Childhood memory spasm

The Magic RoundaboutI read recently, via the NewsAskew site, that Kevin Smith is doing one of the voices in a film called Doogal. It turns out that the film is The Magic Roundabout, retitled for the American audience.

I’ve inserted a poster of the film to the right. As you can see, the characters are of the same weighting, suggesting that the film is an ensemble piece. Calling it Doogal suggests there is a lead character. I am slightly annoyed.

My unjustifiable anger is rooted in my childhood, so you’ll have to excuse the completely irrational reaction. The Magic Roundabout was part of my childhood. (For more details, see this article at Television Heaven.) It was originally a French animation that was translated by Eric Thompson, who also provided the voices, and was Emma Thompson’s father. It lasted five minutes and I used to watch it before The 6 O’Clock News on BBC1. It wasn’t the greatest programme in the world, but I have a lot of nostalgia for it.

It was turned into a CGI film with celebrity voices; I have yet to see the film, but don’t need to for the sake of this rant. I’m not against the concept of films being renamed, although it made playing film-related word games with friends in the US more tricky. (I only learnt that the Madonna documentary, Truth or Dare, was called that, when I started going on about In Bed With Madonna to blank looks.) It happens all the time – Joyride became Roadkill, The Rundown became Welcome To The Jungle – but you don’t change the name of a film such that it changes the concept. The Magic Roundabout was about all of the characters. It wasn’t a typical protagonist-driven idea, so I find it insulting to completely change the basis of the story so that it is about a supposed lead character. Even worse, they’ve changed the spelling. It’s ‘Dougal’, for fuck’s sake!

Aaahhh, that was cathartic. To read something to cheer yourself up after reading this, have a look at Tom’s post about the preliminaries, pre-show and minute-by-minute account of the Golden Globes. Absolutely hilarious stuff.

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