Dolittle (2020 Review)

in #reviewlast year

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Alternatively: how I do destroy a film in two pages or less


First things first

2020 people: th3Y m4De d0lLiTl3 WhIt3

1967 people: th3Y m4De d0lLiTl3 Bl4Ck

1998-2009 people: next they’ll say is that they don’t know about Maya


Hi, everyone!

I normally don’t do movie reviews– mostly because, by the time I’ve seen a movie, everyone already saw it. I tend to watch the DVD/Blue-ray Disc versions rather than go to the theater, but a friend came to visit from France so we went to see a movie and agreed on Dolittle.

Mistakes were made.

It’s not that I didn’t like the movie– I couldn’t like the movie.

Dolittle (2020) is the kind of movie you can only appreciate if you’re: a) less than eight years-old, or b) you’ve picked one of the first three Harry Potter movies as your favorite. After all, this movie can only be your cup of tea if you got either plain taste, or just not enough exposure to good things to know that buying a ticket for this film is a total waste.

Now, let’s crack it down: what makes Dolittle (2020) so bad?

Ok, so. We expected lots of CG and fantasy elements and the trailer had already spoiled us this movie was going to have old-school adventure touches. We’ve all seen or heard of Pirates of the Caribbean, we know Disney can do some good shit with real actors and CG, we know they’ve done adventure movies before. WE KNOW. So they’re out of excuses here, really.

It’s not that the concept was bad: Dolittle, grieving after the death of his wife, shut himself in his manor with the animals they both took in cared for together, closing his heart to humans so not to get hurt again. That’s it, until two kids barge into his house for two different reasons, forcing him out of his seclude state; from there on he has to get his shit together, face reality and help the Queen, or else he’ll lose the lawn and both himself and his animals will have nowhere to go.

In fact, they had an interesting formula– but the script was for kids. Like, super, super young kids, but I’m seriously doubting they’d be entertaining from beginning to end. This movie was, I kid you not, like seeing Lazy Town but with high-quality CG; if you saw the movie too, you know which parts I’m referring to.

For all of Robert Downey Jr. and Antonio Banderas’ skill as actors, they can’t hold such boring, inconsistent film on their own. Even so, they both did an awesome job while trapped in that shitty narrative. However, this isn’t the MCU, therefore they can’t hold a bunch of awfully written films with charisma alone– for starters, they don’t get to show their charisma, and while Robert will make you feel sympathetic from time to time, the bad script and awkward long shots will break the magic just as quickly.

Robert tries to make it work, he does his damned best to get this flight off the ground, he conveys powerful emotions in his expressions… but the script and sequences show just don’t make it fly, leaving Robert looking like Atlas: bearing the weight of this awful movie on his own.

But that’s not even the worst part. Oh no.

Dolittle (2020) was overly ambitious, you see. They wanted more, and it ended being more than they could chew.

The script tried to add more depth via other characters, aside from the animals, and opening sub-plots it never bothered giving closure to. Of course, this ended biting them in the ass, as I still have these questions:

Who the ever-loving fuck is Lady Rose?

It’s indirectly pointed that she’s the Queen’s daughter, or at the very least her niece, as people refer to her as Lady Rose and not princess, but someone mentions she’d be the next Queen, were the current one to die (at least, in my idiom they explain her existence this way. However, in the wiki, I saw she’s the Queen’s maid of honor, not a relative). But that’s it, that’s all we know.

Lady Rose is a character so plain and purposeless– I get she had to have ‘proper lady’ manners, strong sense of duty, etc. but she ended as someone with little to non-existent personality, just some stiff-girl with a slightly curious side, and that’s not enough to make her memorable, nor it adds to the plot in some way.

In the end, I would’ve taken the dog we never saw again from the opening scene, and get it to fetch Dolittle instead of her. “Doc, please come to see my Queen! She needs you! I need her, please!” BAM! Cheap emotional blackmail that actually works, and the role’s essence doesn’t change at all.

Does Stubbins actually have relatives?

Like, sure. We saw his uncle and cousin in the beginning, that’s the sole reason I know this guy has a family at all, but we don’t know anything about his background, aside from the fact they think he’s weird. Did his parents die or is it a temporary arrangement? (but we all know Disney has a thing for young, sad orphans) Was his life at home bad? Or was it so dull to make him wish becoming Dolittle’s apprentice out of sheer boredom?

Will Kevin ever get his revenge?

Because seriously, what’s the point on adding a vengeful squirrel if it isn’t going to bite?

Finally, and what made the cast’s effort go to waste, was the utter lack of dynamism product of an obviously poor edition work. To name a few things that rubbed me the wrong way: too many dragged scenes with long shots that made it awkward, as they added pauses when there was no need to. Sudden transitions between scenes. The soundtrack did neither compliment, or add anything to the film.

To summarize, Dolittle (2020) had both a bad-written script, which did not only not live up to the premise, but also let too many loose knots– and a director who probably hasn’t done a successfully adventure-genre movie in their life. And, if they did, it was either a Harry Potter movie or a ‘90s film.

In conclusion: the Trailers are far more interesting than the movie itself. So, go see the trailers and forget about everything else.