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Genius Products presents
Doogal (2005)

"And I am the Lord of the Springs!"
- Zeebad (Jon Stewart)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: May 15, 2006

Stars: Chevy Chase, Judi Dench, Jimmy Fallon, Whoopi Goldberg
Other Stars: Bill Hader, William H. Macy, Ian McKellen, Kylie Minogue, Kevin Smith, Jon Stewart, Daniel Tay
Director: Jean Duval, Frank Passingham, Dave Borthwick

MPAA Rating: G for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:16m:43s
Release Date: May 16, 2006
UPC: 796019791694
Genre: animation

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

In a time when CGI reigns supreme in animated features, Doogal is a blatant attempt to cash in on a trend. The film came and went from the multiplexes in what seemed like only a week, although the nation's critics found the time to bash it. While few moviegoers took the time to see if such bashing was warranted, Doogal is being unleashed upon unsuspecting parents and their kids on DVD, following a very quick turnaround.

Doogal (Daniel Tay) is a floppy-haired dog owned by Florence (Kylie Minogue). One day, in their magical world, Doogal accidentally causes a candy cart to collide with a carousel, releasing the mean wizard, Zeebad (Jon Stewart), and trapping Florence and some of her friends inside the carousel. Doogal seeks the help of friends Ermintrude the cow (Whoopi Goldberg), Dylan the rabbit (Jimmy Fallon), Zebedee the wizard (Ian McKellen), and Brian the snail (William H. Macy) to mount a rescue. Zeebad is on a quest to freeze the world, and Doogal and company, with the help of a train (Chevy Chase), must stop him and save Florence.

One of Doogal's many cringe-inducing flaws is the sheer volume of pop culture puns thrown around. We get references from King Kong, Tomb Raider, the Lord of the Rings films; even Pulp Fiction isn't safe from these writers. The problem is, all of the gags are so obvious and forced, they don't produce a single laugh. Apparently a flatulent moose is supposed to be funny too, as various attempts at amusing scatological humor come into play far too often. A story like this should at least be appealing to the little ones, but many of these references will be over their heads, and the characters just aren't cute enough to make a lasting impression.

This was one of the more difficult kids' movies I've had to sit through in quite some time. As if the horrible puns weren't bad enough, we're stuck with cheap-looking CGI animation throughout. Actually, many of today's video games feature animation that is far superior to Doogal's, making it even more puzzling that this garbage was even released in theaters.

There's nothing endearing about any of these characters, regardless of the voice talent behind them. While I'm not sure that Jimmy Fallon can be any more annoying than he is here (and I'm one of his fans), his character, Dylan, has barely one redeeming quality: he's a guitarist. This pun-spouting rabbit has almost no personality, but he's not alone, as Ermintrude and Brian are just as bland. Even Ian McKellen can't breathe any life into the film as a good wizard, a role he's more than mastered in the past. Mercifully clocking in at a mere 75 minutes, Doogal is a short, sluggish animated film that even your little ones won't want to watch more than once.

Rating for Style: D+
Rating for Substance: D-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - P&S
Original Aspect Ratioyesno

Image Transfer Review: Despite the rather poor animation, this 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation is very nice. The images are consistently sharp, with bright, vivid colors that remained lively throughout. Deep blacks are a nice plus, while there aren't any print flaws on display.

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is also impressive, crafting an enveloping experience that will entrance kids, even if the story and characters don't. A wide dynamic range is complimented by tight, aggressive bass that especially comes to life when the magical train in on the scene. The music works in tandem with crisp, clear dialogue, and ambient sounds come across as realistic.

Audio Transfer Grade: A


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 15 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring Hoodwinked
1 Documentaries
Packaging: Keep Case
1 Disc
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The only extras are the trailer for Hoodwinked, the theatrical trailer for Doogal, and the nearly 16-minute The Making of Doogal. This piece consists of interviews with the creators and voice talents involved, as well as various types of behind-the-scenes footage. This is a generally informative segment that provides quite a bit of insight into what goes into an animated feature.

Extras Grade: C


Final Comments

With a huge slate of animated films to choose from, Doogal is to be considered a last resort. Without any likeable characters or interesting story elements, this picture can't hold a candle to the likes of Shrek, Toy Story, or any classic or not-so-classic animated feature. The Weinstein Company's Genius Products DVD label delivers Doogal to disc with excellent audio and video, but not much in the way of extras.


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