Directed by Stephen Gaghan, Robert Downey Jr. return to the big screen playing Dr. Dolittle, a legendary character by Hugh Lofting. The film Dolittle returned to its original format after being converted to a modern version played by Eddie Murphy in 1998. Filled with Hollywood big names, Gaghan takes the story of Dolittle on an epic adventure across the oceans.
At the beginning of the film, John Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) is told to have the ability to talk to animals and treat animals before meeting Lily, who becomes his wife. They also traveled together. But the wife reportedly drowned in the ocean after deciding to go on an adventure alone. As a result, Dr. Dolittle shut himself in his Manor.
His loneliness is disturbed after Lady Rose (Carmel Laniado) wants Dolittle to save Queen Victoria (Jessie Buckley) who is very ill. Because Queen Victoria has full rights to the Manor where the doctor lives, Dolittle inevitably has to set out to find a cure that can only be found on a remote island.
However, Dolittle’s efforts are blocked by Dr Blair Müdfly (Michael Sheen) who wants to help Lord Badgley (Jim Broadbent) become King of England. Will his efforts to save the Queen succeed?
Return of Robert Downey Jr.
Dolittle is practically the first RDJ film since Tony Stark’s death in the Avengers: Endgame saga last year. Unlike Tony Stark, who is busy with advanced technology, here RDJ plays a character who is grieving the loss of his wife and shuts himself up and is locked in with his favorite animals.
The film, written by Gaghan, Dan Gregor, and Doud Mand, depicts Dolittle’s character like the original story. Instead of the modern version that Eddie Murphy played in Dr. Dollitle (1998) and its sequel in 2001. Initially, the doctor was depicted as a bearded recluse whose daily life was just talking to the animals in his house.
The result, although not so obvious, you can find a few similarities between the characters Dolittle and Jack Sparrow. Because for some reason, the impression of an eccentric character in the ocean is very attached to the titular character played by Johhny Depp.
Original story of Dr. Dolittle
Original story of Dr. Dolittle is already 100 years old. The story of a strange doctor who can talk to animals, introduced in Hugh Lofting’s series of children’s books in the 1920s and 30s. The story was also translated into a theatrical version in 1967, and Eddie Murphy brought this character to the big screen in 1998 with two sequels.
Dr. Movies This year’s Dolittle is the latest ride that brings back the story of Doctor John Dolittle which is set in the Victorian era of the 1820s-1840s. Hosted by Robert Downey Jr. who is known in various iconic roles, such as Tony Stark, Sherlock Holmes, to Charlie Chaplin, unfortunately Dolittle looks less character in this film.
Dolittle’s character development is still ambiguous. There is no significant incident that makes Dolittle have a motive to avoid humans and prefer to gather with animals in his house. One of the reasons explained was the loss of his wife. But Dolittle’s dislike of humans seemed unwarranted.
In addition to the character Dolittle and the animals, this film squanders a lot of other characters. Starting from the dynamics of the character Stubbins who is still covered in the shadow of RDJ, or Lady Rose who is only “abandoned” to take care of the Queen (women are only assigned to the house?). Only Dr. Mudlfy is seen as one in the comical theme of this film. The rest? Waste of talents.
Still less solid
The story is very different from before. Adventure across the ocean, islands full of pirates, and dragons brings the impression of a vivid fantasy. But the dynamic plot, although predictable, could not keep up with the hype generated by the big names RDJ and other actors.
Don’t hang your hopes on a solid and fun story until the end. No spoilers, but the third act which should be the climax of the film doesn’t get more attention. And it’s not impossible that the audience towards the end of the film will wonder: “Is this the movie?”
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The visual effects provided are not too bad (uhm, Cats ), but the adventures on the sea and other islands look like digital effects from a low-budget film. Not to mention the differences in some of the visual effects of each animal character. Some look like real, but others are more like animation.
Well, another thing that makes the fun of watching less is the voice of the players in this movie. Not a few feel that the player’s voice sounds artificial. Moreover, RDJ’s voice sounds like it was being dubbed by another actor. Does Universal use autotune?
This film is also filled with big names who become voice actors. Tom Holland as the dog, Emma Thompson as the parrot, Rami Malek as the gorilla, Kumail Nanjiani as the ostrich, and Selena Gomez as the giraffe. Unfortunately, their presence is only to show comical scenes.
If anything, the development of animal characters made as realistic as possible may not be conveyed properly. Some scenes seem rushed, even making the audience miss the presence of the embedded comedy. Is it possible that overly realistic CGI doesn’t mix well with comedy action?
For comedy adventure films that aim to entertain, Dolittle can still be enjoyed. But when other films provide a duration of almost two hours, 100 minutes seems less to convey the impression of adventure. Not infrequently some scenes like cut and jump. For example, when Dolittle’s troops sneak into the castle of King Rassouli (Antonio Banderas).
Overall, if you want to enjoy a light adventure-themed spectacle, this film might be an option. It’s just that there is no need to expect more with a deep message or a deep and dense story. Okay for entertainment with family and children. But avoid excessive expectations, the latest film of Robert Downey Jr. this is not Iron Man, Avengers, or Sherlock Holmes.