What’s left after your self-sacrifice saves the universe? How do you move on from being everyone’s favorite genius billionaire playboy philanthropist? What do you do after spending ten years turning a two-bit comic book character into an icon? The answer is clear — anything the hell you want.
Dolittle has the distinguished position of my very first review of 2020. I like to start things off strong, but I don’t every time get what I want. This movie is so… something. What can I say about it? Well. I laughed a couple of times. And, maybe the nicest I could say is that they picked a direction and they went for it HARD. Like really hard.
Let’s get started with RDJ, because if anyone goes to see this movie at all, I imagine he’s the reason. You cannot argue that he doesn’t have an amazing range of talent at his disposal. You will forget that he’s Iron Man. I’m not sure if he was going for Jack Sparrow or Mrs. Doubtfire in this role, but he played it consistently and with some sort of vision that I think maybe only he sees. But, I get that there’s some artistry in that. Maybe.
The rest of the movie is mostly populated with CG animals that are actually pretty well done. They manage to express more emotion than the ones in The Lion King, while still looking realistic enough to keep you in the movie. There’s also a range of really great vocal talent behind these characters. For my money, Kumail Nanjiani brought the best of it with his turn as an ostrich.
It’s mostly an adventure movie. There’s a bad guy played by Michael Sheen who does a pretty good job, assuming they asked him to chew up the scenery harder than anyone ever has and twirl his mustache with absolute, unbridled vigor. Antonio Banderas shows up as… well, I’m not sure exactly what he is. A king of an island maybe? Or a pirate king? I dunno. He’s charming, and weird. But if he wasn’t weird, then he wouldn’t fit in this movie at all.
Overall, Dolittle isn’t a complete train wreck, but I don’t think the train is fully on the tracks, either. Kids of the proper age may get more mileage out of the movie than I did, as there are some truly exciting scenes and animals are always something kids latch on to. It’s not a very diverse movie. There are literally no female characters that I would consider more than ancillary (except a parrot, I guess, if that counts). But that aside, it’s a fine family movie.
So, yeah. I hope 2020 gets better than this.
Should you watch it? Eh. Probably not, unless you have a kid that really responds to the idea of it.
Should you take your kids? Only kids could actually enjoy this to its fullest, so please.
What you should watch first: Nothing. I guess that’s a point in its favor. No huge back catalog to study up on first. Yay?