The Magic Roundabout (released in France as Pollux - Le manège enchanté and redubbed in the United States as Doogal) is a 2005 film featuring the characters of The Magic Roundabout produced and animated by Action Synthese and distributed by Pathé in the UK and The Weinstein Company in the US.
The film begins as the wizard Zebedee, is chased by his evil twin 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 Soldier Sam 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 his younger brother. 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 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, and Train who can be summoned by a magic remote to accomplish this mission. Meanwhile, when Zeebad crash lands after escaping the roundabout, he animates 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 brother. 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 and save the world. 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 from freezing the world to be getting back to the roundabout and 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, having abandoned Sam the Soldier to die 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, 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 (and 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-credit 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. The End.
- Robbie Williams - Dougal
- Kylie Minogue - Florence
- Jim Broadbent - Brian
- Joanna Lumley - Ermintrude
- Bill Nighy - Dylan
- Lee Evans - Train
- Ian McKellen - Zebedee
- Tom Baker - Zeebad
- Ray Winstone - Soldier Sam
- Ediz Mahmut - Basil
- Daniella Loftus - Carol
- Jimmy Hibbert - Mr. Rusty / Mr. Grimsdale / Additional Voices
- Daniel Tay - Doogal
- Kylie Minogue - Florence (Re-voiced)
- William H. Macy - Brian
- Whoopi Goldberg - Ermintrude
- Jimmy Fallon - Dylan
- Chevy Chase - Train
- Ian McKellen - Zebedee (Retained from the UK version)
- Jon Stewart - Zeebad
- Bill Hader - Soldier Sam
- Kevin Smith - Moose
- Judi Dench - Narrator
- Eric Robinson - Basil
- Heidi Brook Myers - Carol
- Cory Edwards - Mr. Rusty / Additional Voices
- John Krasinski - Mr. Grimsdale / Additional Voices
- Henri Salvador - Pollux
- Vanessa Paradis - Margote
- Dany Boon - Ambroise
- Valérie Lemercier - Azalée
- Eddy Mitchell - Flappy
- Élie Semoun - Zébulon
- Michel Galabru - Zabadie
- Gérard Jugnot - Soldier Sam
Critical Reception Edit
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a score of 60% based on five reviews (three positive and two negative). In 2011, Total Film named it the 45th worst children's movie ever made.
Doogal (United States) Edit
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 2017 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.
Doogal 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 simple-minded even for the kiddies"; the website ranked it the 82nd worst reviewed movie of the 2000s. 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".
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".
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.
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 May 16, 2006.
In 2011 a French Blu-ray under the French title containing the French and UK English language version was released. Blu-rays for either the original UK version or the US edit of the film have yet to be released.
Main Article: The Magic Roundabout (2005 film)/Gallery
- At least 3 to 5 minutes of footage is cut in the US edit of the film.
- A sequel was in production by the company Action Synthese, but the company closed before it was completed.
- Train is completely silent in the French version.
- The film marks the debut appearances of Mr. Grimsdale and Soldier Sam who would later become recurring characters in the 2007 series.
- In one scene Zeebad calls Train Thomas the Tank Engine. A Reference to The 1945 Book series: The railway Series.
- This only occurres in the US version.
- The film takes place around the course of four days and three nights.
- Several characters have dialogue that references previous roles. Robbie Williams' Dougal states he likes Florence, as he "offers her protection", a line from his song "Angels".
- The lines on either sides of Zeebad's head resemble a cartoon drawing of a Christmas tree without decorations, Zeebad's intentions include making the world a permanent winter, the season in which Christmas takes place.
- Bill Hader the voice actor of Sam the Soldier also played George Armstrong Center from Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Fear from Disney's/Pixar Inside Out., Flint Lockwood from Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs 1 & 2, Guy Gagne from Turbo, and Leonard from The Angry Birds Movie,
- Mr. Grimsdale's cart still operates properly despite one of the wheels being popped.
- When the ice melts away from the roundabout there does not appear to be anybody inside it.
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 Doogal 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.
- 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 Doogal, 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 Doogal 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 characters 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 Doogal has a nightmare about Florence is cut.
- Instead of Brian, it's Doogal who finds the village.
- A scene where Doogal 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.