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Magic Roundabout, The

Doogal tries to be part of the hip CGI-animated club, with all the pop-culture references and feel-good messages. But unfortunately, it fails on all levels.

Magic Roundabout, The


In this make-believe world where animals can talk and magical sorcerers look like big Slinkys with a heads and arms, we meet a shaggy puppy named Doogal (voiced by Daniel Tay). The candy-loving mutt lives a carefree life, entirely devoted to his best friend, Florence (voiced by Kylie Minogue). But when the evil sorcerer Zeebad (voiced by Jon Stewart) escapes from his ancient prison, he vows to exact revenge by collecting three magic diamonds that will plunge the land into an eternal deep freeze. Now, Doogal and his friends--a cow, a rabbit and a snail--embark on an epic adventure to stop him, and save the world in the process.


Interestingly enough, Doogal was actually already made as a direct-to-DVD movie called The Magic Roundabout, based on the popular British animated show. In that version, all the voices were done by big-name British folk, including Robbie Williams, Bill Nighy, Joanna Lumley, Jim Broadbent and Tom Baker as Zeebad. But I guess when the Weinstein Company brought the film over the Pond to release in the U.S., they felt the British voices were too obscure, replacing almost all them with American actors. Now, instead of Williams, we have a kid, Tay (Elf), playing the dog; Jimmy Fallon voices the laid-back rocker rabbit instead of Nighy; Whoopi Goldberg takes over Lumley's part as the opera-singing cow; William H. Macy replaces Broadbent as the sweet snail whose in love with the cow; and lastly, the wise-cracking Stewart takes over as the voice of Zeebad, the maniacal Slinky head. Only Ian McKellen as a good wizard and Minogue as the little girl remain from the original cast. It's a shame. I'm pretty sure the British voices would have made Doogal at least a little better.


Honestly, why did the Weinsteins feel they had to Americanize the film? Perhaps with a distinctly British flavor, the jokes wouldn't fall so flat. Doogal is just one derivative after another--everything from The Lord of the Rings to The Matrix to Raiders of the Lost Ark is referenced. There isn't one truly original idea in it. The imagery is decent enough, if slightly rudimentary, but the worst part of the film is the trite dialogue. Young children probably won't notice much, but Doogal really insults moviegoers' intelligence. Sitting through the film is like watching one of those Barney or Teletubbies episodes in which you can just see how it ever so slowly lowers childrens' IQs. There's a good reason why Doogal wasn't pre-screened for the press: Bad word of mouth should kill this.

Bottom Line rated this film 1 star.