The country that brought us Teletubbies now delivers to our doorstep Doogal, easily the worst kids movie since Spy Kids 3-D.
Doogal is a confusing blur of a magical quest based on an ancient British stop-motion animation TV show. It did well enough in Britain, but it has been revoiced for American audiences by the former Miramax Weinsteins, Harvey and Bob, who apparently learned nothing from their years of working for Disney except a hatred for good animation (see Hoodwinked).
There are these two wizards that look like jack-in-the-boxes, with springs for bottoms. Ian McKellan voices one. Jon Stewart does the other. Guess which one makes the lame Lord of the Springs joke?
The evil wizard (Stewart) wants to freeze the fairyland where the opera-singing cow (Whoopi Goldberg), the stoic snail (William H. Macy), the intrepid bunny (Jimmy Fallon) and the accident-prone dog, Doogal (Daniel Tay), live. To save the world, and Doogal's girl (voiced by Kylie Minogue), they have to find three enchanted diamonds and keep them out of the Evil Wiz's clutches.
Yes, there were a lot of drugs in Britain in the '60s. And maybe now.
The SuperFriends rely on their pal the train. He's voiced by Chevy Chase, so you can tell the Weinsteins haven't been following his career.
The 3-D animation looks like charmless test material from Corpse Bride, more computerized than animated. And the voices land not one joke, despite vain efforts by Stewart and whoever rewrote his bits to make it hip.
Little snippets of old pop songs pepper the score. A flatulent moose (Kevin Smith) earns a titter from the tots.
Doogal is preceded by the once-amusing Oscar-nominated animated short from a couple of years back, Gopher Broke.
DIRECTORS: Jean Duval, Frank Passingham, Dave Borthwick
CAST: The voices of Ian McKellan, Jon Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg, William H. Macy, Jimmy Fallon, Chevy Chase, Judi Dench
RUNNING TIME: 1 hour, 21 minutes.