Reviewed by: Shannon Hammell
|Featuring:||Keenan Thompson, Jimmy Fallon, Jon Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg, William H. Macy|
|Producer:||Laurent Rodon, Pascal Rodon, etc.|
|Distributor:||The Weinstein Company|
For the past several months, movie theaters have been hit with CGI animated cartoons such as “Chicken Little” and “Hoodwinked!”. Now, a film based on a 1970 British cartoon movie has come out into theaters. “Doogal” now joins the collective group of CGI animated motion pictures from 2005 and 2006.
Narrated by Judi Dench, the story takes place in a small community where humans and animals coexist with each other, and everyone is friends with everyone. Doogal (voiced by Daniel Tay) is a candy-addicted dog who merely looks out for himself and his best friend Florence (Kylie Minogue). His latest stunt involves sneaking out of a singing performance and “stopping” a candy clerk on the road (by putting a tack out to flatten the tires of the motorized cart) just to have his fix of jelly beans and lollipops. While the clerk goes for help, he sneaks into the basket of goodies, but accidentally starts the cart up again, and it speeds and crashes into the carousel in the middle of town, releasing three diamonds and an ice demon (who uses a spring to move around) named Zeebad (Jon Stewart).
Zeebad is now free from being captive in the town carousel and threatens to take over the world by freezing the sun once he has his hands on the three diamonds that were released. To prove that he means what he says, the carousel freezes shut, locking inside Florence and some other kids. Doogal’s friends, Dylan (Jimmy Fallon), Ermintrude (Whoopi Goldberg), and Brian (William H. Macy), call upon their wizard leader, Zebedee (Ian McKellen), who also uses a spring for mobility. After some taunting, Zeebad leaves the carousel frozen solid, and it is up to Doogal and his friends to find the three diamonds to save the world from being frozen.
The journey doesn ’t start out well. Doogal insists on not taking part in setting up camp for the first night away from home and expects someone else to cook dinner. His friends are less than enthused at his arrogance and make him the watchdog for the night. Ermintrude blames Doogal for what had happened. Soon after, Doogal bumps into Zeebad again and is kidnapped. Aiding Zeebad is Sam (Bill Hader), the toy soldier that once stood guard on the carousel. Apparently Sam isn ’t good at being a villain and is tricked by Doogal to feed him caramel candies. Doogal ’s friends drop in to save him, and after learning that their beloved wizard Zebedee may have perished after a fight with the springy ice demon, they continue their journey to find the three diamonds.
They encounter setback after setback. Doogal and friends have a habit of finding the diamonds, but end up running into Zeebad who snatches them away. With all three diamonds in tow, Doogal and his friends could only watch in horror as Zeebad attempts to freeze the sun with his newfound powers, keeping poor Florence inside the frozen carousel.
The film doesn ’t have any objectionable content except when Dylan goes to repair a boat they were using and says something about “pimping” it (a reference to automobile modifications, such as in the TV show “Pimp My Ride”). There ’s also a flatulent moose (Kevin Smith) that appears every so often in the film.
The movie, like most films geared toward children, teaches a moral—that friendship is what matters most, and teamwork is more important than looking out for one ’s own interests. It teaches kids not to be selfish and to be a team player. I can also see some Christian content in “Doogal”. Zebedee is presumed dead by his friends, but is partially frozen solid in a crevasse. He later comes out from what was his icy grave to help his town from becoming an icy tundra. In a sense, it is a parallel to Christ dying on the cross for us and resurrecting Himself to save mankind from sin. In dire times of need, Doogal calls upon his friends to not give up and to continue their fight against Zeebad. Doogal ’s love for his friend Florence reciprocates a verse in the Bible: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
“Doogal” is strictly for kids ages 10 and under. Anyone older than 10 will most likely be bored and annoyed with the bad jokes associated with various pop culture references. It has a wonderful story, but the film makers should never have remade the 1970 movie version. The jokes were bad, the dialogue was bad, and the premise itself is incredibly predictable. In fact, “Doogal” is another one of the three or four CGI films that came out this year that seem poorly done. The animation, without a doubt, is stellar, however it is no “Toy Story”, “Shrek”, or “Finding Nemo”. According to the Web site RottenTomatoes, it received a 15% rating (good films generate a 60% rating or more) and for good reason. It is just too unfunny and uninteresting to be a great movie.
Violence: Minor / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: None