New Scooby-Doo movie 'Music of the Vampire' a musical mystery

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Out this week on DVD and Blu-Ray, "Scooby-Doo! Music of the Vampire" delivers a first for Scooby and the Mystery Inc. gang: a chance to sing.

"Scooby-Doo! Music of the Vampire" is the first-ever musical, feature-length movie for the perennial mystery-solving crew.

In the movie, Velma picks the vacation destination for the gang, much to Scooby and Shaggy's chagrin: a vampire festival called Vampire-Palooza set in a Deep South bayou town. Trouble soon erupts when a theater troupe of wannabe vampires summons a real-life blood-sucker, who threatens the festival, the townsfolk and wants Daphne for his Vampire Bride.

On top of all that, Shaggy is nicked by a flying stake and, thinking he's been bitten by a vampire, secludes himself in the swamp, awaiting his immortal fate. But Scooby-Doo, ever the loving pal, won't leave Shaggy's side.

At 78 minutes, the movie isn't too long for younger viewers. My oldest son (nearly 4) loved the pratfalls and physical humor, and laughed out loud several times during the movie. That said, this release may be best suited for older children and tweens. The plotline was a bit complicated and the vampire, Lord Valdrona, was pretty creepy.

While I didn't find the songs that catchy or memorable, my youngest (nearly 2) got up and danced whenever the musical numbers were on. The music was his favorite part.

The visuals in the movie are first-rate, with vivid colors painting the bayou beautifully. Also, the action scenes are among the highlights of the film, with the climactic showdown between the gang and Lord Valdrona being especially intense (Fred's stake-shooting contraption is a hoot).

Special features include a "Scooby-Doo Vampire Sing-A-Long," where kids can sing along to the tunes from the movie.

Available in stores Tuesday, March 13, "Scooby-Doo! Music of the Vampire" is out on DVD ($19.98) or in a Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack ($24.98).

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