This article may contain spoilers for “Dolittle.”
“Dolittle” starring Robert Downey Jr. is a family friendly thrill ride that will make you laugh, cry and ask yourself, “Did that really just happen?”
The film started off unexpected, with a love story, as the audience is introduced to John Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) and his wife Lily (Kasia Smutiak).
However, before the film truly starts, it pulls an “Up” and Lily dies — just like Ellie did.
Several years later Dolittle is summoned to Buckingham Palace where he encounters a former classmate, Dr. Blair Müdfly (Michael Sheen), who has also been enlisted to diagnose and treat the Queen’s illness.
With the help of a squid and Jip the dog (Tom Holland) they identify a rare poison whose only cure is the fruit of a fabled Eden Tree.
This sends Dolittle on a quest with many animal companions to save the Queen and his home while being perused by Müdfly whose objective is to make sure Dolittle never makes it back.
Dolittle, overall, is a decent film that teaches the audience that grief does not mean life stops.
While some scenes are cliché, the others feature really beautiful moments. When Dolittle is nearly eaten by the dragon he relates to the pain of losing the person they love, and sharing the pain they’re both going through.
By having the main character surrounded by mostly animals during his life, the importance of a human connection is emphasized.
Other scenes, such as one where Dolittle is requesting help from ants to pick a lock, the ant uses a notable quote from “The Godfather” to begin their conversation with, “You come to me on the day of my daughter’s wedding.”
This has been seen in in many films such as “Zootopia,” and was not entirely unexpected.
One of my biggest issues in the film is Kevin (Craig Robinson) the squirrel.
His character is an annoying diva for most of the film.
Then again, I hate squirrels so the character was off to a bad start.
However, I must confess to having a few laughs over this character, which made me uncomfortable.
Periodically through the film Kevin gives “journal entries,” which all roughly start with a comment about “I do not understand why I continue to journey with this pack of killers,” until the end when the Queen is saved and he says “the killing has stopped.”
The film misses its mark with humor during a few instances, such as the overused fart jokes during the dragon’s surgery.
The gags also tend to interrupt what would otherwise be seen as very moving, heartfelt scenes.
One joke that did manage to work throughout the film was whenever Dolittle asked for medical equipment from Dab-Dab (Octavia Spencer) the duck, he would always be given a celery stalk instead.
Overall some of the messages throughout the film such as the primary theme of, “It’s ok to be afraid” are important.
This theme is a great plot device to portray the lesson even during the humor of the rest of the film.