“Dolittle” disappoints fans

Fallon Ryan Blair, Entertainment Editor

After his success as Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. stars as the title role of Dr. John Dolittle in “Dolittle.”

Dr. Dolittle was once a world-renowned animal doctor because of his ability to talk to any kind of animal. Even the queen of England called upon him for assistance.

The queen became so fond of the doctor that she gave him his own manor to carry out his studies, where he met his soulmate Lily.

Shortly after becoming a married couple, Lily sets off on a solo journey to find the mythical tree of Eden that holds the cure to any illness. She gathers pieces of information that create a map to the legendary island where the  Eden tree is located. Unfortunately, Lily’s ship is caught in a violent storm that drowns Lily along with her ship.

Dr. Dolittle is distraught. He secludes himself in his manor with only his collection of exotic animals to talk to, thinking it’s not worth it to help humans in all of their cruelty to nature.

After years of heartache in  an unhealthy setting, Dolittle receives two unexpected juvenile visitors.

One of them is the bright Tommy Stubbins. The Stubbins are known for their excellent hunting skills, but Tommy wants to tread a different path after accidentally killing a squirrel, so he comes to Dolittle for help.

The other visitor is Lady Rose who has come from Buckingham palace to request the doctor’s medical services to cure the queen of a deadly illness.

Dolittle is at first reluctant to leaving his manor, but after giving surgery to the injured squirrel, he remembers how much he enjoyed medical work and the satisfaction of curing a patient. The doctor, his animals and Lady Rose take a carriage to the palace with Tommy secretly stowing away to escape from his unbearable family.

At the palace, Dr. Dolittle finds out that the queen has been poisoned and the only cure he knows of is the Eden tree. Stubbins acts as Dolittle’s apprentice and accompanies him on his journey to the ill-fated island of the Eden tree.

Robert Downey Jr. delivers a stale performance as the lead role only stating plot details  and random lines of potty humor. His accent is a very odd mix of American and British dialect, which can sometimes be hard to understand and doesn’t blend well with his co-stars’ Victorian English accent.

Michael Sheen plays Dr. Dolittle’s medical rival Dr. Müdfly, who obsesses over besting Dolittle and tries to stop him from reaching the Eden tree. Dr. Müdfly’s one motivation can sometimes get redundant making his character very one-dimensional.

Harry Collett’s role as the bright Tommy Stubbins marks his first big break in a somewhat mediocre movie. Collet delivers a very lovable performance as he learns many new things about the wonder of animals and the world around him.

It’s very suprising that the animals have better character performances and development than the human characters.

Emma Thompson plays Poly, a very wise parrot who guides most of Dr. Dolittle’s decisions and character development. Poly is one of the more prominent animals acting as Dolittle’s parental figure.

Other stand-outs include Plimpton, a hilariously lazy ostrich who is played by Kumail Nanjiani, and Kevin, a traumitized squirrel that seeks revenge who is played by “The Office” veteran Craig Robinson.

The plot may seem like a simple hero’s journey at first but starts to add layers and layers of random exposition that can quickly confuse children and parents alike.

The CGI used for the animals can sometimes be inconsistent and looks less realistic than the CGI animals in movies like “The Lion King” (2019) and “The Jungle Book” (2016).

Even though “Dolittle” delivers an expansive world of lively animals, it fails in its plot, human characters and comedic dialogue.