Pros: Robert Downey Jr. in a new role; good-natured message; animals with distinct personalities; travel and a large number of events Cons: sometimes the plot seems very simple “Dolittle” / Dolittle
Genre fantasy, comedy
Directed by Stephen Geagan
Cast: Robert Downey Jr. (Dr. John Dolittle), Antonio Banderas (Rasoulli), Michael Sheen (Mudfly), Henry Collette (Tommy Stubbins), Tom Holland (Jeep the Dog), Emma Thompson (Polynesia the Parrot), Ralph Fiennes (Barry the Tiger) ), John Cena (Yoshi the bear), Rami Malek (Chi-Chi the gorilla), Craig Robinson (Fleming the mouse), Marion Cotillard (Tutu the fox), etc.
Компании Perfect World Pictures, Team Downey, Universal Pictures
Year of release 2020
Doctor Dolittle is a character in children’s books by the English author Hugh Lofting, who has recently been completely forgotten. The first book, telling about a valiant man who understands the language of animals, was published a hundred years ago. Since then, the image and demeanor of the main character has changed somewhat.
In the 1960s, Hollywood decided to turn this story into a musical, inviting actor Rex Harrison to play the lead role. He dressed gallantly, examined a two-headed llama, dedicated his songs to a seal, and treated a giant sea snail for a cold.
Later, in 1998, Eddie Murphy became a comedic and more modern version of Dolittle, for whom direct communication with animals was somewhat of a burden at first. Murphy was so entrenched in the image of a doctor who made attempts to maintain common sense when dealing with animals that the second part of the film was released in 2001. It turns out that after this, three more films were made about the adventures of Dolittle’s daughter (her role was played by Kayla Pratt, who played with Eddie Murphy), but they were not popular.
Now that old stories are being brought back to the big screen, Universal Pictures has decided to re-show Dolittle. He was placed in Victorian England (following the idea of the book), a dose of eccentricity was added to the character, and Robert Downey Jr. was entrusted with playing the role (for him this is his first film work after saying goodbye to Marvel).
The new film cleverly takes a look at the previous years of Dolittle’s life – showing a brief history of his relationship with his late wife in the form of illustrations. When the drawings disappear from the screen, a reclusive doctor appears there, who could not cope with the death of a loved one. Doolittle has locked himself in his estate, where only animals keep him company. He is having a great time playing chess with mice until two uninvited guests show up at his home. This is a girl who asks the doctor to save the Queen of England from death, and a boy who suddenly expresses a desire to become Doolittle’s student.
The director and screenwriter of the new film was Stephen Gahan, who wrote the script for the film “Traffic”. It’s unclear why he took on a project with talking animals, but there is no trace of Gahan’s previous style of work in Dolittle. He (and four other screenwriters whom the studio assigned to help) turned out to be a good film, stuffed with old Hollywood techniques used in family films.
Here the children’s characters smile, looking almost straight into the camera, the danger does not seem mortal, and all sorts of obstacles are transformed into fun. As you might expect, each animal that Doctor Dolittle interacts with has its own personality, which becomes the source of jokes and funny situations. Almost all of them are good-natured and understandable for young viewers.
The plot of the film sometimes seems very simple. There are a few heated situations that are resolved in a split second, and a couple of negative characters who will no doubt get what they deserve. At the same time, the naive side of the film is quite well compensated by the variety of events, in which there is room for spectacular journeys, unusual creatures and teamwork.
Doctor Dolittle, played by Robert Downey Jr., sometimes resembles Jack Sparrow in his demeanor. Surrounded by CGI animals, the actor takes on a somewhat comical demeanor, perhaps trying to convey Dolittle’s eccentric nature. On screen, his caricatured opponent is Michael Sheen, playing the role of an ardent hater and royal scoundrel. Another negative character who appears briefly in the film is played by Antonio Banderas.
Also, as planned by the creators, “Dolittle” should please with the voice acting of animals, which was done by famous actors. Alas, in cinemas we will not hear a gorilla with the voice of Rami Malek, a dog voiced by Tom Holland and a parrot that sounds like Emma Thompson.
The film, although naive, is good for watching with children.