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  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 Jan
from Film Forum, 03/02/06

The previews for Doogal are boasting that it's coming to you from the same studio that made Hoodwinked. But that doesn't mean it was made by the same smart folks who made Hoodwinked. And that will be clear to anyone who sees it.

Based on a small-screen British cartoon that's become popular with all ages, Doogal is a movie that is far more ambitious—and unfortunately, far less enjoyable—than the television phenomenon. The movie is about a wicked sorcerer (Jon Stewart) who tries to gather magical stones that he can use to imprison earth in an everlasting winter. Maybe he learned that trick from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but he's no White Witch, and the heroes—led by a candy-loving dog—are nothing compared to the Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve.

Harry Forbes (Catholic News Service) says the tale is "uninspired," but it has "a commendable message about 'friendship being the best weapon,' and given the dearth of kid-friendly films, parents should find little offensive here. But no matter how indulgent, adults and even their toddlers may sense a tired retread of many other superior films like Wizard of Oz and Polar Express."

Marcus Yoars (Plugged In) says, "At times this visually enticing project nails its 10-and-under target audience with silly humor and simple lessons. For the rest of the hour-and-a-half it offers groan-inducing plays on words, nonstop asides (including highly out-of-place CSI, Matrix and Dr. Phil references), a case study in derivation, some really tepid voiceover work and a mega-dose of magic."