Ian McKellen: 5 Awesome Performances And 5 That Sucked
4. Zebedee - The Magic Roundabout (2005)
Speaking of phoned in (not to mention sixties characters who should arguably have remained in the era of its creation), Sir Ian was one of many actors who should really know better that were suckered into appearing in the unsuccessful movie reboot of The Magic Roundabout from a few years ago. Amongst the others blinded by either nostalgia or the pay cheque were Jim Broadbent, Joanna Lumely and Bill Nighy, but McKellen was one of few whose voices were retained for the US release. Robbie Williams was replaced by Daniel Tay as Dougal, Tom Baker was swapped for the Daily Show's Jon Stewart in the part of antagonist Zeebad, and somebody apparently though the American equivalent of Ray Winstone was Bill Hader as Sam The Soldier. Sir Ian as Zebedee made the cut, however, despite it being one of the worst performances of his career. At least he didn't got for the narrator role, as Dame Judi Dench (in the US release only). To be fair to him, he didn't have a heck of a lot to work with. Sure, he managed to spin a bunch of Tolkien nonsense into gold, but there was still a certain lyricism to that dialogue, and the story. Less so in this cynical cash-grab of sixties nostalgia and generally a terrible, condescending piece of children's cinema, wherein he does his best impression of whoever played Zebedee in the old TV show. What else could he do?