April 7, 2020
Disney’s reimagined Dolittle arrives on home video today, and it could do with some editing to bring down its lengthy run time. I admit to falling in love with the former version starring Eddie Murphy. It was lively, funny and entertaining. His on screen charm made those films a delightful watch.
This newest version with Robert Downey Jr. has a feel of him trying to be a different kind of Sherlock. It’s more adventure than playful. After playing Tony Stark, I’m sure this actor wanted a role other than this egotistical billionaire. That’s the last thing he wants, and I still feel his best performance is as Chaplin. He nailed the pathos of Charlie easily, and tries to do something different for this latest role.
He pays the talented doctor suffering from depression. Some years ago, he lost his wife and became a recluse. Tommy Stubbins (Harry Collett) stumbles into the vet’s abode hoping he can help a wounded animal and Lady Rose (Carmel Laniado) arrives deliver a message. Doolittle is summoned to help cure a human rather than an animal; The Queen of England is ill, and she believes he can help (despite being renowned as a veterinarian). He knows the only cure is with a berry and to get there must see him make a journey to a far off land, almost like the Tale of the Golden Fleece. The dangers he faces include dealing with his rival Blair Müdfly and his demons.
It’s very hard not to make comparisons to the previous series. Much of the humour comes from the voice over talents giving life to the CGI rendered animals. Just how well they delivered is as varied as the live-action Lion King. Instead of relying on an all-star cast of comedic talents, we have Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, Selena Gomez, John Cena, and Tom Holland delivering a few chuckles, but it’s really Kumail Nanjianji, Craig Robinson and Jason Mantzoukas who stand out. When considering the previous series, the casting of who to voice the motley animal cast is uneven. I really wanted to hear Michael Peña here.
It’s very unlikely a sequel will take place, given how poorly this film was received in the box office. Dolittle has a lot of wonderful set design and may perform better in the rental/home video market. Plus, we get a peak at how this movie is made with the bonus featurettes included in this release.
- TALK TO THE ANIMALS – Dolittle is surrounded by a motley cast of characters. Take a peek at all the fun the cast had giving each of the animals their unique voice.
- ROBERT DOWNEY JR. & HARRY: MENTOR AND MENTEE – Acting opposite a legendary actor like Robert Downey Jr. can be an intimidating experience, but Harry Collett handled it like a pro. See the unique bond the two actors formed on-set, and how Downey took the film’s young co-star under his wing.
- BECOMING THE GOOD DOCTOR – See the process of how this team of talented artists brought this film to life, and how Robert Downey Jr. transformed into the iconic Dolittle.
- ANTONIO BANDERAS: PIRATE KING – Antonio Banderas discusses what attracted him to the project, his experiences working with Robert Downey Jr., and what he brought to the role of King Rassouli.
- THE WICKED DR. MÜDFLY – Who is the nefarious villain, Dr. Blair Müdfly? Michael Sheen dives into his character’s motivations for being Dolittle’s foil.
- A MOST UNUSUAL HOUSE – It takes a special home to accommodate humans and animals alike. Explore the unique rooms and modifications that allow Dolittle to house anyone or anything – big or small.