Sometimes you just want more for someone, even if they are rich and famous and are probably doing well. Today, this is Robert Downey Jr., the star of Dolittle, in which he plays an eccentric doctor who can talk to garish, computer-generated animals. Dolittle is Downey's first major feature film after retiring from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, yet after ten years it shows none of the typical charisma of Tony Stark (and a few years as a pretty funny Sherlock Holmes) that the audience could hope for).
Like a good fairy tale, the film tells the background story of Doctor Dolittle using picture books: How John Dolittle and his wife devoted their lives to helping animals, spoke their languages, and how their death during a sea voyage caused him to find himself retired from the world to become a hermit in his mansion / nature reserve. He is forced to give up his agoraphobic lifestyle when two children tell him that the Queen of England is sick, and when she dies, the heir to the throne plans to inherit Dolittle's legacy from both him and the animals he protects.
It's absolutely harmless stuff until Robert Downey Jr. opens his mouth and speaks with a bizarre Welsh accent that you won't accept for about a third of the film, and that somehow just keeps going. It is a performance that is crap in several ways. Downey Jr. has an excellent manic energy that makes him well suited for playing crazies and misanthropes, and many people are likely to hope that he will loosen up a bit after Marvel. Unfortunately, this is very difficult if you hardly share the screen with another person.
Here it helps to remember that Dolittle is a very expensive, top-class children's film and is rarely such an expensive mistake in this area these days to get. The film is primarily a medium for discussing animals, and as in any talking animal film, the menagerie speaks too much. Part of it is tempered by the fact that their voices are recognizable ̵
The best things are from human actors who appear briefly in somewhat villainous roles. Antonio Banderas plays the king of a foreign country with Dolittle and Michael Sheen is the doctor's longtime rival. Both actors are not strangers to being the best part of everything they are in, and they continue the series here.
Unfortunately, this film was a catastrophe before the cameras even started to roll. It was originally written and directed by Stephen Gaghan, a filmmaker best known for serious adult dramas such as Syriana . Dolittle – then called Doctor Dolittle's Journey similar to the classic novel on which it is based – has been redesigned by two different filmmakers with more family-friendly points of view, a process that works Some films with big budget, but they didn't help at all. It is a mess.
Dolittle repeats the story. The original from 1967 Doctor Dolittle was a legendary flop that was also a notoriously difficult production, a bizarre role for his star Rex Harrison and a questionable choice for everyone involved. Dolittle is similar, a major catastrophe of a magnitude that is rarely seen – although not this time because films are rarely so expensive. This is because they are often too expensive to really fail. Nowadays money no longer buys quality, but it often buys competence. Just not all the time.
I do not regret my time with Dolittle . Nobody, as my editor reminded me, made me see it. That was entirely my decision. However, I preventively regret it on behalf of others, namely the parents, who are made to see Dolittle for probably 87 times in December. The film is a filth that is acceptable enough, especially for children with developing frontal lobes. A filth that would make most adults cry if they didn't stop giving a dragon a colon. I will think a lot about the Monday night I spent two more weeks looking at it, and then I will probably forget that it ever happened.