If there’s one thing the world doesn’t need, it’s another live-action remake. And yet they keep getting made and they continue to disappoint. Whoever thought Dolittle was a good idea owes the animal kingdom an apology.
After playing the legendary Iron Man for a decade, Robert Downy Jr.’s post-Avengers film role was always going to be a risk. When he heard that he would be taking on the role of Dr. Dolittle, we feared disappointment. When we heard is awful Welsh accent in the trailer, we realized that disappointment was inevitable.
Following the death of his wife, Dr. Dolittle has taken himself off the grid and has retreated into an isolated existence. Of course, he has the company of CGI animals voiced by a host of B-listers. When Queen Victoria falls ill, she calls for the doctor personally and he must embark on a voyage to collect the healing fruit of the Eden tree so that she might be cured.
The cinematography is vibrant and the bright color palette will likely appeal to a younger audience. As with every animal live-action remake, the CGI mammals are realistic but lose an element of charm when they are brought to life. In terms of the plot, the adventure story is suitable for kids but falls flat in terms of family watching. Too many of the jokes just aren’t funny and the script is dull at best.
One of the positive elements of the movie is the times that we get glimpses of what Dr. Dolittle looks like from the outside looking in. We see him communicating with these animals making bizarre non-sensical noises as he lives out his reclusive existence. We are then pulled into the scene where we can experience the interaction they are having in English. In this way, we are reminded of the absurdity of the story while being invited into a strange, magical world.
Unfortunately, the redeeming features of Dolittle are limited. As a movie for kids, it does the trick, but there have already been too many adaptations of the story to justify making another. Overall, the colorful feature falls flat and Robert Downy Jr. might want to consider re-entering the superhero business.