It’s a tale that mesmerised us as children, and this recent instalment is no exception. Dolittle (2020) revisits the famous physician who is able to communicate with animals and who this time is played by Robert Downey Jr. Adorable animals support Dr Dolittle on his mission and personal quest in this heart-warming film directed by Stephen Gaghan.
The storyline includes suspenseful action sequences complete with hilarious banter between the animals portrayed through their quirks and quips. Poly the wise macaw, voiced by Emma Thompson, Yoshi the loveable polar bear (John Cena) and Betsy the go-getter giraffe (Selena Gomez) keep Dr Dolittle’s momentum heading in the right direction when all he wants to do is hide from all of his fellow humans. He’s just not a people person.
Inspired by Hugh Lofting’s classic children’s book, we learn that after the death of Mrs Dolittle, the good doctor has chosen to hide from the world surrounded by his beloved animals. When Queen Victoria in Buckingham Palace requests his help, he’s got no choice but to take a journey to a mysterious island to hunt down a healing tree that holds the only cure to help his dying queen.
The gaggle of A-listers lending their voices to the animals also includes Ralph Fiennes, Craig Robinson and Octavia Spencer, playing the dopey duck Dab-Dab. Rounding out the human characters are Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen and Jim Broadbent. It’s only when Dr Dolittle encounters a boy named Tommy Stubbins (Harry Collett), who is much like himself, that he lets down the walls in order to share his unique skills.
Watching the likeable and realistic animals and humans as their characters develop and progress leaves you with a warm and fuzzy feeling and in awe at what a wonderful world Dr Dolittle has created. Somehow, the unlikely gang of misfit animals and different humans just belongs together.
KATE SEARS 8/10