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The Magic Roundabout (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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

The Magic Roundabout (known as Pollux – Le manège enchanté in France) is a 2005 computer-animated adventure fantasy film based on the original stop motion television series of the same name.[3] It was released in France with a French dub on 2 February 2005, and an English-language version was released two weeks later in the United Kingdom on 11 February.

In the United States, the film was released as Doogal on 24 February 2006 with a new English dub and script. Only Ian McKellen's performance was retained, while Kylie Minogue redubbed her role from the UK release. The UK and French dub received mixed reviews but the U.S. dub received overwhelmingly negative reviews.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Doogal (2006) Official Trailer #1 - Animated Movie HD
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  • The Magic Roundabout (2005) teaser trailer (AI Upscale)



The wizard Zebedee, a red jack-in-the-box-like creature, is having a nightmare about an evil ice wizard named Zeebad, a blue jack-in-the-box-like creature. Dougal the well-meaning cheeky, slacker dog places a tack in the road to pop a sweet cart's tyre, hoping to be rewarded with sweets for watching the cart. After the driver goes for help, Dougal accidentally crashes the cart into the magic roundabout at the village. Zeebad emerges from the roundabout roof and flies away, followed by a Foot Guard figurine thrown off the roundabout as it freezes over, trapping repairman Mr Rusty, Dougal's young owner Florence, and two other children named Coral and Basil within an icy cell.

The horrified villagers, who are all animals, call upon Zebedee for help. He explains that the roundabout was a mystical prison for Zeebad. With it damaged, Zeebad is free to work his magic on the world again as he once did before by starting the Ice Age. The only way to stop Zeebad from freezing the world is by retrieving three enchanted 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). Slotting the diamonds onto the roundabout will re-imprison Zeebad and undo his magic, but if Zeebad retrieves them first then he will use them 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. Meanwhile, Zeebad crash lands after escaping the roundabout, and animates the Foot Guard figurine, Soldier Sam, to help him find the diamonds. After Zebedee's fellowship makes camp in the icy mountains, Dougal wanders off during the night and is abducted by Zeebad. Ermintrude breaks him out of his prison. Zebedee then arrives to duel Zeebad but is defeated with Zeebad freezing him and collapsing the cliff on which he stands, causing him to fall into the abyss.

Mourning for their friend, Dougal and his friends embark to recover the diamonds respectively from a lava-bordered volcano and an ancient temple filled with evil skeleton guards, but Zeebad takes both diamonds, leaving the only hope of stopping Zeebad by getting back to the roundabout before Zeebad does. The gang and Train are pursued by Zeebad in a drill-like vehicle, but they crash into a buffer stop, sending them flying before crash-landing into the snow, injuring Train in the process, forcing them to leave Train behind and return to the village on foot through the snowy barren wasteland the world is now freezing into. Zeebad, after having abandoned Sam to die wounded in the snow, beats the gang to the now-frozen village, but cannot find the third diamond. Sam then arrives on an elk, having realized that his true duty is to protect the roundabout against Zeebad, and tries to battle Zeebad but is quickly defeated. Learning that Sam was part of the roundabout, Zeebad discovers that the third diamond is and always been hidden inside Sam, and removes it from him, which ends Sam's life.

Zeebad begins to freeze the Sun with all three diamonds. However, the gang finally reach the village, steals back the diamonds, and puts them into their places on the roundabout until the third diamond remains. Though Zeebad beats them to it and seemingly secures his victory, the timely arrival of a healed Train knocks the diamond out of Zeebad's reach, giving Dougal the chance to place it in the roundabout's final slot and simultaneously redeem himself. Zeebad is then re-imprisoned as the world, along with the Sun, is thawed and freeing those who were trapped in the roundabout. Zebedee is revealed to have survived and re-joins his friends.

Of those trapped in the roundabout, a comatose Florence is revived by Dougal. As everyone goes for a ride on the restored roundabout, they discover that it is non-functional because Sam is lifeless. Zebedee restores Sam, reverting him to his inanimate form, and placing him back on the roundabout which functions once again. Dougal now realizes the true value of his friends and the good qualities of selflessness, courage, and humility.


Character France United Kingdom (Original) United States (Doogal)
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


On Rotten Tomatoes, the UK version of the film received an aggregate score of 60% based on five reviews (three positive and two negative) with an average score of 5.14/10.[4] Joe Utichi of FilmFocus wrote: "For all its undeniable promise, this take on The Magic Roundabout is just plain disastrous in its execution."[5] 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".[6] 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.[7] 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".[8]

Doogal (United States)

Second American theatrical release poster
Written byButch Hartman
Cory Edwards
Produced byHarvey Weinstein
Music byMark Thomas
James L. Venable
Distributed byThe Weinstein Company
Release date
24 February 2006
Running time
78 minutes

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 US version, where audiences are not as familiar with the series, the majority of the British cast's voice work was dubbed by American celebrities such as Chevy Chase (Train), Jimmy Fallon (Dylan), Whoopi Goldberg (Ermintrude), William H. Macy (Brian), and Jon Stewart (Zeebad). Child actor Daniel Tay plays the titular character in the United States dub. The original American script was handled by Butch Hartman, creator of The Fairly OddParents and Danny Phantom.

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 adds Kevin Smith (Moose) and Judi Dench (narrator).


Unlike its UK dub version, the film received overwhelmingly negative reviews by film critics and audiences. 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".[9][10] 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 number five on Ebert & Roeper's Worst of 2006. Screen Rant ranked it number 1 on its list of the twelve worst animated movies ever made.[11]

Roger Moore of Orlando Sentinel described it as "easily the worst kid's movie since Spy Kids 3-D, a confusing blur of a magical quest based on an ancient British stop-motion animation TV show."[12] Christy Lemire of Associated Press called it "the laziest, most disheartening animated children's film ever made."[12] 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 ... 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".[13]

Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune described the film as "Eighty-five minutes you'll never get back." and also put it on his Worst of 2006 list.[14] 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."[15]

Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B−" on an A+ to F scale.[16]


Year Award Category Recipients Result Ref.
2007 Stinkers Bad Movie Awards Worst Picture Doogal (TWC) Dishonourable Mention [17]
Worst Supporting Actor Chevy Chase Won
Foulest Family Film Doogal (TWC) Nominated
Worst Animated Film Won

Home media

The Magic Roundabout was released on DVD and VHS in the UK on 18 July 2005 by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (under Pathé). The DVD release included the option to play along with the film via a "Magical Mysteries Quiz Game" in which, at certain intervals, the viewer would answer questions relating to what they have seen; Tom Baker would provide narration during the game. Two questions had to be answered correctly at a time before the film could continue, with an aim to see how many questions the viewer can get right first time. The game could be played under two difficulties; "Starter" to get the viewer started, and "Smarter" which was slightly more difficult. The film was later re-released on a 2-disc Special Edition DVD with extra bonus material that includes an inside look at the history of the original 1964 series, two making-of featurettes, classic episodes of the original series in both English and French, design gallery, cast and crew biographies, theatrical trailer and a couple TV spots.

In 2006, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released a 3-movie DVD pack that contains The Magic Roundabout, Chicken Run and Robots.[18]

The American version of the film, Doogal, was released on a double-sided DVD on 16 May 2006 by The Weinstein Company containing both the fullscreen and widescreen versions on each side.

In Canada, the country's distributor, Alliance Atlantis, released both the American version of the film nationally along with the original version dubbed in its European French language to DVD at the same time in Quebec (despite the country using a completely different French accent there).[19] Alliance Atlantis' version of the US DVD has the same artwork that was used in the DVD release of the original English version of the film.

In 2008,[20] The Magic Roundabout was released on Blu-ray exclusively in France featuring both the French and original English versions. Despite being sourced from a 2K English master, selecting the French audio track (or using the angle option) would show the credits in French sourced in its original DVD release, hence the low quality during it.

A couple years later, the Blu-ray was re-released as part of Fox Pathé Europa's "Sélection Blu-VIP" service where it contains a DVD copy of the film (in a plastic sleeve) as well as a booklet containing a catalog of Blu-ray releases from 20th Century Fox, Pathé, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and EuropaCorp along with a code on the back of it which can be used on the now-defunct 'Le Club BLU-VIP' website to earn points for merchandise for films released at the time (à la Disney Movie Rewards).[citation needed]

Cancelled sequel

Before the film was released, a sequel to The Magic Roundabout was announced to be in development, with the voice cast expected to reprise their roles.[21] However, Action Synthese closed their doors in 2013, effectively ending any chances of a sequel being made.


  1. ^ "Doogal (2006)". The Numbers. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Doogal". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  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. ^ "The Magic Roundabout (2005)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  6. ^ "The Magic Roundabout review". BBC.
  7. ^ "The Magic Roundabout review". Time Out.
  8. ^ "The Magic Roundabout review". Empire.
  9. ^ "Doogal (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  10. ^ "Rotten Tomatoes Worst of the Worst (2000–2009)".
  11. ^ "12 Worst Animated Movies of All Time". Screen Rant. 22 November 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Doogal (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  13. ^ "Doogal". DVD Talk.
  14. ^ The Worst of 2006 — Siskel and Ebert Movie Reviews
  15. ^ "Movie Reviews". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  16. ^ "Find CinemaScore" (Type "Doogal" in the search box). CinemaScore. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  17. ^ "Stinkers Bad Movie Awards – 2006 Ballot". The Stinkers. Archived from the original on 4 May 2007. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  18. ^ Robots / Magic Roundabout / Chicken Run, retrieved 24 September 2021
  19. ^ Pollux le manège enchanté / Doogal, Alliance Films, 16 May 2006, retrieved 23 September 2021
  20. ^ "Back cover of the re-release".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. ^ 'Magic Roundabout' sequel planned – Digital Spy


So long, Zebedee.



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Everything seems fine.

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