HBO Max’s Velma is a very good time

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still who film
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film It launches with a strong narrative that clearly makes it clear that this is not a clone of the Scooby-Doo characters audiences are already familiar with. “I am Velma Dinkley, and this is my origin story,” Mindy Kaling’s voiceover announces as the first episode begins. She continues, “Usually, the original stories are about tall, handsome guys struggling with the burden of having more power. And if they’re about girls, it’s usually like this: Hey, what made this hot girl go crazy?” Quite right, of course, but it’s a vivid take on the story genre film strive for I say. Thankfully, it’s told amusingly, even if the show tends to fall into the same YA tropes it’s trying to mock.

HBO Max’s animated comedy recontextualizes the four humans who would eventually go on to create Mystery Inc. and adopt the famous Great Dane. (Since it’s a prequel, the show doesn’t have Scooby-Doo yet.) at its best, film is the coming-of-age tale of the titular star alongside Daphne (Constance Wu), Fred (Glenn Howerton), and shaggy Norville (Sam Richardson). It’s a frothy mix of murder mystery and soapy teen drama that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The eight episodes out of the 10 watched for the review are under 30 minutes each, so film It boasts a well-structured narrative with in-jokes, suspense, interconnecting plot lines, well-developed relationships rather than the “case of the week” format, and many antics of monster antics.

At worst, the show doesn’t feel entirely fresh despite approaching the beloved characters in a distinct light. The animation style isn’t all that special either, but at least it feels like a clear homage to the animation that inspired it. film It calls for comparisons of everything from Harley Quinn to Riverdalefrom supernatural King Kaling I haven’t done it before. In fact, the similarities between Velma and NHIEDavey is often distraught: two charming, selfish teens bond over the loss of a parent, and grief becomes a powerful motivator for their actions.

As with any Kaling-produced TV series, including Mindy Project And The sex lives of college girlsAnd The writing here is sharp and full of banter. film It will leave a pleasant impression if you are already a fan of this other content. The show thrives on mile-a-minute jokes, but they don’t all land equally. Expect a slew of pop culture references. (Less than two minutes into the pilot, the gestures—whether subtle or obvious—returnedRiverdaleAnd The wonderful Mrs. MaiselAnd House of liesAnd And this is just the beginning.) The show clearly caters to viewers interested in the zeitgeist.

There’s a general but fun mystery or two underneath the loud lines. Velma is trying to find her missing mother, Diya (Sarayu Blue), who disappeared two years ago. She is convinced that something terrible happened to her mother. Her father, Aman (Russell Peters), thinks Zia has abandoned her, so he moves in with local diner waitress/owner Sophie (delightfully acidic Melissa Fumero). Velma is pathologically obsessed with finding out what happened to Diya, so she usually ignores people unless they are helpful in her quest. The suspense deepens when a masked serial killer begins targeting popular girls at Crystal Cove High. Naturally, this puts Daphne in serious danger.

Don’t worry, because Daphne is more than just a damsel in distress. It’s basically the second lead, perfectly expressed by Wu with a mixture of menace and vulnerability. Adopted by a gay couple (played by Jane Lynch and Wanda Sykes), Daphne sets out to find out more about her parents as the season unfolds. The show’s remarkable contribution to the Scooby-Doo tradition is the development of Velma and Daphne’s charismatic dynamic. They go from childhood companions to frenemies to a potential romance without a hitch.

movie | Official teaser | HBO Max

Despite the action and gore (a killer slices their victims’ heads open, a unique mansion hides creepy secrets, etc.), the show’s driving force is its nuanced characterization. After it was announced that Kaling was developing filmAnd
Longtime fans criticized the character’s portrayal as a bisexual South Asian teen rather than, well, how we’ve known her for decades. Plus, Daphne is Asian too, and Norville is black (not a foolish guy without his pet dog/BFF yet). So, yes, film Takes creative liberties. But it is not used for surface noise. We’re still getting the “Jinkies!” origin story! and Mystery Inc. van. The ethnicity of the main characters is not characteristic; It adds unexplored layers to a known world.

In this case, the world of Crystal Cove is cartoonish and wholesome at the same time. All four children struggle with their personal relationships – Velma has a crush on Daphne and Fred, and remains oblivious to Norville’s affection for her. They deal with complex parent-child issues film materialize slowly. The seriousness is balanced with plenty of self-referential humor, sometimes exasperatingly so, but mostly it works as a fun ride.

filmSuspense doesn’t take over on its own, but it doesn’t matter. The vocal performances make the short lulls worth it. The cast clearly have a ball, as the warm chemistry between Kaling, Waugh, Richardson, and Howerton shines through despite not appearing on screen. The supporting cast is equally charming, including Yvonne Orji and Fortune Femister as the hot mean girls at school. this is not film We are used to it, but it is film We deserve to have fun today.

film It will premiere on HBO Max with two episodes on January 12th

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