The Magic Voyage is a 1992 German-British-American animated fantasy film released in Germany as Die Abenteuer von Pico & Columbus (English: The Adventures of Pico and Columbus) by Bavaria Film on February 14 1992. The film was later dubbed in English and released in the United States and Canada: two English dubs were actually produced. The first one was a rare English dub released by Atlas Film, while the second English dub was produced by Hemdale Film Corporation, released as The Magic Voyage on April 23 1993 with a new and more well-known voice cast. The latter dub had a different music soundtrack, and both English dubs had different translations. It was produced and directed by Michael Schoemann. The film was widely panned by critics and audiences, being criticized for its poor animation quality, fairy tale plot, nonsensical voice acting, and poorly-written script.

Plot[edit | edit source]

The year is 1492. Many people believed that the world was flat, and that ships would fall off the edge of the earth and float off into space. However, an Italian navigator named Christopher Columbus had a revolutionary idea — he thought that the world was square. That is, until a small woodworm named Pico overhears him and convinces Columbus that the world is really round by eating up the edges of his square globe, making it look round. Finally realizing that the world is round, Columbus decides to take his discovery to King Ferdinand and his wife Queen Isabella. Pico joins him, and the duo become friends.

As Columbus shows the king that the world is round and not flat, the king is outraged by this theory and has his guards throw Columbus out. But before they even get his hands on him, Isabella barges in and is instantly love-struck by Columbus. Columbus describes his voyage that will prove his newly discovered theory to Isabella, and she decides to finance Columbus' voyage to verify that the world is round. The king reluctantly agrees to do this as well but he warns Columbus that if he does not return with gold he will be executed. As the three have a feast that night, Pico decides to leave them and snoop around the castle. He climbs a large tower and hops across from the window onto a chandelier, where he meets Marilyn, the firefly princess of a faraway land. All was well with her land until the evil Swarm Lord took her away and keeps her prisoner inside the chandelier till whenever she tells him the secret of her powers, which do not work on the forces of evil. Pico and Marilyn try to escape, but the Swarm Lord returns and takes Marilyn away to his lair in the still-undiscovered new world of America. As the Swarm Lord flies away, Pico determined to get Marilyn back after falling in love with her.

The next day, Columbus is about to set sail on the Santa Maria to discover the new world. Pico rushes to the ship but is stopped by a trio of rats who plan to eat him. Pico manages to escape, but the rats follow him, hopefully to get a free ride to the new world. Pico gets on board Columbus' ship. The two friends reunite, and Pico explains that he needs to save Marilyn. Columbus' shipmates overhear their captain talking to Pico, and come to the conclusion that Columbus is crazy. As the ships continue on their voyage, Pico bumps into the rats again. They want to leave the ship on one of the lifeboats, because they overheard the ship is heading to the supposed "edge of the earth." Pico needs them to stay, in case if the shipmates want to plan a mutiny on Columbus, and the lifeboat is his only chance. Pico convinces the rats to stay with his lie that there are giant amounts of cheese at the new world.

As day fades into night, Pico overhears the shipmates really plan to kill Columbus and turn back in order to stay away from the edge of the earth. Pico tells this to Columbus and gets worried. However, he distracts his crew by singing a song to them about life on the sea and other leaders from other time periods, including Ulysses, the Romans, and the Vikings. Though he gets carried away with the final lyrics to the song that insults the crew (I heard a tale of travelers who feared they would reach the edge / But long before, a serpent came and ate them up instead), they let Columbus live. The next day, Columbus and the crew think they see land, but it is actually a deserted Viking ship. The crew is angry at Columbus once more and tries to hang him. As he hangs, Columbus sees the land of Guanahani (renamed San Salvador), a district island of the Bahamas, on the horizon. Just then, the Swarm Lord flies over the ship and tries to exterminate it. The ship manages to bypass, and ashore on The New World crashing into a dam made by a beaver named Bob. While the crew stays behind, Pico, Columbus, Bob, and two of the rats (one of them did not survive the Swarm Lord's wrath) go venture the jungles of the island to an Aztec temple.

Meanwhile, the Swarm Lord still wanting Marilyn's powers, Pico and his friends penetrate the temple. Columbus climbs up to the top of the Swarm's giant honeycomb and takes a golden idol while Pico saves Marilyn. Columbus uses the idol to squash the Swarm Lord, and Bob has finished chewing through the honeycomb, which causes it and the temple to crumble. Everyone but Pico flying a seagull, falls into waters and go over a waterfall. The team survives, Marilyn is found lifeless on a floating flower. Once the sun rises, she comes back to life and Pico and Marilyn kiss. Afterward, they encounter the island's natives, who are disappointed that their temple is destroyed but thankful of Columbus ridding the Swarm Lord and let him keep the gold idol. The group sails off back to Spain, and Columbus is happy knowing that he discovered the new world and proved that the world is round. (The previously-unknown fourth continent will soon be named after Florentine explorer Amerigo Vespucci who maps it throughout his forthcoming expedition.) 

The film ends with Columbus imaging what America will be like many years later, showing the city of Manhattan. The Hemdale English dub's end credits play the song "Heaven Is" by Al Jarreau.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Character American flag.jpg Original German American flag.jpgAmerican flag.jpg English Dub (Atlas Film version) American flag.jpg English Dub (Hemdale version)
Christopher Columbus Michael Habeck Donald Arthur Dom DeLuise
Pico the Woodworm Jens Wawrczeck TBA Corey Feldman
Marilyn the Firefly Katja Nottke Elisabeth Von Molo Irene Cara
Queen Isabella Beate Hasenau Helena Jungwirth Samantha Eggar
King Ferdinand IV Christian Schult TBA Dan Haggerty
The Swarm Lord Eric Vaessen TBA
Diego Eric Vaessen TBA Gino Conforti
Bob the Beaver Lutz Mackensy TBA Lenard Carson
Native chief Eric Vaessen Osman Ragheb Peter Harris
Narrator Hans Paetsch David Kehoe Mickey Rooney
Ritso the Rat TBA Jack Luceno Brett Baxter Clark
Julias the Rat TBA Donald Arthur James Knapp
Gutter the Rat TBA Phil Nibbelink Ted Prior
James Knapp (Third act)
Mortimer the Seagull TBA James Knapp

Additional voices in the first English dub consist of Marshall Raynor, Marcus Calvin, David Creedon, Nick Lloyd, Dilys Goggins, Elmore James, J. Drew Lucas, Deborah Norris, Marian Schikorn, Ron Williams, Ziad Ragheb, and David Williamson. Additional Voices in the second English Dub consist of Daran Norris, Henry Crowell, Jr., and Rosemary Alexander.

Songs[edit | edit source]

The songs are written by Scott Santoro, except "Heaven Is" written by Harald Kloser, Tommy Schobel, Al Jarreau and Robby Scharf

  • Christopher Columbus – Instrumental
  • Pico the Adventurer – Pico (Corey Feldman)
  • The Life of the Sea – Christopher Columbus (Dom DeLuise)
  • A Fellow Like You – Pico and Christopher Columbus (Corey Feldman and Dom DeLuise)
  • We'll Always Be Together – Pico and Marilyn (Corey Feldman and Irene Cara)
  • Heaven Is – Al Jarreau

Production[edit | edit source]

The film was originally released Germany in 1992, the year when America celebrated the 500th anniversary of the famous voyage of Christopher Columbus. Other films released during this time of year include 1492: Conquest of Paradise, Carry On Columbus and Christopher Columbus: The Discovery.

At the time, the film was the most expensive animated production in Germany, costing $14.5 million. During the film's release in German theaters, director Schoemann stated that the film was intended to be a film about the discovery of America "from a more satirical view in order to differentiate ourselves clearly from the lofty views of history so we can present Columbus as a lovable, charming and befuddled scholar".

Phil Nibbelink was the animation director, while American animators Stanley Green, Kevin Richardson, Rick Morrison and George Singer assisted the animation department. Production lasted for three years.

There are two English dubbed versions of the film produced; the first dubbed version including the voices of Donald Arthur as Christopher Columbus, as well as Phil Nibbelink and several German voice actors playing miscellaneous roles.[1] The availability of this version is rare and it can be obtained through Malaysian VCD releases distributed by Berjaya HVN Sdn Bhd.[2] The second English dub was recorded for the North American home video release with a more well-known cast, including Dom DeLuise as Christopher Columbus, Corey Feldman as Pico, Irene Cara as Marilyn and Mickey Rooney as the Narrator. Particularly notable in this dub is an abundance of ad-libbing. The U.S. dub was written by David T. Reilly and Visual Effects supervisor Scott Santoro.

Reception[edit | edit source]

The Magic Voyage received very negative reviews from critics and audiences.

Home media[edit | edit source]

The film was released under its original German version by Warner Bros. in home media, in France and Germany. Specifically, Warner Home Video released the film in Germany on VHS and LaserDisc, and Warner Vision on DVD in France, in co-operation with the Jean-Paul Bretagnolle Group (which would previously release it on VHS), on November 1999.[3][4][5]

In North America, the second English dubbed version came out on Hemdale Home Video on December 3, 1993. Image Entertainment has carried over the Hemdale English dub onto the DVD release, which came out on September 28, 1999, and it was Re-released on December 5, 2006 by MGM Kids. In the Netherlands, this version was dubbed in Dutch and released on VCD and VHS in 1995 by CNR Film & Video,[6] and on DVD by First Look.[7] Its title is Pico en het geheim van de gouden tempel (English: Pico and the Secret of the Golden Temple). An Italian dub of it, starring Tullio Solenghi as Columbus and Mino Caprio as Pico, was released on VHS.[8] A Brazilian Portuguese dub was released on DVD, by Versátil Home Video.[9] A Greek dub was released by Audio Visual Home Video, a division of Audio Visual Enterprises SA. A Russian voice-over was released by Viking Videofilm.

See also[edit | edit source]

  • Stowaways on the Ark - another German animated film produced by MS-Films, also starring a woodworm
  • Leif Ericson - A film based on the Norse explorer of the same name, directed, written and animated by Phil Nibbelink

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations from or about:
Kinderfilm-online (German) - English translation (Dutch) - English translation

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