In my childhood, I was an avid reader who dove into books at a rapid pace, and the classic novel Dr. Dolittle was one of my favorites. I could imagine each scene coming to life around me as I read it during my family’s overseas stay in Sumatra, Indonesia. At the time, the kind-hearted message of showing compassion towards animals was so simple and endearing that it was perfect for an imaginative child. Today, with the wildlife in crisis in the brushfires of Australia, this concept continues to resonate in the hearts of children and adults. Featured today on Theresa’s Reviews, I’m sharing my review of the 2020 Dolittle movie, which sails into theaters on Friday, January 17th, 2020.
Dolittle (2020) Movie: A Fresh Take on a Classic Novel
Over the years, there have been a couple of different adaptations of the book to the movie with Dr. Dolittle (1998), starring Eddie Murphy, and Doctor Dolittle (1967), a musical. Although Robert Downey Junior overacts a bit in the beginning, this is by far my favorite version, and my family wholeheartedly agrees.
Rarely do we all find the time to go to the movies. When we are finally able to come together to enjoy a film, it’s wonderful to find a sweet, simple movie that is completely appropriate for my youngest and endearing to the rest of us.
Although we found the movie delightful, some have said that it won’t appeal to anyone beyond the age of 9. There are no underlying themes of controversial concepts that many modern movies seem to have. However, even though the movie is fluffy and not deep, as a parent, I would prefer that over the inappropriate jokes or innuendos that so many other movies have.
Visually, the movie is impressive. The CGI animals include a polar bear, gorilla, an ostrich, a duck, monkeys, whales, tigers, and more. Dr. Dolittle, his apprentice, and the animals take a stunning voyage across the ocean to a mysterious island.
This epic adventure stars Robert Downey Jr. as Dr. Dolittle. Other actors include Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Harry Collett, Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, Tom Holland, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, Marion Cotillard, Jim Broadbent, Jessie Buckley, Frances de la Tour, Carmel Laniado, Jason Mantzoukas, Craig Robinson, and Kasia Smutniak.
After losing his wife (Kasia Smutniak) seven years earlier, the eccentric Dr. John Dolittle (Downey), famed doctor and veterinarian of Queen Victoria’s England, hermits himself away behind the high walls of Dolittle Manor with only his menagerie of exotic animals for company.
But when the young queen (Jessie Buckley, Wild Rose) falls gravely ill, a reluctant Dolittle is forced to set sail on an epic adventure to a mythical island in search of a cure, regaining his wit and courage as he crosses old adversaries and discovers wondrous creatures.
The doctor is joined on his quest by a young, self-appointed apprentice (Dunkirk’s Harry Collett) and a raucous coterie of animal friends, including an anxious gorilla (Oscar® winner Rami Malek), an enthusiastic but bird-brained duck (Oscar® winner Octavia Spencer), a bickering duo of a cynical ostrich (The Big Sick’s Kumail Nanjiani) and an upbeat polar bear (John Cena, Bumblebee) and a headstrong parrot (Oscar® winner Emma Thompson), who serves as Dolittle’s most trusted advisor and confidante.
The film also stars Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen (The Queen), Oscar® winner Jim Broadbent and Carmen Laniado (FX’s A Christmas Carol) and voice performances from Tom Holland, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, Oscar® winner Marion Cotillard, Frances de la Tour, Jason Mantzoukas and Craig Robinson.
Click the image below to get these adorable printable Dolittle coloring sheet!
Directed by Academy Award® winner Stephen Gaghan (Syriana, Traffic), Dolittle is produced by Joe Roth and Jeff Kirschenbaum under their Roth/Kirschenbaum Films (Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent) and Susan Downey (Sherlock Holmes franchise, The Judge) for Team Downey. The screen story is by Thomas Shepherd and the screenplay is by Stephen Gaghan and Dan Gregor (CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) & Doug Mand (CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend). The film is executive produced by Robert Downey Jr., Sarah Bradshaw (Last Christmas, Maleficent), Zachary Roth (Maleficent: Mistress of Evil) and Jonathan Liebesman (director, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).
Disclosure: I received a free item, but it in no way influenced my opinion.