Sunday, March 27, 2011

Worst of the Worst: #83, Doogal

America is so uncouth. Compared to our finer cousins on "The Continent" we are just a bunch of drawling hicks, like a less-gentlemanly Quincey Morris. Take, for instance, the French and British kids show, The Magic Roundabout. It's a show from the late '60s -- the British version was written and narrated by Emma Thompson's father -- shot in stop motion animation about a magical town with a magical carousel in its center and the adventures of a goofy but loyal dog, Dougal, who lived there. Years later, the French and then British made a computer-animated movie about the cartoon and the movie did quite well.

And here come those crappy Americans. Nobody here knows anything about the show, but the movie did well in the UK, so producers brought it over and redubbed it with mostly American actors. They carried over Kylie Minogue, Judi Dench, and Ian McKellen, but, for instance, replaced Bill Nighy with Jimmy Fallon and Ray Winstone with Bill Hader. Good omen, right? Plus, because nobody here knew the story, they were able to stray from the earnestness of the kids show (yay!) and make it a bunch of inappropriate pop culture references and fart sound effects. A kids movie where every line is taken from Pulp Fiction? Yes, please!

It's this dialogue and this lack of care about the source material that dooms the movie. You don't want to blame the voice talent like Whoopi Goldberg and William H. Macy and John Stewart, but they seem to reading the lines in a total vacuum. There is no emotional connection and it is obvious. You end up with a bunch of stuff happening that you can't possibly care about and that makes this boring. Really, really boring. Had to rewind a few times because I drifted into a daydream and missed a plot point. Easily the worst kids movie I've ever seen and it holds the record for lowest-grossing computer animated film ever (I learned in reading about that that the average computer animated kids movie makes around $130 million!). I imagine some kids might like a dog that eats lots of candy or a snail and cow being in love with each other, but if my kid is going to like weird stuff, it's going to be at least well-made. I've never seen an episode of the Steve Carrell The Office because I'm too much of a snob about the British one. I'm passing that snobbery on, no matter how American my kid is.

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