Its characters are irritating and boring, and that’s only judging it against other talking animal films

Don’t let Dolittle’s delightful opening animation convince anybody that the rest of the piece will remain at a similar standard. Once the scene is set, Dolittle becomes a typical family feature, living on a base of lazy storytelling with outdated humour and a love of twee, standard dialogue.

Dr. John Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) is called upon by the Queen of England to help her to recover from a terrible illness. Setting off on a journey to find the Eden Tree with his menagerie of animals, Dolittle is tracked the entire way by Dr. Müdfly (Michael Sheen), an old university adversary with questionable morals.

Completing extensive re-shoots, its clear from almost every angle how much Dolittle needed the re-work to give it a buzz, but what was changed, wasn’t nearly enough, leaving the final piece to resemble the shell of a once highly regarded story. It’s characters are irritating and boring, and that’s only judging it against other talking animal films (of which there are still zero made into worthwhile productions).

Now botched in multiple ways by modern culture, maybe the story can finally be laid to rest, and recoup some of its dignity. With entirely predictable tropes and a plot line as simple as a football match, the latest incarnation of Doctor Dolittle is probably its worst, which means its entirely likely cinema sees another reboot in about ten years time. That seems to be how Hollywood works these days. Can’t wait for that! 

2/5

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