The Magic Roundabout (film)
|The Magic Roundabout|
The Magic Roundabout
|Directed by||Dave Borthwick
|Produced by||Claude Gorsky
|Screenplay by||Paul B. Davies|
|Story by||Raolf Sanoussi
|Based on||The Magic Roundabout
by Serge Danot
William H. Macy
|Music by||Mark Thomas|
|Edited by||Mathieu Morfin|
|Distributed by||Pathé (France/UK)
The Weinstein Company (USA)
|Running time||85 minutes|
The Magic Roundabout (released in France as Pollux - Le manège enchanté) is a 2005 French-British computer-animated adventure fantasy film based on the television series of the same name. The film was also released in the United States in 2006 as Doogal, with a separate cast, modified dialogue and a truncated plot.
The film begins as the wizard Zebedee, a red jack-in-the-box-like creature, is chased by the evil blue jack-in-the-box Zeebad. He woke up only to have a bad dream. The film then starts when Dougal sneaks around the carousel. He goes so far as to place a tack in the road to pop its tyre, thinking to be rewarded for watching the cart. After convincing the driver to leave, Dougal is trying to decide which sweet he will request, when he accidentally starts the cart up again and causes it to collide with the titular magic roundabout at the centre of the village. Zeebad emerges from the top and flies away, followed shortly after by a Foot Guard figurine that is thrown off the roundabout. The roundabout freezes over, trapping repairman Mr. Rusty, Dougal's young owner Florence, and two other children named Basil and Coral within an icy cell.
The villagers, who are all animals, are horrified by this development, and call upon Zebedee for help. He explains that the roundabout acted as a mystical prison for the evil ice wizard Zeebad. With it broken, Zeebad is free to work his magic on the world again (it is implied he started the first ice age). The only way to stop Zeebad's freedom from freezing the world again is by collecting three magic diamonds (one of which is supposed to be hidden on the roundabout, while the other two are hidden at separate locations far beyond the village); placing all three diamonds in their respective slots on the roundabout will reimprison Zeebad and undo his magic, but if Zeebad retrieves them first then their power will allow him to freeze the Sun itself. Zebedee sends Dougal, Brian the cynical snail, Ermintrude the opera-singing cow, Dylan the hippie rabbit, to accomplish this mission along with a magic train who can be summoned by a magic remote. Meanwhile, when Zeebad crash lands after escaping the roundabout, he animates the Foot Guard figurine, Sam the Soldier, to be his henchman and enlists him to find the enchanted diamonds first. Meanwhile, Zebedee's fellowship makes camp in the icy mountains near Zeebad's old lair. Dougal wanders off during the night and is captured by Zeebad. Ermintrude breaks him out of his prison; after a short chase, Zebedee shows up to battle his evil counterpart. Zeebad gains the upper hand and overpowers Zebedee, freezing him and collapsing the cliff on which he stands, where he is presumed to be dead.
Mourning for their dispatcher, Dougal and his friends embark to recover the diamonds. This task takes them to a lava-bordered volcano and an ancient temple filled with booby-traps and evil skeleton guards (at which point Dylan reveals an exceptional knowledge of several types of martial arts), but Zeebad captures both the diamonds from these respective locations; leaving the gang's only hope of stopping Zeebad freezing the world in ice to be getting back to the roundabout and to the final diamond before Zeebad does. The gang are forced along the way to leave Train behind when his wheel is broken, leaving them to return to the village on their own through the snowy barren wasteland the world is now freezing into. Zeebad, after having abandoned Sam the Soldier to die wounded in the snow, beats the gang to the now-frozen village, but is unable to find the third diamond anywhere. Sam then arrives on a moose, having realized he's been following the wrong commander in Zeebad and that his true duty is to protect the roundabout against Zeebad, and tries to make a stand and charge against Zeebad but is quickly defeated. Having learned Sam was in fact on the roundabout, Zeebad discovers that the third diamond is and always was hidden inside Sam, and removes it from Sam (ending the latter's life force in the process).
Just as Dougal and the gang finally make it back to the village, Zeebad, with all three diamonds now in his possession, uses the diamonds to complete his powers' freezing effect on the world by freezing the Sun. However, Ermintrude, Brian, Dylan, and finally Dougal refuse to give up, and intervene to stop Zeebad; getting past Zeebad's attacks to the diamonds, and getting each of them one-by-one into their places on the roundabout until only the third diamond is left. Though Zeebad beats the gang to the diamond and seemingly secures his victory, the timely arrival of a healed Train knocks the diamond away and gives Dougal the chance to place it in the roundabout's final slot. With all three diamonds placed on the roundabout, Zeebad is reimprisoned, and the world is thawed and turned back to normal; restoring Zebedee to his friends, and freeing the people.
Of those trapped in the roundabout, Florence is comatose, but is revived by a desperate Dougal. The moose (whose colour had been changed from brown to blue by Zeebad and helped Dougal's friends find Dougal in the earlier scenes of the film), is restored to his true colour by Zebedee. As everyone goes for a ride on the roundabout, they discover it still doesn't work, because Sam is still missing. At this point, Sam is restored and then reverted to his inanimate form, and placed back on the roundabout which functions once again. Dougal, who vowed to give up sugar when it seemed all was lost, forgets his former pledge completely, but now realises the true value of his friends and the good qualities of selflessness, courage, and humility.
Two post-credits scenes follow: one reveals Zeebad back in his prison, which, to his chagrin, is a molten lava cave. In another, Zebedee delivers his famous catchphrase to the audience, "Time for bed", before disappearing.
|Character||France||United Kingdom||United States|
|Pollux/Dougal/Doogal||Henri Salvador||Robbie Williams||Daniel Tay|
|Margote/Florence||Vanessa Paradis||Kylie Minogue||Kylie Minogue|
|Zabadie/Zeebad||Michel Galabru||Tom Baker||Jon Stewart|
|Ambroise/Brian||Dany Boon||Jim Broadbent||William H. Macy|
|Train||Lee Evans||Chevy Chase|
|Azalée/Ermintrude||Valérie Lemercier||Joanna Lumley||Whoopi Goldberg|
|Flappy/Dylan||Eddy Mitchell||Bill Nighy||Jimmy Fallon|
|Sam||Gérard Jugnot||Ray Winstone||Bill Hader|
|Zébulon/Zebedee||Élie Semoun||Ian McKellen||Ian McKellen|
The Magic Roundabout received generally favourable reviews from critics. They praised for retaining its charm from the original television series and its superb animation while they criticised the update for today's children and its subtle drug references. On Rotten Tomatoes, it received an aggregate score of 60% based on 5 reviews (3 "fresh" and 2 "rotten").
US version: Doogal
On 24 February 2006, the film was released in the US as Doogal by The Weinstein Company. For this version, the majority of the original UK voices were dubbed over by celebrities more familiar to the US public, such as Chevy Chase (Train), Jimmy Fallon (Dylan), Whoopi Goldberg (Ermintrude), William H. Macy (Brian), Kevin Smith (Moose) and Jon Stewart (Zeebad). Only two original voices remained – those of Kylie Minogue and Ian McKellen (although Kylie Minogue re-dubbed her own voice in an American accent, with some of her lines changed). The US version also features Daniel Tay (Doogal), Bill Hader (Sam) and Judi Dench (Narrator). Writer Butch Hartman (The Fairly OddParents) rewrote the storyline to accommodate multiple pop culture references (mostly from the The Lord of the Rings) and flatulence jokes (neither of which were present in the original release). A few scenes and bits present in the original were cut and moved around in this release for continuity; for example, a post-credit scene that reveals Zeebad in his prison was heavily cut from the US version and was replaced with live footage of the US actors in the process of making the film, a sequence that featured the song "Mr. Blue Sky" by Electric Light Orchestra was moved to the very end of the film (in the original release the scene was a dream sequence), and every shot that involved Zeebad's ice fortress was cut from the US release (glimpses of the fortress can be seen in the background in a few shots, but is not shown in full view). Also, the flashback depicting Florence trapped in the icy carousel was shown in the US release of the film. The US release also included an additional song entitled "Simply Wonderful" by Andrea Remanda and Goldust.
The US version of the film was panned by critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it received an aggregate score of 8% based on 49 reviews (4 "fresh" and 45 "rotten"), with the consensus: "Overloaded with pop culture references, but lacking in compelling characters and plot, Doogal is too simpleminded even for the kiddies." Other negative reviews included, a score of 23 out of 100 ("generally unfavorable") on Metacritic, an F rating from Entertainment Weekly, and Flickchart named Doogal the worst animated film ever made, topping its list of the top 50 worst animated films of all time.
- "The Magic Roundabout (2005)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2013-12-09.
- "Doogal (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2013-12-09.