Star Rating: ⭐
Inspired by the novel Dr Dolittle, Robert Downey Junior portrays the famous character in the new adaptation. Dr Dolittle has spent much of his life caring for animals with his wife Lily whom he adventures with. Following a tragic event, Dr Dolittle locks himself away in his manner, with only the animals for company. After a number of years living like a hermit, Dr Dolittle is surprised by two unexpected visitors as they tell him that the Queen has taken ill and he has been requested to Court. Following his visit to Buckingham Palace, he begins a new adventure to find a cure to save the Queen’s life.
The film is respectful of its source material and seems to understand the character of Dr Dolittle well. I feel that Robert Downey Junior did well to capture his character, playing an eccentric but one that was loveable as the leading man. There was a lot of animal characters within the film with a wide array of celebrity voices, however, only Emma Thompson made a lasting impression in her role voicing Polly the Parrot. I felt maybe there were too many celebrity voices and that the casting did not match up to the characters that well, leaving some characters underwhelming. I felt actor Harry Collett played Tommy Stubbins well, starting quieter and timid but slowly building in confidence and he found his love for animals grow stronger. Carmel Laniado played Lady Rose, a character that was sweet but totally unnecessary to the plot due to her minimal role.
The animation worked quite well as there was a lot of characters with a range of personalities that were conveyed well through realistic designs. A lot of time and effort had clearly gone into making sure the animation and settings of this film were fully completed.
I felt the plot in itself was quite underwhelming. Although they had Dr Dolittle’s character down, the adventure they sent him on seemed weak and convoluted. The villains lacked originality and were not interesting enough to make up for that. I also thought that the film opened up many paths for the characters to explore but never took the time to develop these plot lines. It would have benefitted from a more simplified plot as this version left many points unfulfilled.
I was disappointed by the film although it did have areas which were strong. The plot left a lot to be desired and resulted in a stylish but empty flick.