Dolittle – Budget of $175 million – 1 hour and 42 minutes
John Dolittle gained a following as the man who could talk to animals. His following grew so large, the Queen of England asked him to help her. She rewarded him with a manor to care for all animals. And the manor would be his for life. While working on the animals, he meets Lily. Lily is an adventurer, explorer, and lover of animals. They fell in love and worked at the manor helping animals far and wide. One day, Lily went on a mission to find an exotic tree with a berry that could heal any ailment. On her mission, her boat was destroyed and she died. Before she died, she gave her wedding ring to her parrot, Polynesia, and told her to fly back to John. John retreated behind the walls of Dolittle Manor with a handful of animals and refused to come out again. Years later, Tommy Stubbins is forced to go hunting with his uncle and cousin. In an attempt to miss a duck, Thomas shoots a squirrel. His uncle gives Thomas a knife to end the squirrel’s suffering. Instead, Thomas takes the squirrel to Dolittle Manor. As he walks along the Manor, Thomas is caught in a trap. A young woman, Lady Rose, sees Thomas swinging in a tree and gets the polar bear, Yoshi, to bring Thomas down. Lady Rose and Thomas are greeted by Chee-Chee the gorilla. Once inside, Thomas explains he shot the squirrel by accident and pleads with John Dolittle to save the creature. John’s instincts take over, he and the other animals work hard and save the squirrel’s life. In amazement, Lady Rose explains her presence at Dolittle Manor. The Queen of England has fallen ill, she wants John to come and help her. If she dies, he will lose the manor. John laughs and reminds Lady Rose that he owns the manor for life. Lady Rose corrects his misunderstanding. He owns the manor for Queen Victoria’s life, not his. John jumps on his ostrich, Plimpton, and rides to Buckingham palace with his animals, Thomas, and Lady Rose. Lady Rose presents John and his animals to the Queen and her court. The knights find Thomas hiding in John’s cart. Thomas presents himself as John’s apprentice. John’s dog, Jip, examines the Queen and smells something strange on her breath. With John’s help, Jip identifies the smell as Nightlock, a poisonous flower that kills days after consumption. John has to recover the berry his wife died trying to find to save the Queen’s life and his manor.
Based on Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting, this movie is more related to the book than the other Dr. Dolittle movies (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer). In a great shot, you go through the looking glass and see John speaking to the animals in gorilla, macaw, octopus, and dog speak as Lady Rose and Thomas look on during the squirrel’s surgery. The viewer understands Dolittle isn’t speaking English and the animals magically understand him. He is speaking their language and it’s being translated on screen. Using this one shot to explain this aspect was an astounding choice. The digital animals look real enough to fool the viewer but they are not too perfect. The CGI team made sure that the animals looked scruffy after years of being behind the Dolittle Manor walls. The jokes are cute but they aren’t memorable. For the parents, the movie is safe for kids and not too scary. Also, there are no songs. Stay pass the first end crawl but not to the very end. If you want a good movie for the kids and an adequate movie for you, see this one in the standard format.
I give it 3 out of 5 stars
You can’t ignore people just because they’re … people – Polynesia
I’m too beautiful to die – Kevin
I do sorta admire what you did – Lady Rose
I’m his apprentice – Thomas
It’s only natural. Everyone does it – John Dolittle