The Magic Roundabout (film)

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The Magic Roundabout
Magic Roundabout-one-sheet.jpg
UK theatrical release poster
Directed by
  • Dave Borthwick
  • Jean Duval
  • Frank Passingham
Produced by
  • Claude Gorsky
  • Laurent Rodon
  • Pascal Rodon
Written by
Based on The Magic Roundabout by Serge Danot
Starring Robbie Williams
Kylie Minogue
Jim Broadbent
Tom Baker
Bill Nighy
Joanna Lumley
Lee Evans
Ray Winstone
Ian McKellen
(UK release)
Narrated by Judi Dench (US version only)
Production
  company
Distributed by Pathé Pictures (UK)
The Weinstein Company (US)
Release date(s) 11 February 2005 (UK)
Running time 88 minutes
Country United Kingdom
France
United States
Language English
French
Budget $20 million
Box office $26,691,243[1]

The Magic Roundabout (released in France as Pollux, le manège enchanté and in North America as Doogal) is a 2005 British-French computer-animated adventure fantasy film based on the television series of the same name. The film was produced by Pathé and the UK Film Council, animation done by Action Synthese and released by Pathé Pictures on 11 February 2005 in the United Kingdom and France, and The Weinstein Company on 24 February 2006 in North America. The plot concerns a dog named Dougal (Doogal in North America) who has to save his best friend, Florence, as well as the whole world, from being frozen by an evil spring named Zeebad.

The film was received positively in the United Kingdom[2][3] and France,[4] but the American edit released by The Weinstein Company received poor reviews and was often cited as one of the worst films of all time.

Plot[edit]

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 brokern, 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 Doogal's friends find Doogal 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.

Voice cast[edit]

Original UK Version
  • Robbie Williams as Dougal, a sugar-loving Pekingese
  • Bill Nighy as Dylan, a guitar-playing hippie rabbit, who is also skilled at martial arts.
  • Tom Baker as Zeebad, a blue jack-in-the-box and the evil ice sorcerer who uses "cold" magic.
  • Joanna Lumley as Erminitrude, an opera-singing cow.
  • Jim Broadbent as Brian, a bashful, cynical snail.
  • Lee Evans as Train; always comes in the nick of time, though is slow, according to Ermintrude. He can speak, but none of the other characters can hear him.
  • Kylie Minogue as Florence, a girl who, when in danger, has faith in Dougal, even if it was him who put her in danger.
  • Ian McKellen as Zebedee, a red jack-in-the-box and the good magician who uses warmth and "love" magic.
  • Ray Winstone as Soldier Sam, Zeebad's reluctant slave, who holds one of the magic diamonds. He follows Zeebad's orders, but is a good guy at heart and eventually turns against him.
  • Ediz Mahmut as Basil, one of Florence's friends.
  • Daniella Loftus as Coral, one of Florence's friends.
US Version(2006)

In the first trailer to the American Version, Doogal is heard with a completely different voice, it is unknown who provided Doogal's voice in the trailer.

Production[edit]

Release[edit]

The film was released by Pathé Pictures on 11 February 2005 in the United Kingdom and France. In France the film was released under the title Pollux, le manège enchanté (English translation: Sprung! The Magic Roundabout).

Alternate Versions[edit]

US theatrical poster for the North American release of the film

According to William H. Macy, Harvey Weinstein saw the film and decided to do an American version. On 24 February 2006, the film was released in the US as Doogal and was produced by The Weinstein Company. In the North American release, where audiences are unfamiliar with the series, the majority of original British voices have been dubbed over by celebrities more familiar to the American public, such as Chevy Chase, Jimmy Fallon, Whoopi Goldberg, William H. Macy, Kevin Smith, Bill Hader, and Jon Stewart. Only two original voices remained – those of Kylie Minogue and Ian McKellen (Although Kylie Minogue's original recordings were not present in the American version for she had re-dubbed her own voice in an American accent with some of her lines changed). The US version also features narration by Judi Dench, and Fairly Oddparents writer Butch Hartman also 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 (that were 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 American version and was replaced with live footage of the American 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, thus serving it as the ending to the movie (in the original release the scene was a dream sequence), every shot that involved Zeebad's ice fortress was also cut from the American release, glimps 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 American release of the film. The American release also included an additional song entitled Simply Wonderful by Andrea Remanda and Goldust.

Promotion[edit]

In 2005 before the film's release a few short trailers of the film were aired on Nick Toons UK.

In 2006, the American version of the film was heavily promoted by McDonald's who offered toys of the film's Characters in Happy Meals. A trailer of the film was aired during The 2006 Super Bowl.

Home media[edit]

The Magic Roundabout was released on DVD 18 July 2005, the film was later re-released on a 2-disc Special Edition DVD, the special features included an inside look at the film's Production History, 2 Making of featurettes, Classic English and French TV Episodes, Design Gallery, Cast and Crew Biographies, Theatrical Trailer and a TV Spot.

In 2011 The Magic Roundabout was released on Blu-ray only in France, the release contains both the French and British versions and is region-free. There has still yet to be a Blu-ray release of the film in the UK.

The American version of the film(Doogal) was released on DVD in May 16, 2006. A Blu-ray of the American version has yet to be released.

Reception[edit]

The Magic Roundabout gained generally favourable reviews from critics in Britain, for retaining its charm from the original television series and its superb animation. While some critics questioned the update for today's children and its subtle drug references, the reviews were mostly positive. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 60% rating based on five reviews (three "fresh" and two "rotten").[5] The public also supported the film, and while some[who?] were disappointed on how the film relied on nostalgia.

The American version of the film was panned by critics. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 8% approval rating, based on 49 reviews (4 "fresh" and 45 "rotten") with the website's summary of the film being, "Overloaded with pop culture references, but lacking in compelling characters and plot, Doogal is too simpleminded even for the kiddies." [6] Other negative reviews included, a score of 23 out of 100 ("generally unfavorable") on Metacritic, an F rating from Entertainment Weekly. Flickchart named The Magic Roundabout as the worst animated film ever made, after it topped a list of the top 50 worst animation films movies of all time.[7]

Box Office[edit]

The film earned a total gross of £5.8 million at the UK box office.

The American version of the film grossed a total of $7,417,319 in the United States,[1] which is considered low by CGI animated film standards. It has become the second-lowest grossing CGI film, thus carrying on the record of lowest box office CGI animated film (a record formerly held by the 2005 film Valiant) until the record was later beaten in 2008 by Delgo.

Accolades[edit]

The American version of the film received the Film Advisory Board's Award of Excellence in 2006, as it is shown on the DVD cover.

Soundtrack[edit]

The Magic Roundabout/Doogal
Film score
Released 7 March 2006
Recorded 2005
Genre Film soundtrack and Score
Length 50:13
Label Milan Records

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Performer(s) Length
1. "Main Titles"   Instrumental 1:48
2. "The Magic Roundabout"   Kylie Minogue 3:50
3. "Meet Doogal"   Instrumental 0:43
4. "Magic"   Pilot 3:06
5. "You Really Got Me"   Jimmy Fallon and Whoopi Goldberg 2:20
6. "Doogal the Mechanic"   Instrumental 1:03
7. "Zeebad Escapes"   Instrumental 1:09
8. "Sam Marches"   Instrumental 0:39
9. "The Magic Roundabout"   Andrea Remanda and Goldust 3:38
10. "Meet Zeebad"   Instrumental 1:09
11. "Setting Up Camp"   Instrumental 2:25
12. "Spinning"   Andrea Remanda and Goldust 2:22
13. "Duel of the Springs 2"   Mark Thomas 1:41
14. "Simply Wonderful"   Andrea Remanda and Goldust 2:31
15. "The What-a-Snails Waltz"   Instrumental 0:32
16. "Zeebad Threatens"   Instrumental 1:33
17. "Train's Back"   Instrumental 3:41
18. "Lost in the Cold"   Instrumental 1:58
19. "See the City"   Instrumental 0:34
20. "The Frozen City"   Instrumental 0:16
21. "Frozen Florence"   Instrumental 0:59
22. "The End of Zeebad"   Instrumental 1:31
23. "Florence Awakes"   Instrumental 1:41
24. "Sugar, Sugar"   The Archies 2:49
25. "I Love to Boogie"   T.Rex 2:17
26. "Lean Mean Fighting Machine"   Andrea Remanda and Goldust 2:15
27. "Believe Yourself"   Andrea Remanda and Goldust 2:33
28. "Bust This Joint"   Andrea Remanda and Goldust 2:06
Total length:
50:13

Possible sequel[edit]

A sequel, entitled The Magic Roundabout 2: Dougal, the explorer, was currently in development, but the project was cancelled in 2013 due to bankruptcy at Action Synthese, but it is rumored that it still may be in development.

Other media[edit]

In 2007, Action Synthese released a 3D animated TV series based on The Magic Roundabout that takes place after the events of the 2005 film, the show aired on Nick Jr. UK. the show has been broadcast since 2008 all over Europe. There have been very few DVD releases of this series. The series saw a release in North America on Netflix for a limited time.

A video game adaptation of the 3D animated TV series was released for Wii, PC and Nintendo DS in 2008 only in Europe.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]