Trying to fall in love with film again.

'Dolittle' is one of those movies you don't remember when you walk out

Dolittle (2020) - IMDbStory

The movie follows Dr John Dolittle, a physician who can talk to animals in his quest to find the mythical Eden tree famed for its healing properties.

The story description is short because the story at its core is very simple. It's loosely based on 'The Voyages of Dr Dolittle and to put it simply, it's a quest and because of the simple nature of the story, the movie needs more to capture the attention of the viewer and the movie does an ok job if it.

Acting

I'm just going to say it. This movie squanders its cast. You have Robert Downey Jr. and this is the best you can do?! His acting isn't bad but I was not impressed at all. There are shades of the chaotic energy that made his Sherlock Holmes performance so special but it seems to be watered down here based on the subject matter of the movie. Also, he has this really weird accent in the movie that I cannot place. Are you British, Scottish or something else? Robert if you or your people would like to get back to me that would be amazing.

99% of this cast rely on voice acting and the interesting thing is that I couldn't recognise most of the cast till halfway through the movie. Whenever I watch a movie that requires voice acting I say that I like it when I don't recognise the voices because it allows me to focus on the characters rather than the actor and that happens till I recognised John Cena's and Ralph Fiennes' voices (I mean you cast Ralph Fiennes as a tiger and expected me not to notice?). Then it became a game of Where's Waldo as I listened out for recognisable voices, something I shouldn't have been doing while I was watching the movie.

The cast in this movie is stacked. RDJ, Anotonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, Tom Holland, Craig Robinson, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez and Marion Cotillard. Between the entire cast, there are 12 Academy Award nominations and 5 wins. I say that because the cast is talented but the writing doesn't hold a candle to their talent.

Writing/Direction 

When you watch this movie, you can tell that it's aimed at a younger demographic. That isn't to say that adults can't enjoy it but a lot of the writing and humour seems very low brow. Also, nothing about this movie is complicated which leads me to think of it as more of a family film. When I went to see this movie there were mostly kids in there (I might have been the only adult there without a child but I digress) and they had a great time. They laughed at the jokes and enjoyed some of the wackier aspects of the film. For that, I commend the film, but this movie is VERY predictable. You already know how the film is going to end by the end of the first act and because of that, you don't really care about any of the "dangerous" situations that the characters find themselves in because you know that they will be fine (that isn't a spoiler it really is that obvious).

As far as direction, the pacing is interesting because this movie feels really short but too long at the same time and that is probably because of how predictable the movie is. This is also Stephen Gangan's first BIG movie and it shows, for someone with an Academy Award AND Golden Globe under his belt (albeit for screenwriting), this should have been A LOT better than it was. There isn't much about this film that keeps you captivated. The story and characters are very one dimensional and even moments where is appears that Dolittle has depth didn't make me feel what it should have.

CGI/Set Design 

This movie relies VERY heavily on CGI as all the animals are computer-generated, and for the most part, the CGI is fine. We live in a world where CGI is an ever-present part of the movies we watch and when it's bad we notice and reprimand it. Movies like this are not trying to convince you that the animals are real and because of that fact, I was a little more forgiving when the CGI was not 100% believable.

Score/Soundtrack 

Danny Elfman is one of those composers that are able to create the perfect score or each scenario and this movie is no different. The nature of the movie is whimsical and the score reflects that perfectly. Usually, when I hear an Elfman score, I know it instantly but that wasn't the case here. I had to go out and look for the composer. That is to say that the music didn't move me the way I would expect a score by Danny Elfman to move me.

Overall Thoughts

For a movie about a guy who can talk to animals, you would think that this movie would have more going for it than it does. It has a star-studded cast and one of the most recognisable actors on the planet at the forefront and it's just meh. That in and of itself is disappointing because there is potential. there were so many things that the writers could have done but it seems like they wanted to play it safe which works against the movie rather than for it.

When this movie was announced a lot of people were sceptical as a lot of us are familiar with the Dr. Dolittle movies starring Eddie Murphy. Going into this I didn't want to watch a repeat of the 1998 movie and truthfully, the two movies are very different. This version doesn't have the heart that the Eddie Murphy version has and feels a lot more hollow even though it's more in line with the source material.

The best way to describe this movie is a Disney movie without the Disney magic. While I enjoyed it while I watched it, I wouldn't rush out to watch it again. Also, I watched this movie in IMAX which I DO NOT recommend cause it is not worth the price of an IMAX ticket (Please trust me on this)

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