Dolittle was such a snoozefest, I almost left the cinema to get coffee. (And wouldn’t have returned had I did)
Eccentric Doctor John Dolittle is a famed veterinarian able to talk to animals. After the death of his beloved wife Lily, he locks himself within his massive estate, refusing to engage with humans again. Everything changes, though, when two teenagers find their way into his estate. To save England’s queen, the doctor then sails away on a new quest. In the ensuring adventures, Dolittle reluctantly confronts his deepest tragedies and despairs.
A lot of big names were involved with Dolittle. Big and beloved names.
Other than two MCU leaders, many of the animals were voiced by A-listers who have worn major cinematic awards. Rami Malek, Emma Thompson, Marion Cotillard, to name three.
There’s also the legendary Danny Elfman behind the soundtrack. That itself a reason for some folks to watch the movie.
And yet, the whole show ended up such a snoozefest. Whatever magic it aimed to create, if any, never arrived. Like I highlighted above, I badly needed coffee just to stay awake. And would have left for good had I really gone to get a cuppa.
Why didn’t it work for me? Apart from dull jokes and lame dialogue, the movie is so undecided. It swings wildly from fairy tale to steampunk adventure, to DreamsWork-like animal comedy. While such a combination isn’t necessarily unworkable, the movie never devotes itself to exploring the best of these genres. In fact, most segments felt disconnected and messy, Hurried assemblies of whatever humour that comes to mind at the moment.
There’s also Downey Jr’s strange, strange Dr Dolittle. Perhaps the man was trying too hard to break out of his Ironman persona. His Dolittle, as like the plot, alternates wildly between moody lover, jaded adventurer, eccentric genius, and brilliant teacher. This uncertainty is further worsened by his absurd whisper-talk – he sounds like he’s on the verge of an asthma attack half the time.
In all, Dolittle was a highly disappointing production given the potential of the source material. It is also altogether, very, so very unfunny.