from Pantperthog to Knockando

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Magic Roundabout

There’s always a danger when they remake a classic. In fact, the only time I’ve seen Cath distraught after a film was after the feature film version of The Cat in the Hat, when the memory of the original inventive classic was violated by a sleazy sub-plot and tacky jokes.

So on to this – would it be another redactive post modern disaster or not? The good news is that it’s actually very good. The anarchic, understated humour of the original series is still there; the quirks of the characters, each of them essentially good yet flawed, make them as endearing as ever. And the villain is genuinely bad – not just misunderstood, or a product of his upbringing, but genuinely bad. Which is how villains ought to be, really.

Irony Boy wasn’t that impressed by it, but there were times when even he laughed. The animation was fairly good, the surreal nature of the original stop-motion continuing in the CGI. The vocal talent on show was top drawer: Ian McKellen playing Zebedee as Gandalf, Tom Baker as Zebedee's evil nemesis Zeebad, Robbie Williams, Joanna Lumley, Bill Nighy, Jim Broadbent and Lee Evans, playing the train.

There were some new bits too. I don’t remember fearsome zombie skeletons in the original series. It was a bit strange that the new moose character couldn’t talk, when the other animals can. And there were a few knowing nods to the controversy over whether Dylan was a stoner or not, e.g. "I’ve got something stashed away we could use." "Dylan, we don’t have time to experiment with your recreational activities." or "I can see grass! Sweet, sweet grass!"

But the best line was the smitten Brian gazing up into the night sky and asking the object of his affection, Ermintrude the cow: "Is that the milky way?"

"Brian, that’s not the sort of question you ever ask a lady!"

Jongudmund's rating: 7.5/10

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