Dolittle starts out with some lovely animation about a heartbreaking story of love and loss, that lasts about 45 seconds, then everything goes terribly terribly wrong.
From the beginning this production has been marred with re-shoots and release dates being pushed. Bringing on another director for nearly a month of re-shoots does raise the brow. That doesn’t always spell disaster, these things do happen, but I have sneaky suspicion that they were desperately trying pull something good out of their ass . . . I’ll touch on that later.
Every single cast member in this movie is completely wasted, they have nine actors who have either won or been nominated for an Academy Award. I realize that this is a children’s movie but that does not excuse the poor execution of what COULD have been a fun adventure movie, somewhere beneath the copious amount of CGI and bad British accents.
Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) is now a reclusive hermit, hiding away since the death of this beloved. He is sprung into action when his reclusive castle life is threatened. You see, the Queen of England has given him his land and his castle, and she is in grave danger of dying, unless she gets a medicine only produced by the fruit of a tree from an island that does not exist. Are you still with me? He sets off with his myriad of CGI friends on an adventure to find this secret fruit tree. Pursuing them on their quest is maybe the worst portrayal of a villain that I can think of in recent memory, who at the end of the movie simply just stops being on screen, never to be heard from again. It is at this point that our merry adventurers encounter the dragon who is guarding the secret tree that holds the secret fruit. Do they fight the dragon? No, they merely just extract a bunch of bones and armor out of the dragons butt and, I kid you not, after a very explosive fart, for no particular reason, bagpipes shoot out. There was no mention of these bagpipes, we did not see or hear these bagpipes before, but yet they appear before us, the glorious mcguffin straight from the dragons ass.
The titular Doctor Dolittle holds interest because he has somewhat of a Jack Sparrow aura about him and Downey has built enough equity that you may look past the ugly reviews and uglier CGI and think about venturing out to your local movie theater, I implore you to watch something else. You will only find disappointment.
The story could have really benefitted from leaning into the “voyage” part of its namesake. The whole team coming together and partaking in the journey were the only parts that there was even a glimmer of fun. I wish there was more here, I do love this cast and I wanted to enjoy this, alas I am afraid that nothing could save this from disaster.