Looking back at my childhood in the early 1990’s, one of my most memorable moments was delving into the Dr. Dolittle books with their incredible theme of compassion towards others and especially animals. Growing up on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia while my father was a physician at the Caltex Oil Company, I would look outside to see monkeys, wild pigs, incredibly and colorful birds. In our small American camp, few children were there to make occasional but memorable friendships with, and so the wildlife all around became more familiar than seeing new children.
Inspired by these books, I remember visiting an elephant sanctuary, seeing a goat with scraped knees, tied with a rope to a wooden post, and in my childhood enthusiasm, I initiated a conversation with it to show it sympathy. The goat bleated back to me, and we went on for several minutes, back and forth. The owner began laughing, and I wondered if the goat was happier too.
For a few moments, it was as though this book had come to life for me, and I imagined that one day it really would. Although my dream of growing up to be a modern Dr. Dolittle was never fulfilled, now there is a new opportunity to see the book brought to life in Robert Downey Junior’s Dolittle 2020. Will it be as visually stunning as I imagined it to be? Will it have as big of an impact on my own children? We will soon find out!
Robert Downey Jr. electrifies one of literature’s most enduring characters in a vivid reimagining of the classic tale of the man who could talk to animals: Dolittle.
After losing his wife 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) and Oscar® winner Jim Broadbent and features additional voice performances from Oscar® winner Marion Cotillard, Frances de la Tour, Carmen Ejogo, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, Tom Holland, and Craig Robinson.
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 film is executive produced by Robert Downey Jr., Sarah Bradshaw (The Mummy, Maleficent) and Zachary Roth (Maleficent: Mistress of Evil).
Dolittle is in theaters January 17th.
Dolittle Movie Screening Giveaway
Saturday, January 11
Claim your passes by clicking here.