The Magic Roundabout: The Movie (U)
Time Out saysThe film industry’s trend for plundering the TV archives continues here with the release of a CGI-animated rendition of one of the 1960s’ most successful children’s series. Back then, sproglings warmed to ‘The Magic Roundabout’s’ cast of cute ‘stop-frame’ characters and its country cottage-style settings, while parents peered over their heads to smirk at what they were convinced was either a political satire or some drug-addled fantasy. Sadly, all subverse mischievousness has been siphoned off here in favour of a simple, mostly anodyne adventure. Nevertheless, the result, while hardly gratifying, is marginally better than we expected.
The story’s clearly aimed at the ‘Teletubbies’ fraternity who would never question a scenario as ridiculous as this: in his greedy pursuit of snacks, woolly pooch Dougal inadvertently releases a baddie called Zeebad (a new character) who proceeds to freeze the eponymous roundabout and its surroundings. The only way to solve an icy crisis is for Dougal and his pals – including the highly sprung Zebedee and Dylan the hippy rabbit – to go on a ‘Raiders’-style adventure to locate three magical diamonds. Naturally, the group encounters dangers along the way, but – surprise, surprise – it all pans out in the end.
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. And, against all expectations, Robbie Williams’ voiceover for Dougal has turned out to be really rather charming. Indeed, he 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.