Movie Review: Doctor Dolittle

Official Movie poster


Official Movie poster

Abi Baldwin, Editor-in-Chief

Before you read, yes, there will be spoilers. We’ve all seen the beloved Eddy Murphy and his wise cracking Dr. Dolittle that can talk to animals. It’s a classic comedy that is vaguely based by Hugh Lofting. Though the new version isn’t as funny as the original picture, this Dolittle is much more close to the books written in the 1920s. The story is a heartwarming throwback to what children books used to be, but Rotten Tomatoes was not pleased with the film. Dolittle was given a 15 percent, they miserably failed.

The original story of Dolittle is that of a man, a doctor, that rejects humans and much prefers animals. He very nearly refuses to aid humans but at the drop of the hat will save an animal.  He goes on many adventures that start with him going to Africa to cure a monkey epidemic. In the new movie adaptation, Dolittle still goes on many adventures in his back story, but not alone with just his animals; his wife, Lily, is also with him and quite the explorer  herself.

Dolittle falls into a deep depressive state after she dies at sea while on a search for the Eden Tree. However he can’t ignore humans for long, especially when the Queen of England calls upon him when she’s sick and dying.  Dolittle along with a young stowaway go on an seemingly impossible quest to find the very thing that led to Lily’s death. As far as the story goes it’s a thrilling ride. The beginning provides Dolittle’s backstory and his current mental status, along with some added information about the stowaway that eventually joins Dolittle.

The plot is well written and well displayed, my only tweak would be to slow the pace a little bit. After the intro the actual start wasn’t till after a very long, drawn out, and dramatic shooting of a squirrel. I still loved the storyline though, I’m a sucker for adventurous/fantasy movies and this particular movie had enough of both. Some thing that was slightly disappointing was the lack-luster jokes. I understand that it’s a children’s movie but most kids today won’t laugh at a bagpipe being pulled from a dragon’s butt.

With a complete all-star cast, with big names like Robert Downey Jr. , Michal Sheen, John Cena, and Emma Thompson, it was hard not to be excited for this film. I used to watch Thompson’s old work from Nanny McPhee all the time as a kid and I’m a fan of her most recent work as Miss Potts in the new live-action Beauty and the Beast. However, with so many talented actors there can be issues with schedules and some have such big egos they re-write some parts of the script.  With this, it’s no wonder Dolittle was given such terrible reviews when people expected so much from the cast.

I did enjoy the characters the actors portrayed. Robert Downey Jr. did a wonderful job of being the anti-social Dr. Dolittle and John Cena was the perfect voice for the loveable polar bear Yoshi, just as much Emma Thompson was the perfect fit to be the narrator and wise parrot Poly. The acting was strong even with the majority of the characters being CGI animals. The voice actors shined in this film.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie. I thought it was a fantastic children’s film, especially with kids have the attention span of a goldfish. They could have done a slightly better job with pacing and maybe some more tasteful jokes but besides that the movie really didn’t deserve a Rotten Tomatoes score lower than Cats.