Dolittle

This image is official promotional art for Dolittle. According to IMDb.com under the article, “Dolittle”, IMDb defines that “the rights for this image and film belong to Universal Pictures, Perfect World Pictures, Roth/Kirschenbaum Films and Team Downey Productions” (1).  These production companies are responsible for the creation of this film. This image is on Dolittle’s official Facebook page as a Cover Photo. Follow this link to learn more about this film as well as get up to date news.

Children’s Film Can Show Sophistication

Throughout the years, children’s film have become their own form of entertainment.  Generally, the film genre of animation is catering towards children.  Granted, this stereotype has significantly changed over the years with animation companies like Studio Ghibli.  With that said, animation is still keen towards children’s films.  However, every once in a while, there’s a live action children’s film. Some of the ones that first come to mind include Air Bud, Aladdin (2019), and Hocus Pocus for example.  What specific about these live action films that make them children’s film? Generally, children’s films messages and characters are relatable to children.  Some of the best films have beautiful messages that both adults and children can understand.  Furthermore, adults also need to have some sort of entertainment as well.

Therefore, well-thought out children’s films will balance the message as well as jokes for both kids and adults.  Unfortunately, there are countless number of film companies that make films that only focus on children humor.  As a result, some films like Norm of the North rely on the lowest dominator of jokes in order to get a laugh.  Much like the most recent children’s film, Dolittle.  On January 17, 2020, Universal Pictures releases Dolittle in theaters around the nation.  Dolittle is a wonderful children’s novel about a scientist who can talk to animals.  There’s a lot of different ways this film could excel and show kids a new version of the beloved classic.  However, Dolittle proves once again the stereotype of children’s films.  In this review, we’re analyzing how Dolittle undermines children’s film by examining the story, characters, and animation.

Dolittle Has Tons of Potential but the Story is a Disaster

Firstly, let’s look at the story.  Oh boy does this film have a disaster of a story.  Honestly, that’s sad to say because the story of Dolittle is so well known.  Essentially, Dolittle, his animals, and a young boy have to find a cure for the Queen’s sickness.  At first glance, this seems like a great potential for a fun adventure story.  Especially with the wide variety of characters that the story presents.  Despite this, Dolittle’s story moves way too quick, plot holes are prevalent, the setting is extremely confusing, and characters that are forgettable.  With all that said, there are a number of problems with this film.  When films have pacing issues, this can cause a problem.  Especially when it comes to children.  While yes, children don’t need to be handfed the story, they still need to be able to follow the story.

Additionally, plot holes are an issue within Dolittle.  Plot holes can bring unresolved problems within the story.  Which is exactly what this film does.  Typically, films especially children’s films wind together stories in one way or another.  Unfortunately, the plot holes are  prevalent that the story is incredibly confusing.   Furthermore, the setting of this film is confusing.  Since this is Dolittle, there’s an assumption that this film will take place in an older time period.  More specifically, within the 1920s.  However, the way the characters interact with each other doesn’t establish the setting.  Having a defining structure is vital to have in children’s films.  This is so kids can understand where the story takes place.  However, Dolittle doesn’t follow this formula.  As a result, there’s no structural setting to this film. Just as the story is a complete disaster, the characters are one dimensional and forgettable.

The Characters in Dolittle are One Dimensional and Completely Forgettable

Dolittle has some of the most one dimensional and forgettable characters I’ve seen in a long time.  One thing I will say is that Robert Downey Jr. is probably the best part of this film.  To clarify, Robert Downey Jr. is the voice of Doctor Dolittle.  Doctor Dolittle was a likeable character who the audience wants to know more about him.  In spite of this, every other character in this film are not only one dimensional but they’re completely forgettable.  The animals are suppose to be one of the driving factors in the story.  Granted, there’s a lot of children’s film that use animals as main characters.  This is done to establish relatability regardless of nationality. Some well receive animal films include The Lion King and Zootopia.  However, Dolittle creates way too many animal characters. As a result, there’s no chance for the audience to get to know the characters.

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The lack of communication doesn’t help that there’s a consistent narrator.  There’s a common story expression of “Show, Don’t Tell”.  With the “Show, Don’t Tell” method, many moments can be much more impactful.  One instance of this is the true character reveal of Hans from Frozen.  In fact, the villain of Dolittle is laughable.  The villain in Dolittle is so forgettable and one dimension that I can’t even remember his name.  That’s how bad of a villain that this film has.  Another character that is completely forgettable is the young boy who becomes Doctor Dolittle’s apprentice.  Being able to create a child main character is vitally important because children connect more with children characters.  However, this isn’t the case because there’s nothing relatable to his character.  He’s simply there to help Dolittle find a cure to save the Queen.  The way these characters are written is weak and boring.

This Film Tries to Use Animation as a Way to Intrigue Younger Viewers to See Dolittle

Finally, let’s take a look at the animation in this film.  Unsurprisingly, the animation is done on the animals. The animation in this film is decent enough.  However, the use of animation is more prevalent than the use of real animals.  Easily, Dolittle could have use real animals in this film.  Much like the 1998 Eddie Murphy version of Dr. Dolittle.  Where in that film, they used real animals but did simple ways to move their mouths.  Except, that’s not what this new version of Dolittle does.  Again, this is where Dolittle tries to gain the younger children audiences.  If this film has animation, then children will come see it.  On one hand, children’s media does consist of a lot of animation.  So therefore, children would be more incline to see it. However, the way the animation is done makes some of the characters seem awkward and out of place.

One character I can think of where the animation is extremely awkward is the dog, Jip. His animation is incredibly awkward to the point where there are some points that make Jip clearly look fake.  Once again, Dolittle has the opportunity to use real animals with simple changes to the animals.  However, this film feels like they used animation as a way to bring children viewers.  There’s some problems with the animation that hurt this film rather than praise it.

Dolittle is a Huge Disappointment and Expresses the Bare Minimum for Children’s Entertainment

In this review, we analyze how Dolittle undermines children’s films.  Firstly, we took a look at the story of this film.  Without a doubt, Dolittle has a disaster story.  Like we discuss, this story moves way too quickly, the establishment of the setting is confusing, and plot holes are everywhere.  Additionally, the characters are one dimensional and forgettable.  The fact that I can’t even remember the name of the villain is incredibly frustrating.  Last but not least, the animation is basic but not spectacular. As if the film makers knew that children love anything regarding animation with no thought put in.  All in all, Dolittle is a disaster of a film.  If you want to take your kids out, don’t take them to see Dolittle. Currently, Frozen II is still in theaters. Also, Sonic the Hedgehog will be coming out within a couple of weeks.

There are plenty of children films that provide a wholesome along with having meaningful stories.  Don’t see this film simply because Dolittle just shows the most basic stereotypes of children films.

Open for Discussion

Thank you so much for reading this review.  Oh boy was this a hard one to watch.  Now, I want to hear your opinions. What did you think of Dolittle?  Did you think it was as big of a dumpster fire as I did? On the other hand, if you did enjoy this film, what did you like about it? Fill free to leave your opinion in the comments below because I would love to see what other people think of this film.

If you like what you see here, fill free to follow this link to a previous review I did.  Previously, I review a review of Frozen II. In that review, I discuss how this film shines above the pressures of Frozen.  Go check that article out.

Finally, if you want to receive any news regarding pop-culture, create an account today at Geek Street Society. 

Thank you once again, and stay tuned for more news here on Geek Street Society.

Word Cited

IMDb.com, Inc. “Dolittle.” IMDb, IMDb.com, 17 Jan. 2020, www.imdb.com/title/tt6673612/companycredits?ref_=tt_dt_co.

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