The Magic Voyage VideoCover
The Magic Voyage is a 1992 German animated fantasy film, released theatrically in Germany as Die Abenteuer von Pico und Columbus (English: The Adventures of Pico and Columbus) by Bavaria Film in February 14, 1992. The film was later dubbed in English and released in the United States and Canada. The first one was a rare English dub, while the second English dub was released by Hemdale Film Corporation as The Magic Voyage on April 23, 1993. It was produced and directed by Michael Schoemann.


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 instantly 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 explains his voyage that'll prove his newly discovered theory to Isabella, and she decides to finance Columbus' voyage to prove that the world is round. The King agrees to do this as well, but he tells Columbus that if he doesn't 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 fairy 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 until she tells him the secret of her powers, which don't 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 determines to get Marilyn back.

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's ship. The two friends reunite, and Pico explains that he needs to save Marilyn. Columbus's 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 that 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's giant amounts of cheese at the new world. 

As day fades into night, Pico overhears that 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 Columbus is 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'd 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's actually a deserted Viking ship. The crew is angry at Columbus once more and try to hang him. As he's hanging, Columbus sees the new world. Just then, the Swarm Lord flies over the ship and tries to kill everyone on the ship. The ship manages to get away, and lands on The New World by 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 didn't survive the Swarm Lord's wrath) go through the jungles of the island to the Swarm Lord's Aztec temple.

Meanwhile, the Swarm Lord still wants Marilyn's powers, but Pico and his friends come in and save the day. 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 crumble. The temple starts to crumble as well. The team escapes, but Marilyn drowns in a waterfall and 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 thank Columbus for destroying the Swarm Lord. The group sail off back to Spain, and Columbus is happy knowing that he discovered the new world and proved that the world is round. 

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


Original German version
  • Jens Wawrczeck - Pico
  • Katja Nottke - Marilyn
  • Beate Hasenau - Queen Isabella
  • Christian Schult - King Ferdinand IV / Sailor
  • Eric Vaessen - The Swarm Lord / Diego / Native chief
  • Lutz Mackensy - Bob The Beaver

First English dub
  • Donald Arthur - Christopher Columbus
  • Elisabeth Von Molo - Marilyn
  • Helena Jungwirth - Queen Isabella
  • Osman Ragheb - Native chief
  • Marcus Calvin
  • David Creedon
  • Dilys Goggins

Second English dub (1993)
  • Eric Parkinson (uncredited) - Native chief
  • Campbell Morton
  • Brett Baxter Clark
  • Henry Crowell, Jr.
  • James Knapp


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 versions of the film; the first 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 unknown. The second 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 US dub was written by David T. Reilly and Visual Effects supervisor Scott Santoro.


Both the original German version and the 1993 English version released by Hemdale Pictures received negative reviews.Template:Cn Animation historian Charles Soloman called the film "A clumsy copy of Disney's Ben & Me, with clumsy animation and forgettable songs."Template:Cn

Home mediaEdit

In North America, the second English dubbed version came out on Hemdale Home Video in December 13, 1993. This dub was carried over to its DVD release in May 17, 2003.