The Magic Roundabout (film)

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The Magic Roundabout
Magic Roundabout-one-sheet.jpg
Directed by Dave Borthwick
Jean Duval
Frank Passingham
Produced by Claude Gorsky
Andy Leighton
Pascal Rodon
Screenplay by Paul B. Davies
Story by Raolf Sanoussi
Stephane Sanoussi
Based on The Magic Roundabout 
by Serge Danot
Starring French version
UK version
Music by Mark Thomas
Edited by Mathieu Morfin
Action Synthese
UK Film Council
Pathé Renn Productions
France 2 Cinéma
Les Films Action
SPZ Entertainment
bolexbrothers limited
Distributed by Pathé
Release dates
  • 2 February 2005 (2005-02-02) (France)
  • 11 February 2005 (2005-02-11) (United Kingdom)
Running time
85 minutes
Country France
United Kingdom
Language French

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 begins as the wizard Zebedee, a red jack-in-the-box-like creature, is having a nightmare about being chased by a rampaging blue jack-in-the-box creature.

The film then starts with Dougal sneaking around the carousel. He goes so far as to place a tack in the road to pop a sweet carts tyre, thinking to be rewarded for watching the cart. After convincing the driver to leave, Dougal accidentally starts the cart up again and causes it to crash into the titular magic roundabout at the centre of the village. A blue jack-in-the-box creature (the same one from Zebedee's nightmare) 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 the well-meaning cheeky chappy but slacker dog, Brian the cynical snail, Ermintrude the opera-singing cow and 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 eventually gains the upper hand, freezing Zebedee and collapsing the cliff on which he stands, presumably killing him.

Mourning for their friend, 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 easily 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 him (ending Sam's life as a result).

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 out of Zeebad's reach 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 an anxious 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 lifeless. 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 realizes 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
Pollux/Dougal Henri Salvador Robbie Williams
Margote/Florence Vanessa Paradis Kylie Minogue
Zabadie/Zeebad Michel Galabru Tom Baker
Ambroise/Brian Dany Boon Jim Broadbent
Train Lee Evans
Azalée/Ermintrude Valérie Lemercier Joanna Lumley
Flappy/Dylan Eddy Mitchell Bill Nighy
Sam Gérard Jugnot Ray Winstone
Zébulon/Zebedee Élie Semoun Ian McKellen


The Magic Roundabout received generally favorable reviews from critics. They praised for retaining its charm from the original television series and its superb animation and voice acting while they criticised the update for today's children and its implicit drug references. On Rotten Tomatoes, it received an aggregate score of 60% based on 5 reviews (3 "fresh" and 2 "rotten").[1]

Doogal (United States)[edit]

American theatrical release poster.

On 24 February 2006, the film was released in the United States as Doogal, and was produced by The Weinstein Company. In the United States version, where audiences are unfamiliar with the series, the majority of original United Kingdom voices have been dubbed over by celebrities more familiar to the United States, 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's original recordings were not present in the United States version for she had re-dubbed her own voice in an American accent, with some of her lines changed). The United States 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 Lord of the Rings) and flatulence jokes (neither of which were present in the original release).

A few scenes and bits, which were present in the original, were cut and moved around in this release for continuity, for example an post-credit scene that reveals Zeebad in his prison was heavily cut from the United States version, and was replaced with live footage of the United States 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 United States 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 United States release of the film. The United States release also included an additional song entitled Simply Wonderful by Andrea Remanda and Goldust.

The United States version of the film was panned by critics, and often cited as one of the worst films ever made.[2][3] 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 simple-minded even for the kiddies";[4] the website ranked it the 82nd worst reviewed movie of the 2000s.[5] It has got a score of 23 out of 100 ("generally unfavorable") on Metacritic, and a F rating from Entertainment Weekly writing that "very young children should be angry... where is it written that 4-year-olds don't deserve a good story, decent characters, and a modicum of coherence?". Flickchart named Doogal the worst animated film ever made, topping its list of the top 50 worst animated films of all time.[2] It was placed #5 on Ebert & Roeper's Worst of 2006. Michael Phillip of the Chicago Tribune described the film as "Eighty-five minutes you'll never get back."

Randy Miller of DVD Talk says that: "Doogal is, after all, one of the worst excuses for a children's film during this or any year---and if you're really looking for an in-depth analysis of why it's so awful, you don't have to look hard. Filled to the brim with pop culture references and other such gags that'll be even less funny a few years from now, it's like Shrek without the occasional bit of charm and surprise".[6]

Frank Scheck of Hollywood Reporter wrote "The key frame animation, based on three-dimensional models, is rudimentary, with none of the characters proving visually arresting."

Ned Martel of The New York Times wrote "In Doogal setting the world right again involves a badly paced quest for three diamonds, assorted jokes that don't land, and a daringly incoherent climactic confrontation".[7] On May 2006, it became the lowest ranked film on Internet Movie Database Bottom 100 list.


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