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Movie Review

Doogal

Reviewed by: Shannon Hammell
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids, Family
Genre:
Animation, Comedy, Family, Kids
Length:
1 hr. 25 min.
Year of Release:
2006
USA Release:
February 24, 2006 (wide)
Copyright, The Weinstein Company
Copyright, The Weinstein Company
Copyright, The Weinstein Company
Copyright, The Weinstein Company
Copyright, The Weinstein Company
Copyright, The Weinstein Company
Copyright, The Weinstein Company
Copyright, The Weinstein Company
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Featuring: Keenan Thompson, Jimmy Fallon, Jon Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg, William H. Macy
Director: Butch Hartman
Producer: Laurent Rodon, Pascal Rodon, etc.
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Copyrighted, 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


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I rented this for my 3 year old, and he absolutely loves it!! I am probably going to get it for him for Christmas. I have to agree that Doogal himself is not my favorite character, but he has a good heart… is just a bit lazy and sassy. Train is adorable, and the cow (played by whoopie) is funny… wouldn’t expect any less. The references to other movies made it entertaining for me, and I found myself stopping my housework to watch it again. The things in it that might have been left out would be the “tooting” moose, but even this was not done in an offensive way. He toots, but no one says anything, so I don’t even call attention to it. Train says, “oops, I tooted”…but I told my son (when he informed me that trains don’t have bottoms) that they toot-toot with their whistle. It DOES say stupid once or twice, and idiot once (but at least it was the bad guy that said that). One character says 'I pooped my pants'…hopefully my son won’t choose that line to repeat, but I can think of much worse. Overall, I think it was a good movie for small children. The wizards and magic, I don’t believe go against Christianity… any more than the magic in Cinderella or other classics like that. It promoted friendship and teamwork, and good wins in the end. A-
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Carrie, age 32
Neutral
Neutral—I just saw this movie with my 3 year old daughter. We both enjoyed it, although she did find some parts a little scary. I would not take a sensitive child who is easily scared. My daughter did make it through and said at the end that “it wasn’t too scary.” There are a good and bad “wizard” portrayed in the movie so if magic offends you don’t see this movie. (There are a few questionable quotes such as “good magic never dies.”)

If you take in this movie purely for entertainment, which we did, it is a pleaser. Mom and Dad won’t be bored, as there are sneaky references to movies such as LOTR and the Matrix that make us laugh, and there is enough action to keep kids attention. It isn’t the greatest animated film I’ve seen, but I wasn’t bored to tears either.
My Ratings: Average / 4
—April Hardwick, age 27
Negative
Negative—I took my 6 year old daughter to see this. From a parent’s perspective, this movie was quite boring. I almost fell asleep during the movie. I thought it would be similiar to “Hoodwinked” (which I enjoyed), because I’d heard that it came from the same makers.

There were some similiarities as far as using rock music and the already seen “roller coaster” ride. (In “Hoodwinked” it was mining cars; in this one, it’s trains.) I was surprised to see (or hear) so many famous actors in the film. None of whom my daughter knew, but whom I picked up on (most notably, the familiar Whoopi Goldberg and Jon Stewart). The most positive thing about the movie is the lesson about friendship. With all that said, now for the criticisms.

The plot of the movie is so weak, it’s the personality and the loveability of the characters that keeps this movie going. Be warned that they do refer to “magic” quite often in the movie. There is a pretty sizeable section in the movie in which skeletons with demon-looking eyes come up out of the ground and a big fight ensues. My daughter is sensitive, so this part scared her. Just when you think that scary section is done, it comes back for more (so parents with young sensitive children be warned). Plus, there is a moose character that is weaved into this tale that never misses his screen time with the passing of gas. I understand that kids can find this humorous, but the joke had run it’s course with the moose.

I was also disappointed in the character Doogal, himself. Yes, he turns out to be the hero of the show, but only at the end. Through most of the show, he is a very reluctant hero. He does want to save his friend, but allows his friends to do most of the work. I found myself wondering why they called this movie “Doogal” in the first place. He has an addiction to candy and doesn’t miss a chance to come up with a scheme to get some. Though Doogal was visually “cute,” he was my least favorite character in the movie.

With all that said, I would have to say I enjoyed “Hoodwinked” better. I don’t think my daughter and I will see this one a second time.
My Ratings: Average / 5
—Dawn, age 34
Negative—Why bother waching a movie with no plot. It was slow. Dumb jokes. I like “Hoodwinked” better this one.
My Ratings: Average / 2
—Thomas Dickensheets, age 44
Negative—Please don’t go to see this movie—plotless, like teletubbies, except it’s longer. Even my three and four year old got bored.
My Ratings: Average / 1
—Cliff Cannon, age 43
Comments from young people
Neutral—Me and my 10 year old sister saw this movie. I thought it was boring, But, she liked it. I think this movie would be better for young kids, There’s nothing wrong with it and it teaches a good lesson.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3
—Ashley, age 13
Positive—A great movie!! …It actually has a lot of 12 year-old humor! Not just for 5-7 year olds. An excellent movie! The animation and previews may look like a waste of time, but it is SO not. It’s worth a trip to Blockbuster!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4½
—Emily, age 12
Positive—“Doogal” was cute and deserved its rating as “G.” The only possible thing that may offend some folk is that magic is used a lot and discussed throughout the movie. Though what do you really expect from children films these days?
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Emily, age 11 (USA)