review by Bobby Blakey
Throughout the years there have been numerous takes on the famed story of Doctor Dolittle. Now Robert Downey Jr. is taking on the title role with a great supporting cast including Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen and Jim Broadbent with additional voice performances from Oscar® winner Marion Cotillard, Frances de la Tour, Carmen Ejogo, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, Tom Holland, and Craig Robinson. Could this film offer up the fun and adventure of the classic character or will it fail to speak to you?
Dolittle follows the eccentric Dr. John Dolittle, famed doctor and veterinarian of Queen Victoria’s England, hermits himself away behind the high walls of Dolittle Manor with only his menagerie of exotic animals for company after losing his wife seven years earlier. When the young queen falls gravely ill, a reluctant Dolittle is forced to set sail on an epic adventure to a mythical island in search of a cure, regaining his wit and courage as he crosses old adversaries and discovers wondrous creatures. The doctor is joined on his quest by a young, self-appointed apprentice and a raucous coterie of animal friends, including an anxious gorilla, an enthusiastic but bird-brained duck, a bickering duo of a cynical ostrich, an upbeat polar bear and a headstrong parrot, who serves as his most trusted advisor and confidante.
I was surprised that this film didn’t connect better with fans just giving the popularity of Downey Jr. alone. Sadly it didn’t do as well as I am sure they had hoped, but is it really that bad? Maybe it’s because I kept my expectations low or because I watching in on pay per view at home, but I had a blast with it. Is it silly at times of course, it is more of a kid’s film and I thought it worked. Going in and knowing even the basic story of Doctor Dolittle you know you have to set some realism aside and after doing that you can dive in and have some fun.
Downey looks to be having a lot of fun here. I harken it back to a more light
hearted aspect to his Sherlock Holmes role. He is a pro at acting with the CGI characters now and is totally believable as he maneuvers through his animal family. The CGI is pretty good throughout with some of it that doesn’t fully mesh. Most of the animals have a realistic design, but there are a couple that look a little more cartoonish and are kind of out of place. Outside of this it was a pretty fun adventure that delivers for the whole family.
Those expecting something more than a family adventure will be sorely disappointed. This film had potential for more adventures that could have been fun, but pretty sure that’s not happening. Either way decide for yourself and check it out available now on Digital, 4K Ultra, Blu-ray and DVD from Universal Home Entertainment.