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Sprung! The Magic Roundabout (2005)

The Magic Roundabout, The Magic Roundabout Movie, Pollux - Le manège enchanté

Taking the world by storm.

Directed by:

Dave Borthwick

Jean Duval & Frank Passingham

Rating: 4/10

Running Time: 85 minutes

UK Certificate: U

Country: France, United Kingdom

In the 1964 series of ‘The Magic Roundabout’, Eric “Emma’s dad” Thompson chose to ignore the original French scripts in favour of making up his own stories to go along with the pictures popping up on screen. In this cinematic update, with its CG animation and rock soundtrack, a lot more has been lost in translation than just language.

Everyone who remembers ‘Roundabout’ the first time around will be happy to hear that all the old favourites are back. There’s do-gooding girlie Florence (voiced by Kylie Minogue), scarf-wearing snail Brian (Jim Broadbent), hippy bunny Dylan (Bill Nighy), cud-loving cow Ermintrude (Joanna Lumley), shaggy dog Dougal (Robbie Williams), and moustachioed spring-man Zebedee (Ian McKellen). Throw into the mix Zebedee’s not-very-inventively-named arch-nemesis ZeBad (Tom Baker), who’s Hell-bent on freezing the entire planet (and, more to the point, the roundabout), and you’ve got yourself the makings of a slightly tenuously-written adventure.

No matter how adored the trippy kids’ TV show was (and still is, for that matter), this seems a bizarre franchise to resurrect now. After all, today’s young ‘uns won’t have a clue about the original, and the adults who still fondly remember the old series won’t find enough similarities here to satisfy any pangs of nostalgia (gone is the strangely pleasing serenity of the original, replaced with video game-style action sequences and shrill musical numbers).

So who is this film aimed at? Certainly not me. Although I quite liked the unique look of both the characters and the scenery (this is the sort of film that, if you’re going to see at all, you should make a point of seeing on the big screen), my interest waned dramatically as the story dragged on. And, judging by the agitated squirming going on amongst the kiddy-winks in attendance at this particular screening, I wasn’t the only one.

It's Got: An all-star line-up, and Robbie Williams.

It Needs: To do the quality of animation justice with a stronger screenplay.

Alternatives:

Ice Age

Summary

This well-meaning cartoon romp completely misses the point of the series it’s based on – but that’s not to say a little bit of me doesn’t still want to see a big-budget blockbuster remake of ‘The Herbs’. Just imagine the “very friendly lion called Parsley” losing the rag and going on a bloody rampage!

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