"Dolittle" Movie Review
It always amazes me when ideas defy all odds and persist regardless of how much hate is thrown at them. The original 1967 Doctor Dolittle film was based on the series of stories from the 20s. Critics panned that film but it still managed to be nominated for Best Picture, Best Original Song, and Best Visual Effects. Then we had the Eddie Murphy/Kyla Pratt films which only took the basic idea and created their own stories. Murphy's film also received mixed to negative reviews but that is fondly remembered as one of Eddie Murphy's best roles today and it spawned 4 sequels. Now we come to yet another adaptation, starring the Iron Man himself Robert Downey Jr. Critics have yet again been attacking this film, but I'm here to tell you that it is undeserved and the Dolittle stories will indeed persist once more.
Dolittle follows Doctor John Dolittle, who has shut himself away from the world after the tragic loss of his wife. Young Tommy Stubbins sneaks his way onto the Dolittle property with the assistance of Polly the parrot in order to get help for an injured squirrel. Along with Stubbins comes Lady Rose with the news that Queen Victoria has fallen ill and needs Dolittle's help. Although reluctant at first, Dolittle agrees and sets off on a journey to not only save the Queen, but also save his home from being taken away from him and his many animals.
What I enjoyed most about the film was how it brought back the imagination and adventure that the original stories had. The humor was on point and kept the interest of adults and kids alike. Even though the animals were all CGI, you couldn't help but fall in love with all of them and hope that everything turns out okay for them. The voice artists for the animals were brilliantly cast, blending magnificently with Robert Downey Jr and his unique form of wit. I also loved the messages the film sent to the kids in the audience, that it's okay to be afraid and that you have to put forth effort to find your silver lining in the face of tragedy.
I had only two issues with the film. First was the lack of a sense of urgency. The story makes it clear that if Dolittle doesn't find the cure for Queen Victoria, not only will she die but her protection dies with her, meaning he and his animals will lose their home. Even with that looming overhead, and even though I could see the events unfolding before me, I didn't feel like there was any real danger. The tone of the film let you know every step of the way that things were obviously going to turn out all right whether it meant to or not. The second issue was the lack of heart. That's not to say that there was no heart at all, because there was, but there were several moments that felt empty when they should have made me smile or relate to them in some way. There weren't many of those empty moments so it wasn't an overwhelming flaw.
In conclusion, I can safely say that these "professional" critics misguiding people are wrong. Dolittle is a delightful film that the whole family can enjoy. It offers a fun escape from dreary reality and reminds us that true friendship can unite even the most unexpected of creatures. I give the film a 3 out of 4.
© 2020 Nathan Jasper