Oh boy. Here we go. It's been a long time since I watched a movie quite like Dolittle. I try to avoid the bottom of the barrel crap that drops into theaters nowadays. This is mainly because my time is too important to waste on the dumpster fires that come out of Hollywood. I was expecting Dolittle to be forgettable, but at the very least a little entertaining because Downey Jr. was in it. Once the movie starts, it's very apparent that this is the very pits of hell and we the audience have sinned. My god. What an abysmal experience.
Stephen Gaghan (writer and director of the great Syriana) directs Dolittle with as little whimsy and visual flair as possible. It's a mostly drab looking movie filled with cartoony special effects, extremely annoying animal characters, green screen, and very little joy from the human cast INCLUDING Robert Downey Jr. who I thought could make any movie entertaining, but obviously I was wrong. There's not much to say here. It's a showpiece for these cartoony animals to say "funny" things while also mugging and flailing around in "hilarious" ways. Stephen Gaghan probably had no idea what was going on while filming considering almost every scene has some big special effect in it. This could've been directed by anyone else and it would've been the same movie. It could've been directed by Martin Scorsese and it still would've sucked.
What could've been a really fun adventure story following a man who has a special bond with a group of animals ends up being the most groan-inducing, pun-filled, slapstick, fart joke nightmare that it could have possibly been! I left the theater weak. The film took every ounce of enthusiasm out of my body. It's a torture device for the brain and the soul. This is the lowest form of a big-budget movie. One that drains you of any life you had when you entered the theater. No moment of this 100-minute crap bucket made me smile with joy, laugh, applaud, or feel any form of emotion besides anger, and even that got zapped away once Dr. Dolittle forcibly removes stuff from a dragons anus while the dragon farts loudly into his face. At that point, I stopped feeling anything. I left the theater wishing I saw The Grudge for the second time instead. What a sad thought.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Robert. Downey. Jr. HOW DARE you promote this movie like you're actually proud of it. There's no way in any form of hell that Downey Jr. had a great time playing this lifeless portrayal of the classic character. I hope this is the first and last time I say this but RDJ was TERRIBLE in this movie. He gives Dolittle the charisma of a wet paper bag and lets all of the CGI animals do the heavy lifting when it comes to the "jokes" and "emotional" moments. That brings me to my next point, which is the annoying animals. I yearn for the days of real animals with CGI mouths from movies like Cats and Dogs and *ahem* the Eddie Murphy Dr. Dolittle movies! At least I don't need to watch cartoon animals flail around the screen the entire time. I might have to listen to bad jokes, but at least a huge budget isn't being burnt up on the screen. At least there isn't a polar bear voiced by John Cena constantly saying "Bro!" every five seconds. No character or actor is likable. The only one that almost gets to likable status is Michael Sheen as the villain, but that's just because I love when Sheen plays over the top villains (his character in the Twilight movies is a classic in my book). Everyone else is either intolerable or completely boring.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
I'll be brief here because I don't remember anything in the soundtrack that didn't make me immediately know that this scene is going to be dumb, unfunny, or boring. It's one of those scores that makes it very obvious where each scene is going. Whether it be an action scene, a comedic scene, or a more heartfelt one, each piece of composed music is generic and telegraphs what each scene is going to be almost immediately. Not that I needed help predicting where this crap was going, but thanks I guess!
The only thing I can say is okay in this film is the visual effects and some of the scenery. While a lot of the animals do look cartoony, they don't look terrible, and kind of fit with the overall tone of the film. Some of the scenery is nice to look at but it isn't enough for me to really sink my teeth into. The pirate island was a nice sight but when there are 20 goofy animals on-screen telling bad jokes, I can't really enjoy it. The real shame is the wasted potential with a character like Dolittle. This could've been a fun adventure film with some CGI animals tagging along with the adventurous and likable Dr. Dolittle, but NOPE! It's Dolittle tagging along with a bunch of horribly annoying and unlikable CGI animals.
Dolittle is one of those expensive failures that really makes you rethink film. How can someone spend so much money and waste so much talent on something this useless as entertainment? I spent 10 dollars to watch 200 million dollars burn on screen, and I left the theater hating every aspect of the experience. Just the thought of all of the beautifully done movies that could've been made with the budget of this crapfest makes me feel so sad for the directors, writers, actors, and producers that can't get their movies made. In other words, this movie sucks.