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The Magic Roundabout (released in France as Pollux - Le manège enchanté and redubbed in the United States as Doogal) is a 2005 French-British film based on the show of the same name produced and animated by Action Synthese and distributed by Pathé in the UK and The Weinstein Company in the US. It is also the second film in the titular series following Dougal and the Blue Cat.

In 2005-06, the film was re-dubbed for American audiences as Doogal. The final cut of the U.S. edition was regarded as one of the worst animated movies and/or dubs ever made upon its theatrical premiere and then disowned by its original writer Butch Hartman as he revealed in a 2017 interview during the Weinstein scandal that most of his actual script was discarded and was actually rewritten without his consent by Harvey Weinstein.

Plot

The film begins as the wizard Zebedee, is chased by his evil twin Zeebad and sent plummeting off the ledge of his ice lair. He woke up only to have a bad dream before checking up on the magic garden to see if everything is still going fine.

The film then starts when Dougal sneaks around the carousel, only for his young owner Florence to spot him, believing that he is come in time for Ermintrude's concert with Mr. Rusty and Dylan participating, prompting Dougal to join her to watch the concert. During the concert and with Florence's back turned, Dougal sneaks away and takes a tack from one of the signs where he goes outside the village to place it in the road to pop one of the tyres of Mr. Grimsdale's cart, thinking to be rewarded for watching the cart. After convincing Mr. Grimsdale to leave to get the things that Dougal needed to fix the cart, Dougal is trying to decide which sweet he will request, when he accidentally starts the cart up again and causes it to crash into the roof of the titular magic roundabout at the centre of the village. The cart explodes shortly afterwards and severely damages the roundabout that it spins out of control, allowing Zeebad to emerge from the hole in the roof and flies away, followed shortly after by Soldier Sam that is thrown off the roundabout. The roundabout freezes over, trapping Mr. Rusty, Florence, and two other children named Basil and Coral (the latter three who have got on the roundabout out of harm's way before the collision and the former who got on to try and stop the roundabout) within an icy cell.

Dougal, Dylan, Brian and Ermintrude 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. But with it wrecked, 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 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 and his friends on Train who can be summoned by a magic remote to accomplish this mission. Meanwhile, when Zeebad crash lands after escaping the roundabout and changes a moose's fur colour from brown to blue, he animates Sam, to be his henchman and enlists him to find the enchanted diamonds first.

Zebedee's fellowship makes camp in the icy mountains near Zeebad's old lair. Dougal wanders off during the night after everyone left him out to be the guard dog and is captured by Zeebad. While being held hostage, Dougal unwittingly lets slip of the information of the map which Zeebad forces him to spill more of the beans before ordering Sam to torture him. However, Sam is told by Dougal to feed him sugar cubes in a way to torture him. Ermintrude breaks Dougal 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. They arrive at a lava-bordered volcano where they manage to cross the narrow and crumbling bridge. The gang arrive where the first diamond is held and see a vision of Florence and the children inside it. Afterwards, Zeebad and Sam suddenly show up and take the diamond along with the map before leaving them stranded in the volcano by destroying the bridge. However, Dylan comes up with a way to escape by using Zebedee's magic box to turn Train's carriage into a boat and using the tents to make a hot air balloon. Despite no longer having the map, they still follow behind Zeebad and Sam on the rowboat. That night, Dougal is still worried about Florence and tells Dylan that whenever she is woken up by thunderstorms, he climbs into her bed for her protection before he dreams about spending time with her and his friends in the village.

The next day, the gang arrive at the partially frozen island where an ancient temple is located. However, they didn't know that Zeebad and Sam had already beaten them to the temple and the duo encounter the booby traps. Upon seeing the gang landing, Zeebad and Sam hide out of sight to let the gang set off the booby traps so they can stroll in. As the gang start to go in the temple, they set one of the booby traps off before Brian slithers through, unknowingly setting off all the booby traps and getting through unscathed. Meanwhile, Train tries to follow the gang behind, but falls through the floor and into the mines. The gang arrive in the room where Dougal activates a button the throne which reveals the second diamond, but it activates security laser beams. Unknown to the gang though, Zeebad and Sam secretly made their way into the room and were hidden out of sight. With no one volunteering to go through to the diamond, Ermintrude makes her way carefully through the beams, but Dougal was having his last gobstopper at the time, and when he begins to praise Ermintrude, he accidentally spits out his gobstopper that trips one of the laser beams. This causes the skeleton guards to burst into the room through the floor and corner the gang. Thankfully, Dylan reveals an exceptional knowledge of several types of martial arts where he takes them all down with the help of Ermintrude. Before they can get the diamond, the shattered remains of the skeletons merge together to be one gigantic skeleton who chase after the gang, but Dougal pushes another button on the throne that sends the skeleton falling down into the mines through the trapdoor. The gang make their way to get the diamond, but Zeebad had taken it first and advances on the gang to get them to tell him about the third diamond. However on Ermintrude's command, Dougal sends both Zeebad and Sam through the trapdoor into the mines. With Zeebad now in the possession of the two diamonds, the gang plan to rush back the roundabout before Zeebad and find Train in the upper part of the mines when Dylan leans on the pillar that opens a door.

As the gang were navigating through the mines, the giant skeleton attacks them again, but Train goes faster to shake him off and a low hanging beam smacks the skeleton off the carriage. Train speeds his way through the canyon where Zeebad gives chase in the driller train that was in the mines with Sam shovelling lots of coal in the firebox. Dylan accidentally catapults Brian onto the roof of the driller train and because he is blindfolded by his scarf, he spills the beans of the third diamond within Zeebad's earshot. After openly gloating that he'll get to the roundabout to get his third diamond, Zeebad orders Sam to behead Brian, but the snail jumps back onboard Train. As Train goes in front of the driller train, Zeebad begins to drill into the carriage, but the driller train explodes due to the pressure on the boiler being overloaded. As the gang were relived, Train crashes into the buffers, sending him flying where he along the gang, crash into the snowy field.

After learning from Brian that Zeebad now knows where the third diamond is, 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. As Zeebad makes his way out the wreckage, Sam is injured from the explosion, but Zeebad berates him for sparing Brian and instead makes his way to the village alone, leaving Sam behind for dead. Nightfall comes and the gang begins to lose hope during a blizzard before they pass out, despite Dougal trying to wake them up. Then Dougal drifts off to sleep too and has a nightmare of him with Florence in a sugar paradise where he sees multiple copies of Florence giving him lots of sweets. He instantly wakes up and screams Florence's name out of sorrow. Meanwhile, a moose from earlier wakes Sam where the soldier realises he's been following the wrong commander in Zeebad and that his true duty is to protect the roundabout, and rides the moose back to the village to face his former boss.

The next morning, the gang wakes up and Dougal manages to find the now-frozen village where they follow the signposts. However, Zeebad had arrived in the village first and is unable to find the third diamond anywhere on the frozen roundabout. Then, Sam arrives on the moose where Zeebad realises and tries to make a stand and charge against Zeebad but is quickly overpowered and wounded in the chest. 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 his 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 where Ermintrude uses her singing to shatter most of the ice of the roundabout to free those who are trapped and uncovering the diamond slots before they get 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 re-imprisoned by the magic of the diamonds and the roundabout which thaws the world back to normal. Meanwhile, Zebedee is revealed to have survived the fall from his battle with Zeebad and he manages to break himself free from the ice as it slowly melts before he springs his way back to village.

Of those trapped in the roundabout, Florence is comatose due to the freezing conditions but is revived by a desperate Dougal when he licks her face. After waking up fully conscious, Florence thanks Dougal for saving her life and everyone else's before Zebedee returns to the village. As everyone goes for a ride on the roundabout, they discover it still doesn't work, because Sam is still missing. At this point, Zebedee takes out the third diamond where he places it back inside Sam, restoring him back to life before reverting him to his inanimate form, and places back on the roundabout which functions once again. The moose is restored to his true colour by Zebedee just before Mr. Grimsdale shows up with the things that Dougal has requested, only to discover the dog is on the roundabout and hiding awkwardly from him. Dougal, who vowed to give up sugar when it seemed all was lost, forgets his former pledge completely when Florence wants to reward him with a cube of sugar for saving her life and the world, but now realises the true value of his friends and the good qualities of selflessness, courage, and humility.

In the first post-credits scene, Zeebad wakes up back in his prison, which to his chagrin, is a molten lava cave. In the second post-credits scene, Zebedee delivers his famous catchphrase to the audience, "Time for bed", before disappearing.

Cast

United Kingdom

United States

  • Daniel Tay - Doogal
  • Kylie Minogue - Florence (Re-voiced in an American accent, with some of her lines changed)
  • 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 (completely silent in the French and British versions)
  • Judi Dench - Narrator
  • Eric Robinson - Basil
  • Heidi Brook Myers - Coral
  • Cory Edwards - Mr. Rusty / Additional Voices
  • John Krasinski - Mr. Grimsdale / Additional Voices

France

Critical Reception

This film received mixed reviews. Joe Utichi of FilmFocus wrote: "For all its undeniable promise, this take on The Magic Roundabout is just plain disastrous in its execution." Stella Papamichael of BBC Online stated that "the story isn't inherently funny, relevant, or convincing. Essentially it's too 'dumbed down', tragically bypassing the cheeky 60s subtext of the original TV show and sapping its nostalgia value".[1] Time Out wrote: "The story’s clearly aimed at the Teletubbies fraternity who would never question a scenario as ridiculous as this ... granted, the level of computer animation isn’t exactly state-of-the-art, but it’s certainly florid enough to captivate undemanding five-year-olds ... [Robbie Williams] and Bill Nighy’s stoned rabbit help transform what should have been an unendurable fiasco into an, albeit forgettable, treat for toddlers. And toddlers only.[2] William Thomas of Empire wrote: "this version is far slicker and attempts a bit of Hollywood-style action-adventure grandstanding, but it works both as a trip down memory lane and as an entertaining movie for (very) young children".[3] On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a score of 60% based on five reviews (three positive and two negative). In 2011, Total Film included it in the list of the "50 worst children's movies ever made", specifically for its poor CGI designs of each character and containing a couple of drug references.

Doogal (United States)

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 by producer Harvey Weinstein (he later claimed that only 3% of his rewrites were accepted in the final version), and instead, the final version had numerous references to popular culture and flatulence jokes, which weren't in his initial script. Hartman revealed in a 2017 interview during the Weinstein scandal 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. Hartman also stated that the original U.S. film poster had his name and his production company Billionfold Inc. on it, until they were removed on later posters in copyright favour of Pathe and Action Synthese’s credits.

Reception

The final edition of Doogal was panned by critics, and is considered one of the worst animated movies ever made. 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, [the final edition of] Doogal is too simple-minded even for the kiddies.";[7] 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 falsely blamed the final outcome of the film on Butch Hartman and described it as "Eighty-five minutes you'll never get back."

Randy Miller of DVD Talk says that: "[the final edition of] 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 [the final edition of] 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". SFGate also wrote that the original show this film was based on “sounds like a sex film.”

On November 10th, 2017, writer Butch Hartman revealed in a interview during the Weinstein scandal discussing the Doogal's development in his personal YouTube channel expressed long-harbored remorse for his involvement, where he revealed that most of his script was actually rewritten without his consent by Harvey Weinstein and his distribution company The Weinstein Company with a screenplay by Hoodwinked! co-director Cory Edwards; he also claimed that only 3% of his original script made it into the final film.

Home Media

The Magic Roundabout was released on DVD on 18th July 2005 by Fox Pathe. The film was later re-released on a 2-disc Special Edition DVD, with special features including an inside look at the film's production history, 2 making of featurettes, classic English and French TV episodes (including Mr. Rusty Meets Zebedee, The Very first episode), design gallery, cast and crew biographies, the theatrical trailer and a TV spot.

The final American version of the film, Doogal, was released on DVD on May 16th, 2006 by The Weinstein Company Home Entertainment.

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 U.S. edits of the film, along with a DVD release of the original U.S. edition, have not been released yet.

Gallery

Main Article: The Magic Roundabout (2005 film)/Gallery

Trivia

  • At least 3 to 5 minutes of footage is cut in the final US edit of the film.
  • A sequel was in production by the company Action Synthese, but the company closed before it was completed due to bankruptcy.
  • 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 TV series.
  • The film takes place around the course of four days and three nights.
  • Richard O’Brien was originally going to play Zebedee.
  • 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.
  • The opening theme from the tone poem Also sprach Zarathustra was used again in the English version when the gang return to see Zeebad using the three diamonds to freeze the sun.
  • For unknown reasons, Mr. McHenry is strangely absent from the film and was somewhat replaced by a new character Mr. Grimsdale, who only appears in two scenes.

Goofs

  • 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.

Version differences

Between French and British versions

  • The French version plays a French-language version of the title song by Kylie Minogue during the opening credits, while the British and American versions instead play "Magic" by Pilot.
  • The Train is completely silent in the French version, despite having dialogue in the French version of the original series.
  • In the French version, "Sugar" continues to play throughout the final roundabout sequence. In the British version, the song plays up until Mr. Rusty laughs at Mr. Grimsdale, switching to the aforementioned Kylie Minogue song.
  • The "time for bed" scene is not present in the French version.

American version

  • The film looks slightly darker in terms of brightness and contrast.
  • Zebedee's nightmare, the opening sequence, Ermintrude's concert, and various other scenes are shortened for time, making this version 3-5 minutes shorter than the original editions.
  • Narration by Judi Dench is heard throughout the film.
    • The narration also tells the audience 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.
  • "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, which have been added by Hoodwinked! co-director Cory Edwards.
    • During the train chase scene, Zeebad inconsiderably calls Train "Thomas the Tank Engine", areference to the 1945 book series, The Railway Series by Rev. W. Awdry, as well as the Thomas & Friends TV series.
    • In another scene, Zeebad says "D'oh!" after getting hit with Brian's love heart, which is a reference to the 1989 animated TV series The Simpsons. Soldier Sam also does the same thing after getting hit with his cane.
    • Upon discovery of the hidden tunnel, Zeebad exclaims “Well, someone’s been watching CSI”.
    • During the temple scene, Dylan mentions Pink Floyd, Morpheus and Neo from The Matrix, John Woo, Wu-Tang Clan, and The Karate Kid.
    • Ermintrude says of the skeletons, “Lookin’ all Dawn of the Dead and everything”, referencing Dawn of the Dead.
    • While the Train struggles to climb onto the ledge of rocky bridge, he repeatedly chants “I think I can”, which is a reference to both Dumbo and The Little Engine That Could.
    • As soon as Dylan discovers the blue diamond, he lustfully claims, “My precious”, and then quickly states, “Just kidding”, referencing The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
    • One scene where of the skeletons says "Here’s Johnny" from The Shining, another says, "Bring out your dead!" from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and when one skeleton mentions Pirates of the Caribbean, another tells the other "Hey, I thought we said no Disney jokes", and one yells "Wazzup" from Scary Movie.
    • During the camping scene, Brian mentions Master Chief from Halo.
    • At one point of the aforementioned camping scene, Dylan says “What’s up, Doc?”, which is Bugs Bunny’s catchphrase.
    • Zeebad also mentions Star Trek and Austin Powers in the beginning of the chase scene.
    • After being approached by the Skeleton Lord, Doogal mentions Hogwarts and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named from the Harry Potter series.
    • As soon as Train is summoned the first time by Zebedee, he says, "I'm the train, and you're not", which references Saturday Night Live.
    • Dylan mentions two brands of candy bars in one scene: Snickers and Three Musketeers.
  • 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". These changes were made to help make the film more appealing to American audiences.
  • Additional dialogue and various one-liners are added into scenes that were originally silent.
    • Relating to the above, characters such as the Moose and the Skeletons are given dialogue despite being silent in the original.
  • Farting sound effects are added in for the Moose as a new running gag of him constantly breaking wind.
  • Train is given much less dialogue than in the original version, possibly due to time constraints and the narration.
  • Many scenes and clips were deleted and switched around in the final U.S. edition.
    • 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.
    • 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 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 Doogal has a nightmare about Florence is cut.
  • A scene where Doogal and the others are wandering through the frozen village before encountering Zeebad is removed.
  • Instead of Brian, it is Doogal who finds the village.
  • 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.
  • Behind the scenes footage of the American actors recording for the film is added into the end credits.
  • A post-credit scene of Zeebad in his prison is completely removed.
  • An additional song entitled “Simply Wonderful” by Andrea Remanda and Goldust is added into the 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.
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