Dolittle: Good Comedy with animals

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Dolittle, the family movie of the week, resonated especially with those who had a childhood in the 1980s and who had or still keep Doctor Aumadoore in the library, the collection of heart-wrenching adventures of the Doctor who understands the wonders of animals. The book Doctor Aumădoare (which was recently reprinted in Romania, with the original drawings – illustrations by V. Cijikov) is after a story by Hugh Lofting, the author of Dolittle. Dr. Dolittle was initially the hero of the letters Hugh Lofting sent from the front, in World War I, to his children.

Robert Downey Jr. (former Iron Man) talks to the animals in this film, where a few tougher topics are touched upon – fear management (Chee-Chee gorilla, Rami Malek’s voice, fears acting in crucial situations, despite the size and plus his return from the trauma of losing someone dear (Dolittle was left without a wife), plus the fact that animals behave like humans and have human reactions. These last two aspects will bring children closer to the animal world.

The action is linear (the doctor and his animals leave England for an uncharted island to find a cure for the Queen), but the simple thread of the story can be easily traced and understood by the smallest of spectators. The animals are very well made and attached – the frigid gorilla (Remi Malek), an enthusiastic but not too smart goose (voice Octavia Spencer), a cynical ostrich (Kumail Nanjiani), an overly energetic polar bear (John Cena), and an extremely stubborn parrot (Emma Thompson), who is Dolittle’s trusted and most trusted advisor. Michael Sheen and Antonio Banderas are bad guys in the story.

Downey Jr. keeps her in hiccups and jerking, and her Iron Man role is in jeopardy when she starts to pull out of a dragon’s back area and swallows it over time, causing her indigestion. The gases removed from the body are – we do not know and do not understand for what reasons – a recurring point in this film.

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