The Magic Roundabout (2005)
The Magic Roundabout (Pollux - Le manège enchanté) is a 2005 French-British computer-animated adventure fantasy film based on the television series of the same name. It was produced by the French animation studio Action Synthese and was released by Pathé in France with a French dub before an English-language version was released two weeks later.
When Dougal accidentally releases the evil ice wizard Zeebad from his prison, he embarks on a quest with his friends, Brian the cynical snail, Ermintrude the opera-singing cow and Dylan the hippie rabbit sent by Zebedee to retrieve three diamonds in order to rescue Florence, who was trapped in the frozen Magic Roundabout, and to re-imprison Zeebad before he gets them first where he will use them to freeze the world again.
Why It Rocks
Note: This will only focus on the original UK and French dubbed versions of The Magic Roundabout.
- It's good to see Dougal and his friends back after 13 years.
- It's a very good way to bring Dougal and his friends to the silver screen.
- Superb and decent CGI animation, compared to the original 1963 stop-motion animated TV series of the same name, and still holds up quite well.
- Nice soundtrack composed by Mark Thomas, including the orchestral version of The Magic Roundabout theme song.
- It is loaded with classic 1970s pop hits, like "Magic" by Pilot.
- It even has a rendition of the original theme song sung by Kylie Minogue, who voiced Florence.
- It has a great and epic plot.
- Many funny moments.
- There is an unintentionally funny moment in the form of the "GET THE DI-A-MONDS!" scene.
- The characters from the original show, including Dougal, Florence, Zebedee, Brian, Ermintrude and Dylan, are still likeable and memorable in their own ways.
- The fight scene between Zebedee and Zeebad is nothing short of awesome.
- The modified character designs for the film, including Dougal, are very impressive.
- It introduced some new characters like Soldier Sam and Zeebad, the latter being a very fearsome main villain.
- The relationship between Dougal and Florence is very heartwarming.
- The film is far superior in French and British English.
- Spectacular voice acting from those like Tom Baker (better known as the Fourth Doctor from Doctor Who) as Zeebad and Bill Nighy as Dylan, especially in both UK and French versions of the film.
- The ending of the film is really happy and charming.
- Some scenes, like the opening nightmare sequence, can be frightening for younger viewers.
- Plot hole: as revealed near the end of the film, the ice enclosing the titular Magic Roundabout could have been cracked through conventional means, since Ermintrude shatters the ice with her singing.
- Some of the jokes can be inappropriate for a children's movie:
- In one scene, when Dylan mentions that he has "something stashed that might help us", referring to Zebedee's magic box, Brian accuses him of experimenting with illegal substances.
- While the film is faithful to the source material, some moments have a poor grasp such as the fact that there was obviously no major villain in the original series, with the exception of Dougal and the Blue Cat.
- The story, while not bad, has no sense of pacing.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an aggregate score of 60% and an average score of 5.14/10 based on five reviews (three positive and two negative). Joe Utichi of FilmFocus wrote the following: "For all its undeniable promise, this take on The Magic Roundabout is just plain disastrous in its execution." Matthew Turner of ViewLondon wrote: "In short, The Magic Roundabout is an enjoyable family film that will delight young audiences and is liable to send nostalgic 30-somethings on a (sadly, futile) quest to find the original series on DVD. Worth seeing."
- This was Action Synthese's only animated film as there was a sequel in development before the film was released. Unfortunately, Action Synthese closed its doors in 2013, and the sequel, along with other animated films that were in development were cancelled.