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“It’s only by helping others that we can truly help ourselves.”
As a tweenager, I was raised watching Rex Harrison, Samantha Eggar, Anthony Newley, and Richard Attenborough in the original musical comedy Dr. Doolittle in 1967. Which was an adaptation of three books, The Story of Doctor Dolittle (1920), The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle (1922), and Doctor Dolittle’s Circus (1924); written by Hugh Lofting. And for its era, this was quite a delightful, interesting, and entertaining film that reached its targeted age group. However, it was not well received by the critics, but we liked it.
To this date, in spite of all the renditions of Dr. Doolittle I have seen, including Eddie Murphy and the following sequences which were all quite amusing and entertaining; that went directly to VHS or DVD I might add. Yet none were as close to the original as that of the fantasy adventure adaptation Dolittle (the Voyage of Dr. Dolittle) starring Robert Downey Jr., Michael Sheen, and Antonio Banderas. Take all thoughts of Iron Man out of your head and look at Downey for the great character actor he is and you can move through this film with a sense of adventure and intrigue.
In Victorian-era Britain, eccentric Welsh veterinarian John Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr) has resigned himself to hiding away from all humanity behind the walls of an unkempt and overrun animal sanctuary where he and his wife Lily (Kasia Smutniak) used to care for animals. The loss of Lily at sea has taken a depressing toll on him as she was the reason he began his occupation and they went on many adventures together. Now his inner circle of friends is those same exotic talking animals they rescued.
Some years later…Tommy Stubbins accidentally wounds Kevin the red squirrel…
Some years later, in a hunting incident, trying to avoid shooting geese, Tommy Stubbins (Harry Collett), accidentally wounds Kevin the red squirrel and tries finding Dolittle for help. As he seeks Dolittle, Lady Rose (Carmel Laniado) is dispatched by Queen Victoria (Jessie Buckley) to summon the doctor to solve the mystery of her deadly illness. Which is part of an evil conspiracy with Dr. Mudfly (Michael Sheen) the puppet on Lord Badgley’s (Jim Broadbent) string trying to disrupt Dolittle’s plans. When Jip the lurcher discovers the queen was poisoned by nightshade; Dolittle informs the queen’s staff the only cure is the magical fruit of Eden. But the caveat is they have to get Lily’s book from his arch-enemy King Rassouli, Lily’s father (Antonio Banderas), king of Monteverde, to chart the way. So off to Monteverde they go to get Lily’s book…Dolittle, Stubbins, and his exotic talking animal brigade.
Will Dr. Mudfly disrupt Dolittle’s plans? Will Dolittle get Lily’s Book? Will they find this magical fruit and get it to the queen in time? You will just have to watch the movie to find out these answers.
Originally released in 2020, Dolittle is 101 min. Can be seen on IMDb TV, ROW8, Prime Video, VUDU, Apple TV, Vudu Movie & TV Store, Redbox. or FlixFling on your Roku device.
We give Dolittle
According to the reviews; with all the star power this movie possessed, it should have gone to infinity and beyond but because of an over-inflated budget, major reshoots, rewrites, bad release timing, and an elusive script, it wound up in a black hole. Too many cooks spoil a good stew. However, Downey won the Children’s Choice Awards for Best Actor.
Collett and Laniado carried their roles rather well. To me, Dolittle reminds you of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader with dragons, tigers, and whales oh my! The sprinkle of comedic elements and unexpected ones keep the movie interesting and consistent. The family will enjoy this film. I especially liked the one-liners—most were hilarious. My favorite character was Kevin he reminded me of someone on a Star Trek crew giving daily ship log updates. This movie has some good life lessons—You should never stop using your God-given talents to help others no matter your circumstances. And sometimes helping others will help us to truly find ourselves. This is definitely a good movie for family night.
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