Robert Downey Jr’s Dolittle is out today on Blu-ray, and we’ve got all the details!
This movie is the third adaptation of Hugh Lofting’s Dr. Dolittle stories, the story of a man who can literally speak to animals. This time Dr. Dolittle is played by Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr. When I first heard about this movie I was excited. I grew up watching the original 1967 version, so I was hoping this would be a worthy remake.
Now, I haven’t seen the original in years, so I can’t say for sure if this film is a worthy follow up or not. However, based on childhood nostalgia alone… This one is just weird. And kind of boring.
Now, that’s not to say this movie is complete garbage. It’s definitely not. In fact, if I was a kid, I think I’d really enjoy this movie. The animal CGI is usually good, not super realistic, but they’re talking animals, we’re not going for photo-realism here. There is a lot of fun action/adventure scenes, there’s a pretty awesome dragon for some reason, and there are even two kid characters for some relatable audience surrogates.
Now, while all those things are great for kids, most of them are reasons I wasn’t the biggest fan of this movie. Yes, the CGI is pretty good, but it’s mostly done to service huge name actors, who completely take me out of the movie every time they open their mouths. For kids this will not be a problem, for me it was so distracting.
The kids in this movie were decent actors, but their roles as surrogates for an audience of children was so painfully obvious that I could not take anything they did seriously. Neither of them seemed like real characters, they were just there.
The action/adventure scenes were fine, but most of them were predictable, and way too similar to things I’ve seen before, and seen done better. Again though, that is likely not a problem for kids.
The dragon was very cool looking, but it’s whole purpose in this movie was to be a bizarre and very out of place poop joke. I mean, I’m sure kids are going to laugh their heads off, but by the time Robert Downey Jr was elbows deep in the back end of the dragon I was like, “What the heck am I watching!?”
So anyway, I guess I wasn’t that impressed with Dolittle. It’s not a horrible movie, it’s just kind of painfully mediocre. Most of my issues with it will not be a problem for kids though, so if you have kids that want to see this movie, I guess I’d say go for it. I just wouldn’t expect this to be your new family favorite.
There were actually a surprising number of decent extras on this release. And if you liked the movie, they are all actually worth watching! I will say however that there were a few omissions I would have liked to have seen, as there was no commentary, deleted scenes, or outtakes. I’m not too broken up about the commentary track in this case, but I still enjoy seeing deleted scenes and bloopers, even for films I didn’t totally love.
Talk to the Animals
This is obviously a look at the voice cast of the film. And it had a huge voice cast. If you’re the kind of person who is totally into celebrity cameos, this is the extra for you.
RDJ and Harry: Mentor and Mentee
This was a featurette about Robert Downey Jr and Harry Collett, who plays Dr. Dolittle’s protege in the film. I actually enjoyed their chemistry together far more in this featurette than I did in the film itself. While I found his character kind of boring in the movie, when I watched this, I could tell that they had a lot of fun making this movie, and worked really well together. It’s a shame that didn’t seem to translate into the final film.
Becoming the Good Doctor
This was a look at what it took to make Robert Downey Jr into Dr. Doolittle. It was a pretty good look at the behind the scenes of the character.
Antonio Bandaras: Pirate King
This is another character study, this time looking at Antonio Bandaras’ role as King Rassouli.
The Wicked Doctor Müdfly
And one more character study of the main antagonist of the film, Michael Sheen’s Dr. Müdfly,
A Most Unusual House
This featurette was an interesting look at the making of Dr. Dolittle’s home. In the film he has a huge mansion filled with all kinds of artifacts and inventions, and this is a behind the scenes look into everything that went into putting that all together.
Dolittle is not for everyone, sadly it wasn’t really for me, but I know that many kids will like this movie. There are lots of funny animal antics, explosions, adventure, a dragon, and many other kid-pleasing elements, that I think most kids will have a blast watching this film. An adult’s enjoyment may vary, but at the very least, it’s not terrible, and does have some enjoyable parts. If you want a movie that the whole family can enjoy together, you’re probably better off going with a Pixar film, but if you have an animal loving kid, I’m fairly confident that they’ll enjoy this one.