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Doogal (2006)

Comedy movie directed by Dave Borthwick, Frank Passingham, and Jean Duval

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A Feature that Flounders And Borders on Failure

  • Sep 28, 2010
Rating:
+2

After completing the generally ill-received film Doogal, I found myself pondering a single question: How in the world could something like this happen?  Surely Harvey Weinstein finds himself wondering the same thing.  I mean on paper (and even in trailers), this one looks fantastic: It’s got an absolutely stellar cast, a host of original characters, a plot that mimics large scale fantasy adventures like Lord of the Rings, and a massive following in its native UK (where it’s known as The Magic Roundabout).

However, in execution, this one manages to fall victim to just about every conceivable mark or poor filmmaking:  It’s poorly developed, oddly paced, downright boring at times, and certainly not as funny as a film featuring the likes of Jimmy Fallon, Chevy Chase, Jon Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg, Kevin “Silent Bob” Smith, and Bill Hader (to mention a few) should be.  But before we get to all that, let’s take moment to break down the plot structure shall we?

This is the story of Doogal (Daniel Tay), a fuzz ball candy-loving pooch who, after a series of irresponsible (and rather annoying) mishaps finds himself embarking upon a mission to save the world and perhaps more importantly his beloved owner Florence.

See it turns out that in the center of town, there exists a roundabout (that’s a merry-go-round to you and me) that, for whatever reason, serves as the eternal prison for an evil spring-legged wizard named Zeebad (Jon Stewart).

Doogal, through an obsession for candy and a blatant act of deceit, manages to free the evil Zeebad from his tomb and with that his dastardly plan of freezing the earth forever with the power of three mysterious diamonds scattered about the kingdom.

Never mind that Doogal can single-handedly be attributed to causing the entire disaster in the first place, we’re supposed to cheer on this little fur ball as he recruits pals Dylan, a guitar-playing rabbit (voiced by Jimmy Fallon), Ermintrude, an opera-singing cow (Whoopi Goldberg), Train, a choo-choo train with personality (Chevy Chase) and Brian, a well-spoken snail with a crush on the cow (William H Macy).

Together this ragtag group of heroes traverse ice-capped mountains, navigate fiery pits of lava, and sail across vast oceans on the perilous journey to recover each of the three diamonds before Zeebad can.

Fortunately when things get really desperate they can call upon the good living spring wizard guy Zebedee (voiced by living legend Ian McKellen).  Oh and in case you were wondering how they fit in, Kevin Smith voices a moose with a terrible case of flatulence and Bill Hader’s acting abilities are harnessed for purpose of a living British toy soldier named Sam.  Even the thankless miscellaneous voices of extras and background characters aren’t generic here as The Office’s John Krasinski (who plays the infectiously drab Jim Halpert) was called upon for the task.  Again how could this much talent possibly derail?

Perhaps part of the problem stems from the fact that unlike most animated feature films, which basically start life with a loosely drafted script for which the actors can play with while adlibbing, Doogal was already a completed film when the cast got started.  As a result, what actually took place in the production process was a voice-over dub job rather than an original animated feature.  There is little doubt that the restrictions of trying to keep time with the original sequences (and harder still, attempts to match mouth flaps) ate into the comedic abilities of all involved- and it shows.

Then there’s the sheer oddness of it all.  Granted as Pixar and DreamWorks have proven time and time again, part of the charm of the computer animated medium is the ability to caricaturize reality but here it borders on Alice in Wonderland style wackiness.  Merry-go-rounds that serve as prisons for evil sorcerers; that are in daily use mind you, living metal springs amidst a group of talking animals, a Moose that cuts the cheese constantly yet complains that the evil wizard stinks, and a lead character that nobody can be sure whether they love or hate are a few of the examples I can recall.

If I can offset my complaints with one simple justification, it would be this: The cute visuals will likely appeal to younger children not yet mature enough to watch this type of picture for intelligent dialog or masterful pacing.  The slapstick will most certainly appeal as well.  The majority of the humor included, however, is based on the concept of rapid-fire pop culture references.  Some of these work, others are pretty corny.  The sad reality is that by the time the audience is socially aware enough to recognize the references, they’ll likely also be aware enough to realize this really isn’t solid story telling.

In all this is one most fans of quality computer animation should pass over.  Very young kids might enjoy the visuals and the odd British charm throughout but everyone else would be better off looking elsewhere.

A Feature that Flounders And Borders on Failure A Feature that Flounders And Borders on Failure A Feature that Flounders And Borders on Failure A Feature that Flounders And Borders on Failure

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September 29, 2010
Hm...don't think this would be for me. Nice going, bro!
September 29, 2010
Woop- even a cast this amazing couldn't salvage it. Thanks for the read my man.
 
September 28, 2010
Nice review. I probably won't see this one. I was never that interested, lol.
September 29, 2010
Thanks Adrianna- Nope no need to waste good money on this one.
September 29, 2010
Always good to know!
 
September 28, 2010
I got this one for Kevin Smith but I have to admit this was a bit of a let down, great review as always.
September 28, 2010
Thanks FM_A! I'm pounding through these bad boys, one at a time. I have the second Madagascar on my short list. Stay tuned bro!
 
1
More Doogal (2006) reviews
review by . April 02, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
I've often found that young children go into animated movies with the same mindset: they'll love it even before the lights in the theater go dim. And what's not to love? Everything is bright, wacky, and fun, no one gets killed, and a happy ending is virtually guaranteed. Of course, adults have a different set of standards for the films they'd prefer to see. Sure, a family film is okay; at least then there's something for everyone. But if they're forced to sit through a cartoon made entirely for …
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Jason Rider (AKA OneNeo on Amazon.com) is the author of the successful children's fantasy novel series The Uncommon Adventures of Tucker O'Doyle from Bellissima Publishing.      … more
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Wiki

A herd of American celebrities--from Whoopi Goldberg to Kevin Smith--have been corralled to redubDoogal, formerly a CGI cartoon from England calledThe Magic Roundaboutbased on a French stop-motion tv show from the 1960s calledLe Manege Enchante. The title character is a dustmop with a face--presumably a dog of some sort--whose craving for sweets inadvertently traps his beloved owner Florence in a frozen carousel and unleashes an evil wintry wizard named Zeebad (voiced by Jon Stewart,The Daily Show). Doogal and his ragtag group of friends--singing cow Ermintrude (Goldberg,Sister Act), hopeful snail Brian (William H. Macy,Fargo), slacker rabbit Dylan (Jimmy Fallon,Fever Pitch), and a choo-choo train (Chevy Chase,Fletch)--must find three enchanted diamonds to stop Zeebad and bring spring back to the world. Presumably,Doogal's target audience is the very young, yet the dialogue (rewritten for the American market) is crammed with allusions to adult fare likeSaturday Night LiveandPulp Fiction. In fact--though it may have seemed differently with the original script--the entire movie comes across as an ungainly patchwork stitched together from scenes fromThe Wizard of Oz,Raiders of the Lost Ark,The Matrix,Ice Age, and much more. The effect is not so much funny as inexplicable. Also featuring the voices of Judi Dench (Iris), Ian McKellen (X-Men), and pop star Kylie Minogue.--Bret Fetzer
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Details

DVD Release Date: May 16, 2006
Runtime: 78 minutes
Studio: Weinstein Company
First to Review
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