Photo by me
Horrifying Edwardian fashion couldn’t distract me from the beauty of this movie. Besides, Helena Bonham-Carter somehow managed to pull off the wild 80s-like hairstyles of this time period.
Don’t do much they said Dolittle they said…
A physician who can talk to animals embarks on an adventure to find a legendary island with a young apprentice and a crew of strange pets.
This film for me is full of one liners some that hit, some that miss. But lets get into it. The beginning opens with an animated montage of how Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) became Dr Dolittle and on how he fell in love with a woman named Lily who he married. But sadly on a voyage to find an island which was she told of as a myth, led her to die at sea. I never thought I would say this as with most films, the rest of it tends to be better than the beginning. Not so with this one. I loved the beginning, the animation was beautifully done, the story of how Dolittle and Lily met was told brilliantly. I couldn’t have liked it more. However, the film does go slightly down hill after this.
The film starts to kick into gear when Tommy Stubbins (Harry Collett) shoots a squirrel accidentally. Poly (Emma Thompson) sees this and tells him to follow her. Once they get to Dolittle’s mansion Stubbins gets caught in a net where he meets a girl called Lady Rose (Carmel Laniado) who needs Dr Dolittle’s help as Queen Victoria (Jessie Buckley) has fallen ill. When we first see Dr Dolittle he is in a bad way and is very dishevelled. What I liked about this whole bit was seeing the effect that losing his wife had on Dolittle. As we don’t see a man who is perfect but a man who is struggling and feels as though he has no purpose. One of the funny scenes in this film is, when Chee-Chee (Rami Malek) who is a gorilla answers the door to Stubbins and Lady Rose in which both Stubbins and Chee-Chee scream at each other resulting in Chee-Chee fainting.
The beginning goes on for quite a while but eventually we get to the voyage to find a rare fruit on an island that doesn’t exist to save the Queen’s life. The voyage itself is enjoyable as we get to see the relationships between different characters in this film. Which to be honest the relationships is what makes this film. The first one being the relationship between Dr Dolittle and Stubbins. What worked well about this relationship was the build up to it. As it starts off with Dr Dolittle wanting nothing to do with Stubbins, even going as far as to send him home to his parents. But this relationship builds into a loving mentor relationship, in which Dolittle takes on Stubbins as his apprentice, teaching him different animal languages. Another relationship that was funny was the one between Dr Dolittle and Plimpton (Kumail Nanjiani). Kumail has some great one liners in this film one of which is, ‘My father was right about me, I should have been an omelette’ This one had me in stitches and the way he voices this character is perfect as he uses sarcasm brilliantly. The way that Dolittle tells Plimpton to slow down a lot is also amusing. One relationship that is prominent in this film is, the one between Dr Dolittle and Poly. What I liked about this one is how Emma Thompson portrays the character of Poly with a stern but motherly attitude towards Dr Dolittle which works well. As Poly only wants to help Dolittle move on with his life as his wife wouldn’t want him to be depressed like he is.
One of the scenes that is in my opinion a very honest scene is a scene between Dr Dolittle and King Rassouli (Antonio Banderas).
Why this scene works is the acting experience these two have. They both in this scene give a very honest performance. You can feel the emotions that both are giving with King Rassouli showing anger at Dr Dolittle for not going with his daughter, Lily on her voyage which lead to her death. And Dolittle showing us the regret he has with not going with Lily, not being able to save her. This was the scene which lead Dolittle and Stubbins to the island where this fruit that can save the queen is. One thing that I’ll say about this island is, it was a missed opportunity. They could have had a long time spent struggling to find this fruit with brutal conditions on this island but nope, they practically find it within ten minutes. Which is such a shame as I think it would have been good to explore this island but unfortunately we don’t get that. However, the film ends with them saving Queen Victoria and Dolittle and Stubbins running the animal hospital with a sign saying Dolittle and apprentice.
Even though their are things that are good about this film, their’s a lot that’s not good as well. One of which being the main villain of the film, Dr Blair Mudfly (Michael Sheen). Dr Blair Mudfly is not a convincing enough villain to carry any threat in this film if anything I found him boring. The reason that he hates Dr Dolittle is stupid as he hates him for basically being smug, is that a reason? If it is it’s terrible. It’s a shame as well as Michael Sheen is a good actor but there’s only so much you can do when a part that is written for you is not good. The sidekick villain who plots the whole queen assassination is also terrible. I felt sorry for Jim Broadbent playing this character as he didn’t have much to do and so couldn’t convey any real emotion within this film. Sorry Jim this one wasn’t for you. Also to any Selena Gomez fans, sorry but she doesn’t have much to do in this film, she does help get Stubbins on the voyage though so I suppose that’s something. Oddly enough though what this film could have done with would be an extra twenty minutes as this may have given them more time to explore the island. I also thought they missed out on what could have been a great friendship between Stubbins and Lady Rose, because they set it up to seem like they would be going on this voyage together, it was a bit disappointing when you found out that wasn’t going to happen. One of the issues I think of having a big cast is not being able to use certain members to their fullest potential, don’t get me wrong with Endgame it worked but with this film it didn’t. You have a great actor like Jim Broadbent and you decide not to have him in the film as much as possible, I’m sorry you’re stupid. What I thought would have been a great idea to make this film unique would have been to animate the whole film in the way the opening was animated, it would have made the film more interesting and could have possibly rivalled whatever Disney would have put against them. However, all this being said it is a film with enjoyable moments, and is one for the family to enjoy.
‘Ow, my Barry Barry’s!’