DoogalReviewed By Doug Bentin
Posted 03/08/06 15:16:13
Well, they don’t come more inconsequential than “Doogal,” the new animated feature film from France about a talking dog and his buddies—a rabbit, a snail, a cow, and a train on the trail of an evil Jack-in-the-Box who has turned the world into a giant snow-cone but without the sticky red and green stuff.There are no words to describe this new computer animated movie from across the pond, but “boring,” “inept,” “confused,” and “eccch” come mighty close. It’s another of those too-cool-for-the-room hipster fractured fairy tales, only with tired voice talent—including Chevy Chase, Whoopi Goldberg, Jimmy Fallon, William H. Macy, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, and Jon Stewart—and animation that wouldn’t place in the top ten of the Olympics of Crappy Cartoons.
It’s about this dog and his pals who have to locate and retrieve three magic diamonds so they can capture an evil wizard and force him to undo the damage he did when he froze the world. Take my word for it, you can read that last sentence until your head implodes and it’ll never sound like it describes a movie you want to see.
Judi Dench, just one of many big names who signed on for an easy paycheck in this Americanized trifle from the land of the Franks, serves as our Narrator. She tells us that wherever this magic place is, it’s a happy land, but one day a greedy, cowardly, inept condog named Doogal—that’s as in canine conman, not misspelled “corndog”—sets loose Zeebad (Jon Stewart sounding eerily like Tom Hanks), an evil wizard who wants to flash freeze the planet because, well, just because he’s evil. I think he’s hiding weapons of mass destruction, or something.
Doogal’s little girl mistress is frozen inside a merry-go-round and the only way to free her is to pursue Zeebad with the rabbit, cow, etc. Assisting them is Zebedee, the good wizard (Ian McKellen). I don’t think we were told why a wizard needed help from a bunch of numbnuts talking animals, but the only real magic in this movie is its relentless senselessness.
This English language version of the script was prepared by Butch Hartman, creator of a wild and mostly funny kids’ TV show called “Fairly Odd Parents.” Hartman burlesques pop culture and fairy tale motifs pretty well in this 24-minute program, but with a script three-times that long, most of his gags fall remarkably flat. At one point Zeebad threatens the snail (a seemingly humiliated William H. Macy) by saying that he is sending out for garlic butter. No kid who is at least in first grade is going to enjoy this movie, so who is a joke like that aimed at? Is it for the parents who are working off some bad karma by wading through this bilge with their kids? And if you’re going to write some gags for adults, shouldn’t they be funny? I’m only asking.
Whoopi Goldberg is the cow, Jimmy Fallon is the rabbit, Chevy Chase is the train, and Daniel Tay is Doogal, surely the most irritating lead character in an animated film since “Adam Sandler’s Eight Annoying Nights,” or whatever that horror was called. I’ve already commented on his dubious character traits, so unless you want to teach your children that being obnoxious has its rewards you’ll avoid this poorly animated, badly written movie as you would stinky mayonnaise.
Yeah, let’s talk about the animation for a minute. This looks like the computer programming came from a book called “CG for Dummies.” When the big boys in the field, like Pixar and Blue Sky, raise the bar with each new release, what’s the point of unleashing such amateurish work? This makes “Hoodwinked” look like “Spirited Away.” It’s pitiful.
“Doogal” looks like a direct to video flick that the Weinstein brothers thought they could squeeze a couple of bucks from in theaters. Don’t fall for it. If your kids ask you to take them to see it, make them stay home and clean their rooms instead. When they get older, they’ll thank you for it.Rated “G,” as in “godawful,” and it’s unrelievedly for the toddler set. I was never young enough to enjoy pap like this, and I thank whatever gods may be for it.
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