Review: Go Into Dolittle With an Open Heart. It’s Fun!
3/5 flying squirrels.
**Spoilers for Dolittle within.**
Thinking of family movies, we often go into them knowing that they’re primarily meant for children and come out pleasantly surprised, and that’s exactly how we should view Dolittle. The problem is that everyone is expecting a grand followup on Tony Stark from Robert Downey Jr., and this movie is just different.
Based on the now-century-old Doctor Dolittle book series about a doctor who can speak to animals, the movie features a journey to save the queen. John Dolittle (Downey) becomes a recluse when his wife dies on a journey to find the Eden Tree. He doesn’t want to deal with humans and, instead, focuses on the animals in his sanctuary. Given to him by Queen Victoria (Jessie Buckley), the sanctuary, as far as he knows, will last as long as he is alive—that is, until Lady Rose (Carmel Laniado) comes and tells him that it is his only as long as the Queen is alive.
All of this comes to Dolittle’s doorstep at the same time as Tommy Stubbins (Harry Collett), who accidentally shot a squirrel named Kevin (Craig Robinson) and wants to become Dolittle’s apprentice. Throughout the whole movie, the comedy comes from John Cena as Yoshi (a polar bear) calling Plimpton (Kumail Nanjiani) his bro (They are basically in love? I love it???), and there are sweet moments between Dolittle and the gorilla Chee-Chee (Rami Malek) as they work through his anxiety.
But the best way to describe this movie is madness. With a Michael Sheen performance to rival his Breaking Dawn laugh and Antonio Banderas being a hot king, the movie is very much a family adventure and one that should be approached with an open mind and heart.
If you want to go into something and just laugh and have fun, then you’ll enjoy Dolittle. There were things I didn’t like, like how Dolittle’s wife Lily (Kasia Smutniak) is described as being the best adventurer, and yet she is dead the entire movie (I was convinced she was going to be fine in the end and on that island, but … nope!) or the fact that Lady Rose had to stay with Jip (Tom Holland) and the Queen while the boys went off, but still, there are so many powerful voices and random twists that I just laughed and enjoyed myself throughout the movie.
With a dragon farting joke and a ton of animals who are dedicated to Dolittle because he helped them when no one else would, it’s just a fun adventure movie that teaches us all to be a little kinder to the creatures around us.
I have to say, I love that little thing that just lives in Dolittle’s hair and flies around, but honestly, this movie is one that you can take the kids to, have fun, and not really think too much during, and that’s, sometimes, the best kind of adventure movie.
(image: Universal Pictures)
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