When I was a boy, lad, young child, I was fascinated by an old black and white film I saw on TV called "Treasure Island". It exposed me to everything I knew nothing about, a dangerous sea voyage, nasty pirates, the hunt for treasure, and a resolution in doubt. I was so impressed by it that I still remember the impact it had on me to this day. "Dolittle" achieves that same impact utilizing modern effects and featuring an enduring character as memorable as Long John Silver.
I know that audiences today are more jaded than during my youth, having already been exposed to films like the "Pirates Of The Caribbean", the "Avenger" movies, and even the rash of animated films starring talking animals. Even still, any young child, who sees "Dolittle", will be fascinated by all the elements in it, and that goes for we adults as well. It's loaded with family style humor, abundant action, and it delivers believable animation that smoothly floats the storyline along.
Just so you know, this is not a continuation of the Eddie Murphy comedy films about the same character, or any of the sequels with Kyla Pratt, or even the one way-back-when starring Rex Harrison; it's instead a pure adventure story from another era.
Here's The Storyline…
In young Queen Victoria's England, eccentric doctor and famed veterinarian Dr. John Dolittle (Downey Jr.) has locked himself away from the world in his vast manor house following the death of his beloved wife seven years ago. He lives there with a unique menagerie of talking animals consisting of a fearful gorilla (Malek), a bird-brained duck (Spencer), a sarcastic ostrich (Nanjiani), an upbeat polar bear (John Cena) and a pigheaded parrot (Thompson).
When the young Queen (Buckley) suddenly falls deathly ill, Dolittle is called in to find a cure for her sickness. Turns out that the antidote lies on a Mythical Island across a forbidden Sea filled with old adversaries and strange creatures. And so the adventure begins, off he goes with his young apprentice (Collett) and his entourage of animals in search of the fabled cure.
Once you get past the strange accent Robert Downey Jr. chose to use in the film, you'll find the child in you falling right into the story. Absurd? Yes. Contrived, Yes. Fun? Absolutely! Funny? You bet! It's also an interesting game putting the animal's voices with the actual actors voicing the roles. Truth is, if I had a seven-year-old child right now, you'd find us in line at a theater buying tickets to see "Dolittle" on the big screen.
My take…Packed with comedy, action, and animation, "Dolittle" is a rousing good time for the whole family. Go see it.
Grade: B "Dolittle" is Rated PG for some action, rude humor, and brief language. Running Time: 1hr. 41min.