, in a somewhat corny but endearing sort of way, Scooby Doo. The identity of the villain does get obvious, but the twist that the film includes is completely satisfying.
Big Top! Scooby Doo has some very entertaining moments that will delight any Scooby Doo fan. Daphne's motorcycle racing is amazing, possibly the coolest thing she has done in a long time, while Fred with the trapeze and Velma being shot through the air as a human cannonball are just as delightful. Daphne, Fred and Velma are the most likable they've been in a while, while Shaggy- who has never been as smart as he is here- and Scooby never fail to bring a smile to my face and their friendship is quite affecting. The voice acting is just great, Matthew Lillard had big shoes to fill and he does a good job, goofy and likable. Frank Welker has still got it as Fred and his Scooby voice continues to grow on me. Grey DeLisle and Mindy Cohn(who is much better than she is in Music of the Vampire) are also fine, as are the rest of the cast.
All in all, a great Scooby Doo film. It is not as good as the original show, or The Scooby Doo Show or The New Scooby Doo Movies, but of the animated direct to video movies it is one of the best and I'd say almost on par. 9/10 Bethany Cox