Doogal is the official American English-language dub of BTSW (released in France as Pollux - Le manège enchanté), a 2005 French-British computer-animated adventure fantasy film based on the TV series of the same name. Doogal was released in the United States, where audiences are not as familiar with the series on February 24, 2006. While the original version of the movie and the television series it was based on had mixed critical feedback, Doogal is considered to be one of the worst animated movies or dubs ever made. It is a rare case where a dub of a movie and the original are judged on different spectrums.
This movie is the story of Doogal, an adorable candy-loving mutt who goes on a mission to save the world. Doogal must prevent the evil sorcerer Zeebad from freezing the earth forever with the power of the three mysterious legendary diamonds. Joining Doogal on his big quest are pals Dylan, a guitar-playing rabbit, Ermintrude, an opera-singing cow, and Brian, a bashful snail. Hopping on a magic train, they travel over ice-capped mountains, navigate fiery pits of lava, and sail across vast oceans on the perilous journey of a lifetime. Along the way, they learn that the most powerful weapon of all is their friendship - which even Zeebad's magic cannot destroy!
Why It Sucks
Note: This will only focus on issues present in Doogal (the American version of The Magic Roundabout) - references to any narrative issues present in the French/UK English dubs are based on their continued problematic presence in the former
- Overuse of pointless narration (presumably in an attempt to justify the cost of hiring Judi Dench in the role) of things that viewers can see for themselves, often undercutting several of the film's more prominent dramatic scenes (most notably Zeebad's breakout and the slow-motion climax)
- Poor humor, consisting mostly of constant pop culture references and flatulence jokes which were not in the original British version. The film therefore suffers from an incessant number of context-irrelevant and overly rapid-fire pop-culture allusions, some of the more egregious as follows:
- One scene where the now-audible skeletons flat out mention "Here’s Johnny" from The Shining, one of the skeletons 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 "I said no more Disney Jokes", and one yells wazzup from Scary Movie.
- Upon discovery of the hidden tunnel, Zeebad says, "Well, someone’s been watching CSI."
- A reference to BTSW is said during the chase scene where Zeebad says "Are we gonna lose this race to Thomas the Tank Engine?"
- When the gang finds the first diamond, Dylan catches the diamond and lustfully claims "My Precious" then "Just Kidding", referencing Lord of the Rings.
- During the camping scene, there was added sound effects where Brian is playing a video game and he mentions Master Chief from Halo. Even though he never owned a gaming console in the original movie!
- During the temple scene with the skeletons, Dylan mentions Pink Floyd, and Neo from The Matrix.
- When Train first appears, he says, "I'm the train, and you're not", which references Saturday Night Live.
- Ermintrude says of the skeletons, "Lookin' all Dawn of the Dead and everything.", referencing Dawn of the Dead.
- At one point of the film, Dylan says "What's Up, Doc?", which is Bugs Bunny's catchphrase.
- The Train says "I think I can, I think I can" when trying to climb back up the ledge which is a reference to both Dumbo and The Little Engine That Could.
- Doogal mentions Hogwarts from Harry Potter.
- Zeebad mentions Star Trek during the chase scene.
- There are so many random pop-culture references that we wish to add to the list, but all 27 are listed in IMDb here.
- Screenwriter Cory Edwards, co-writer of Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, is mostly to blame for these unfunny jokes.
- The original version of the movie was already in English - while it can be argued that US cultural preferences differ to the extent where a redub could be justified (particularly in light of the unfamiliarity of the franchise to general US audiences), the redub in question attempts to distance itself from the UK dub by exaggerating its 'Americanized' humour and dialogue to an absurd, almost self-parodying degree, indicating the WC's approach to adapting the film to be overly extreme.
- The Trailer is False Advertisement: It claims the movie is created by Butch Hartman (though he isn’t mentioned) with the line "From the creator of The Fairly Odd Parents", this is 100% false since he only wrote only 3% of his script for the movie that appears in the final version.
- The majority of the original British voices have been dubbed over by celebrities more familiar to the American public, solely for target nationality/to increase box office returns and regardless of the extent to which these actors actually fit their respective roles (such as Kevin Smith as the infamous flatulent moose). Only two members of the original British cast, Ian McKellen and Kylie Minogue return to reprise their roles.
- However, Minogue decided to re-dub her role with an American accent, while McKellen remained the only character whose voice was unchanged.
- It has no sense of pacing. Give the Pokémon DP: Sinnoh League Victors episode "Pokémon Ranger: Heatran Rescue" credit.
- In the original version of the film, some aspects like the Train and the Moose barely speak. But in this movie, they were given voices solely to provide Kevin Smith and Chevy Chase cameo appearances (also in the original United Kingdom version, the moose did not talk, but the train could do so).
- The lip-syncing is very poor.
- Terrible voice acting, even from famous actors such as Jimmy Fallon, Whoopi Goldberg, and Jon Stewart. Barely any of the cast show enthusiasm.
- On a related note, the voice of Doogal provided by Daniel Tay sounds nothing like Robbie Williams. Also, why would Doogal need a voice of a child?
- In the first trailer of Doogal, they kept Doogal’s original actor, but not in the actual movie!
- The characters are flanderized in this dub. For example, Doogal became a fat cowardly idiot.
- Many scenes and bits were cut and moved around in this version for continuity. For example, a post-credit scene showing Zeebad in his prison was removed from the American version for unknown reasons, and live footage of the American actors recording for the film was added into the end credits. A sequence that features the song "Mr. Blue Sky" by Electric Light Orchestra was moved to the very end of the film, as a credits song. Every shot that involved Zeebad's ice fortress was also cut from this movie. Glimpses of the fort can be seen in the background in a few shots, but it's never shown in full view.
- Poor grasp of the source material, especially for an adaptation (despite American audiences' lack of familiarity with the 1960s TV basis).
- It is revealed at the end of the movie that the ice enclosing the carousel could've been cracked through conventional means since Ermintrude breaks the ice with her singing.
- Nice soundtrack.
- The animation is at least, decent.
- The fight scene between Zebedee and Zeebad is nothing short of awesome.
- There is an unintentionally funny moment in the form of the "GET THE DI-A-MONDS!" scene.
- The film is far superior in French and British English. It also has Tom Baker (better known as the Fourth Doctor from Doctor Who) as the voice of Zeebad instead of Jon Stewart, providing Zeebad, despite his relative lack of defined characterization, with a more imposing and menacing presence absent from Stewart's more comic depiction.
- At least Florence and Zebedee don’t make lame pop cultural references unlike everyone else.
- TTSW, who wrote the original draft of the American dub, apologized for the movie, claiming that only 3% of his script appears in the final version (approximately only two lines of dialogue).
The original version received mixed to negative 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". 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. 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". Total Film also ranked it among the worst animated movies ever made.
Critics, audiences and fans of the original show alike largely panned the American version for being an unneeded dub of another movie whose script was already in English, the very weak pop culture references (when there weren't any in the French and British versions of the movie), and most importantly, the very poor lip-syncing. Screen Rant and other sites ranked it as the worst animated movie ever made.
Rotten Tomatoes gave the American dub an 8% rotten score based on 49 reviews with its critic's consensus stating "Overloaded with pop culture references, but lacking in compelling characters and plot, Doogal is too simple-minded even for the kids." The same site also ranked the American dub 82nd in their "Worst of the Worst (2000-2009)" list for the top 100 worst-reviewed movies of the 2000s. IMDb gave the American dub a 2.8 out of 10 rating in contrast to the original's 5.3 out of 10 rating.
Also unlike the French-British CGI film, which was a success at the box office worldwide, the American version miserably failed at the box office, holding a record (for the time) of having the worst opening week for a computer-animated movie ever, only gaining $3,605,899 on its opening week and $7,417,319 overall domestically out of its budget of $20 million. The record was later surpassed by 2008's Delgo at $511,920 on its opening week and $694,782 worldwide against a budget of $40 million.
- So far, this is the only film to be produced by Action Synthese.
- This was the final film to be produced by bolexbrothers before DHX Media acquired it.
- A sequel to this film was in development in 2004 by Action Synthese before the film was released. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your point of view), Action Synthese shut down in 2013, and the sequel, along with an animated film adaptation of The Wizard of Oz and a CGI film of Space Goofs called Stupid Invaders (not be confused of the video game of the same name released in 2001), were both canceled.