The Magic Roundabout (film)

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The Magic Roundabout
Magic Roundabout-one-sheet.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDave Borthwick
Jean Duval
Frank Passingham
Produced byClaude Gorsky
Andy Leighton
Pascal Rodon
Screenplay byPaul B. Davies
Martine Danot
Story byRaolf Sanoussi
Stephane Sanoussi
Based onThe Magic Roundabout by Serge Danot
StarringTom Baker
Jim Broadbent
Joanna Lumley
Ian McKellen
Bill Nighy
Robbie Williams
Kylie Minogue
Ray Winstone
Lee Evans
Music byMark Thomas
Edited byMathieu Morfin
Action Synthese
UK Film Council
Pathé Renn Productions
France 2 Cinéma
Les Films Action
SPZ Entertainment
bolexbrothers limited
Distributed byPathé
Release date
  • 2 February 2005 (2005-02-02) (France)
  • 11 February 2005 (2005-02-11) (United Kingdom)
Running time
83 minutes
United Kingdom
Budget$20 million[1]
Box office$26.7 million[2]

The Magic Roundabout (released in France as Pollux - Le manège enchanté and redubbed in the United States as Doogal) is a 2005 French-British computer-animated adventure fantasy film based on the television series The Magic Roundabout.[3]

The film features the voices of Tom Baker, Jim Broadbent, Joanna Lumley, Ian McKellen, Bill Nighy, Robbie Williams, Kylie Minogue, Ray Winstone and Lee Evans.


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 named Zeebad.

The film then starts with Dougal the well-meaning cheeky chappy but slacker dog sneaking around the carousel. He goes so far as to place a tack in the road to pop a sweet cart's tyre, thinking to be rewarded for watching the cart. After convincing the driver, Mr. Grimsdale 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. Zeebad 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 re-imprison 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 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 an elk, having realised 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 him 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 elk (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 realises the true value of his friends and the good qualities of selflessness, courage, and humility.

Two mid-credits scenes follow: one reveals Zeebad back in his prison, which, to his chagrin, is a molten lava cave. In another (which only appeared in the English versions), Zebedee delivers his famous catchphrase to the audience, "Time for bed", before disappearing.


Character France France United Kingdom United Kingdom United States United States
Pollux/Dougal/Doogal Henri Salvador Robbie Williams Daniel Tay
Margote/Florence Vanessa Paradis Kylie Minogue
Zabadie/Zeebad Michel Galabru Tom Baker Jon Stewart
Ambroise/Brian Dany Boon Jim Broadbent William H. Macy
Train N/A Lee Evans Chevy Chase
Azalée/Ermintrude Valérie Lemercier Joanna Lumley Whoopi Goldberg
Flappy/Dylan Eddy Mitchell Bill Nighy Jimmy Fallon
Soldier Sam Gérard Jugnot Ray Winstone Bill Hader
Zébulon/Zebedee Élie Semoun Ian McKellen
Elk/Moose N/A Kevin Smith
Narrator N/A Judi Dench
Basil N/A Ediz Mahmut Eric Robinson
Coral N/A Daniella Loftus Heidi Brook Myers
Mr. Rusty N/A Jimmy Hibbert Cory Edwards
Mr. Grimsdale N/A John Krasinski
Skeleton Guards N/A Cory Edwards
John Krasinski
Additional voices N/A


On Rotten Tomatoes, the UK version of film received an aggregate score of 60% based on five reviews (three positive and two negative).[4] In 2011, Total Film named it the 45th worst children's movie ever made.[5]

Doogal (United States)[edit]

American theatrical release poster.

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 United States as Doogal, and was produced by The Weinstein Company. In the United States version, where audiences aren't as familiar 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). Daniel Tay plays the titular character in the United States dub.

Only two original voices remained those of Kylie Minogue and Ian McKellen, Minogue, however, re-voiced her own lines with an American accent. The United States version also features Daniel Tay (Doogal), Bill Hader (Sam) and Judi Dench (narrator). Writer Butch Hartman (The Fairly OddParents) rewrote the dialogue in the film to make it more appealing to American audiences, but in the end, most of his rewrites were discarded, instead, the final version had numerous references and flatulence jokes, which weren't in his initial script. Hartman revealed in a 2017 interview that the film was originally supposed to include a live-action frame story similar to The Princess Bride but was scrapped due to budget costs.[6]

Changes in the US Version[edit]

  • Zebedee's nightmare, the opening sequence, Ermintrude's concert, and various other scenes are shortened for time.
  • Narration by Judi Dench is heard throughout the film.
  • "Dougal" is spelt as "Doogal" in this version, possibly to prevent any mispronunciation with the voice actors.
  • Much of the original dialogue is changed, with the main addition of pop culture references.
  • Wacky cartoon sound effects are added into some scenes.
  • Zeebad, Soldier Sam, and Ermintrude's personalities are heavily changed from their original versions.
  • Some bits of the original music is changed or removed, as well as some of the sound effects. Additional music by James L. Venable is also added in.
  • Many British words are changed to more American words, such as "roundabout" being changed to "carousel" or "merry-go-round".
  • Additional dialogue and various one-liners are added into scenes that were originally silent.
  • The narration implies that Zebedee's reason for not joining with Dougal and the others on their quest was because he went to search for Zeebad; in the original, it was because he had to stay behind to guard the roundabout.
  • Characters such as the Moose and the Skeletons are given dialogue despite being silent in the original.
  • Fart noises are added in for the Moose as a running gag of him constantly breaking wind.
  • The Train is given much less dialogue than in the original version.
  • Every shot of Zeebad's ice palace is cut; glimpses of the palace can be seen in the background in a few shots, but is not shown in full view.
  • During the scene of Zeebad trying to interrogate Dougal, a brief flashback depicting Florence trapped in the icy carousel is shown.
  • An additional song entitled Simply Wonderful by Andrea Remanda and Goldust is added in.
  • A sequence that featured Dougal dreaming about being home with Florence and having fun with his friends was moved to the very end of the film, serving it as the ending to the movie; this sequence features the song Mr. Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra.
  • The gang find out the third diamond is hidden in the carousel through hieroglyphics at the temple; in the original version, Zebedee already informed them that it was there before they set off on their journey.
  • An entire scene in which Dougal has a nightmare about Florence is cut.
  • Instead of Brian, it's Dougal who finds the village.
  • A scene where Dougal and the others are wandering through the frozen village before encountering Zeebad is removed.
  • The scene where Zebedee is revealed to be alive is shown after Florence questions where he is; in the original, it was shown right after Zeebad was defeated.
  • A scene where the characters try to celebrate their victory by riding on the roundabout only to see it won't work due to Sam not being part of it is removed.
  • A post-credit scene of Zeebad in his prison is completely removed.
  • Behind the scenes footage of the American actors recording for the film is added into the end credits.
  • A second post-credit scene of Zebedee saying to the audience "Time for bed" is moved to the end of the credits instead of midway.


Writer Butch Hartman eventually apologized for Doogal claiming that most of his script was actually rewritten without his consent by The Weinstein Company.[6]

On Rotten Tomatoes, it received an aggregate score of 8% based on 49 reviews (4 "fresh" and 45 "rotten"). The consensus reads: "Overloaded with pop culture references, but lacking in compelling characters and plot, Doogal is too simple-minded even for the kiddies";[7] the website ranked it the 82nd worst hated movie of the 2000s.[8] It has a score of 23 out of 100 ("generally unfavorable") on Metacritic, and an 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?". 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".[9]

Frank Scheck of The 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".[10]

In 2017, writer Butch Hartman eventually apologized for Doogal where he revealed that most of his script was rewritten without his consent by The Weinstein Company and claimed that only 3% of his original script made it into the final film.[6]

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.

The American version of the film, Doogal, was released on DVD on 16 May 2006.

In 2011 a French Blu-ray under the French title containing the French and UK English language version was released. Oddly, because the second post-credit scene of Zebedee saying "Time for bed" to the audience only appeared in the English versions, it doesn't show up on the French Blu-Ray either (since the French graphics and credits are presented) although the audio is retained in the English audio track.


  1. ^ "Doogal (2006)". The Numbers. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Doogal". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2016-04-02.
  3. ^ "Sprung! The Magic Roundabout", Film Review, Issues 652–657, Page 35, 2005
  4. ^ "The Magic Roundabout (2005)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  5. ^ Winning, Josh (8 November 2011). "50 Worst Kids Movies". Total Film. GamesRadar. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  6. ^ a b c "let's talk about DOOGAL". YouTube. 10 November 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  7. ^ "Doogal (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  8. ^ "Rotten Tomatoes Worst of the Worst (2000-2009)".
  9. ^ "Doogal". DVD Talk.
  10. ^ "Movie Reviews". Retrieved 9 September 2017.

External links[edit]