Nearing the end of beloved star Robert Downey Jr's latest film, "Dolittle", audience are met with an episode so utterly nonsensical that only few things in life could top it. There he is, the "billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, genius," with both his arms up a CGI dragon's behind, pulling out bagpipes from the monster. In that moment, you wonder if it is your duty as a fellow human being to write to Marvel on Downey's behalf, urging them to take him back. Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) fans would rather watch a dozen mediocre films of him flying about in tin suits than giving colonoscopies to the fantastic beast.
"Dolittle" is a train wreck of colossal measures that no amount of fighting writers, meddling studio heads or incessant cash flow could have saved. The script – much like the motivation to make even a passable film, is non-existent. The performances are uninspired and the CGI totally undercooked. It is difficult to rack your brain hard enough to come up with a single good thing to say about it but the best one could manage is that it is short. So the suffering ends quickly enough.
Watch the trailer of "Dolittle" here
Director Stephen Gaghan's "Dolittle" is based on Hugh Lofting's second book in the "Dolittle series: The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle". Unlike Eddie Murphy's 1998 film which was set in present time, this one stays true to the period when the books were published. So, here we are in the 19th century, with a young Queen of England falling ill gravely and requiring help from one Doctor Dolittle. The doctor, however, has resigned himself to a life of isolation from humans since his wife died.
Of course, the Doctor has found company in his frankly impossible assortment of exotic creatures, gathered from world over, played by internet's favourite actors such as Tom Holland, John Cena, Selena Gomez and others. As is tradition with adventure films, the Doctor takes some convincing before he finally relents and embarks upon a voyage to distant lands, in search for a cure for a queen.
Admittedly, Downey says he did google "weirdest Welsh doctor" to find inspiration for his role and accent. The laziness of a Google search reflects through Downey's performance as well. He mumbles through the film, often to a point of inaudibility despite the unfailing Dolby Atmos. The hushed voice is somehow supposed to add to the eccentricity of widower adventurer but all it does is make him appear like the discounted version of Captain Jack Sparrow with talking animals as stand-ins for the zombie pirates. Initially, you wonder why a man of his talents is wasted on something like this but soon enough you realise he is not suffering at the hands of this film like us. In reality, he is actively adding to our suffering.
The CGI, supposed to be the one driving factor for the film is shoddy and incomplete even after sitting three years inside a computer. The animals' bodies often times do to match their surroundings and every time a human looks one in the eye, you wonder if these many animals could actually be cross-eyed. The dialogues are unimaginative and dull and the jokes rarely land on time. Sometimes, literally. Many of the lines appeared to have been over-dubbed on Downey and his other human friends, adding to the unfinished look of the film. As feared, the end product does look like a visceral waste of manpower and money.