Today: February 21, 2024

Dougal And The Blue Cat DVD/ BR

The trippy styling’s of The Magic Roundabout get a feature film that manages to be both delightfully funny and creepy at the same time.

The trippy styling’s of The Magic Roundabout get a feature film
that manages to be both delightfully funny and creepy at the same time.

Dougal And The Blue Cat is a film that has gained all manner of cult status, thanks in no small part to uber film critic Mark Kermode
(he makes an appearance on this DVD) waxing lyrical about it. To many
it looks like just another dose of Magic Roundabout fun, but the reality
is that, like all good Pixar and Disney films, it manages to transcend the ‘kids’ label and be both appealing to children and adults alike.

One night in the magic garden, Dougal the dog wakes to what he
assumes is a terrifying dream of an evil voice inhabiting a run down
factory. The following morning Dougal and his gang of friends discovers
Buxton the blue cat who steals the attention away from Dougal. Not best
pleased by this Dougal goes in search of the mysterious voice. Meanwhile
Buxton, the Blue Cat of the title, is in league with The Blue Voice and
is determined to turn everything in the world blue. With his friends
held hostage it is up to Dougal to save the day by infiltrating the Blue
Cat’s ranks.

Crucially the adventures of The Magic Roundabout are created by French filmmaker Serge Danot, it is he who oversaw the stop motion characters and created the day-glow world. The colours are vibrant enough to literally burn the images to your retina long after the film has ended.
For the most part the film follows the trend of being child-friendly,
but, and significant to the success and popularity of Dougal And The
Blue Cat, it also contains some deeply sinister imagery. Dougal
witnessing the creepy factory come to life is one thing but to then have
a character enter a ‘Nightmare Room’ is enough to give you sleepless
nights.

While Danot may have conjured the physical manifestations of the world it is Eric Thompson
who brings them to life. The English narrator of the film, he also
voices all of the characters on offer, bar one. More crucial though is
that Thompson never saw the French version of read the script. He takes
the images on display and injects them with his quintessential English
style.

What makes Thompson’s narration and voices all the more infectious is
that he points out everything you are already thinking. For most adults
the Magic Roundabout looks like a delightful acid trip, Thompson
is painfully aware of this and ensures that the character of the Rabbit
represents the drug-induced ways of the 60s. At one point he even goes
so far as to have the character say he’s just “watching mushrooms grow”,
as you do. Add to this an endless ream of social commentary, like
Dougal’s criticism of the rail service and quoting Neil Armstrong as he
lands on the moon, and you begin to comprehend that Thompson wanted to
keep all members of the family entertained, all with the packaging of a
children’s story.

Vibrant and heartfelt Dougal And The Blue Cat rightly deserves the
reverence is so feverishly gets from its’ fans. It will whisk you back
to childhood nostalgia but never make you feel like an infant.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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