Dolittle Movie Ending Explained (In Detail)

Spoilers Alert:

After several start date postponements and under gloomy circumstances THE FANTASTIC JOURNEY OF DR. DOLITTLE also in USA cinemas this week. We reveal in our review whether the fears of a second “Cats” are justified.

Together with his animals and his apprentice (Harry Collett), Dolittle goes on an adventurous journey.

The plot summary

Even seven years after her death, the eccentric doctor Dr. Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) cannot get over the loss of his wife. Together with a motley crew of exotic animals, he has withdrawn from the Victorian world of England and holed up behind the high walls of his family estate, Dolittle Manor. But when the young Queen Victoria (Jessie Buckley) falls seriously ill, Dolittle reluctantly has to leave his home and travel to a legendary island in search of a cure. It’s a dangerous mission, but as he has to face old enemies and encounter new, wondrous creatures, his courage and wit reawaken little by little. Dolittle is accompanied on this breakneck odyssey by his self-appointed apprentice (Harry Collett) and of course by his loud animal family, consisting of a fearful gorilla, an enthusiastic but not particularly far-thinking duck, a cynical ostrich, a good-humored polar bear and a stubborn parrot, Dolittle’s most important advisor in all situations.

Dolittle Movie Meaning

The children’s book “Doctor Dolittle and His Animals” written by Hugh Lofting has an eventful history. As early as the 1930s, the book illustrator and silhouette animator Lotte Reiniger made small silhouette films based on the novel. The plans for a feature-length film failed due to the creator’s lack of money, before thirty years later Hollywood also recognized the potential of the story about a veterinarian talking to his patients and had a film musical produced based on the material. Although it received a total of nine Oscar nominations, the film adaptation with Eddie Murphy in the leading role is probably one of the best known – and most successful – to date. The 1998 family film even spawned a sequel. 18 years have passed since then. By Hollywood standards, enough to justify another remake. And with Robert Downey Jr. (“Avengers: Endgame”), the production studio Universal Pictures was even able to sign a real megastar for the lead role (and many other top-class actors for speaking roles). But he’s not the only one who doesn’t like talking about the project anymore. Director Stephen Gaghan (“Gold”) is also only partially interested in his work. His film is “The Fantastic Journey of Dr. Dolittle” is no longer a thing, but after 21 days of painstaking reshoots after extremely miserable test screenings, Chris McKay (“The LEGO Batman Movie”) as author and Jonathan Liebesman (“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”) as director have put their own stamp on the film. Whether they saved what could be saved, saved the film from Gaghan’s handwriting or made the result worse, we will probably never know in retrospect. What is certain is that “The Fantastic Journey of Dr. Dolittle” still has many weaknesses, but is certainly not the catastrophe that some film journalists have already made of it overseas with comparisons to the musical disgrace “Cats” .

When the queen arrives, Dr. Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) for a cure.

“The fantastic journey of Dr. “Dolittle” can be divided into three sections in terms of both content and quality. The first includes a prologue in beautifully old-fashioned animation about the past of the eponymous veterinarian and getting to know Dolittle’s cosmos, which includes not only Dolittle himself in this story, but also his unwilling apprentice Tommy, as well as many exotic animals. The establishment of his character seems a bit unfortunate at first glance (while hunting, at the urging of his strict father, the boy accidentally shoots a squirrel, which he then takes to Dr. Dolittle), but in theory it also offers nice approaches for gags . The squirrel who was shot by Tommy now sees his accidental almost-murderer as a villainous figure and swears revenge, which the script drops pretty quickly. Nevertheless, Gaghan manages to create a nice introduction to the film based on this premise. Although Downey Jr., as a scruffy, unkempt doctor with a meter-long beard, is irritatingly reminiscent of Jim Carrey in “Dumb and Dumbmore ,” the main focus from the start is on the animals anyway. How well these would be animated was also difficult to estimate before the film started. Above all, a message from the set made the rounds that the filming of the film had taken place without the support of the effects specialists, so that Downey Jr. and Co. always had to act in a vacuum before the animals were later added into the picture. Maybe that’s why you often see the fluffy two- and four-legged friends in close-up while the actors recite their dialogue from off-screen. But for a production that was created under such gloomy circumstances, the makers manage surprisingly well to conceal all of these problem areas.

While the feathered fellows in particular, from ducks to ostriches to parrots, look damn realistic (especially when you consider that up until the time of the reshoots, they had never been involved in a project costing several hundred million dollars), they in particular work Big cats irritating. A fluffy lion cub blends in so little believably with the tactile backdrop that it disappears completely from the scene after two sentences. And anyone who has seen “Life of Pi” or the “Jungle Book” remake will ask themselves why the striped big cat in “Dolittle” looks so fake when, technically, it has long been possible for such creatures to look authentic allow. However, the children’s target audience, which is already targeted by the film, is unlikely to be irritated by this. In the second third of the film there is a risk that the audience will become quite bored. After a solidly successful start, “The Fantastic Journey of Dr. “Dolittle” is noticeable in the middle, although a narrative part on an island with an adventurous rescue mission of a book shrouded in mystery should actually have been the most exciting part on paper. But the production simply lacks drive; also because, although we learn a lot about the doctor’s backstory, his personal motivation for the journey in search of a healing fruit is only touched on very superficially. “The fantastic journey of Dr. Until the end, “Dolittle” remains primarily a vehicle for as many different animals as possible; At least the little ones should like it, also because of the lots of slapstick and wordplay. A small side note: The inflationary use of the word “Bro” is at least as uncool as the German variation “Brudi” – even the kids in the press screening didn’t think that was popular (anymore).

While the first third of “The Fantastic Journey of Dr. Dolittle” and the second one is slack, the film unfortunately steers towards a complete narrative catastrophe in the finale. The fact that the entire story is merely an exposition for an oversized fart gag requires a lot of goodwill from viewers outside the target group and is clearly the film’s biggest weak point. It doesn’t help that Robert Downey Jr., in his first non-Iron Man role since 2014 (back in “The Judge – Law or Honor”), can save face even during such embarrassments with the help of his passionate acting The dragon (!) playing a central role in this joke looks nicely animated. Of course, it is now difficult to judge whether the film’s resolution is a result of the subsequent rewriting process. However, the fact that the film was consistently rated as “too dark” for a family film in test screenings in the USA certainly provides an indication that the film could actually have ended up being much less embarrassing. The editing, which is perceived as irritatingly choppy throughout the film, doesn’t really come to rest in the last third either. The film repeatedly jumps abruptly from one set piece to the next, preventing a certain atmosphere from developing over a longer period of time. This gives the impression of a scenic patchwork that would have benefited from an artistic follow-up treatment. It’s a shame that this is what “The Fantastic Journey of Dr. Dolittle” can so clearly enumerate the potential that has been left behind. Under better production conditions this could have become a really good film.

Conclusion: “The fantastic journey of Dr. Dolittle” visibly suffers from the difficult production conditions that prevent the adventure comedy from being a good film. But thanks to the good animal animation and a committed Robert Downey Jr., it is still an average family film that young viewers in particular should be able to forgive a few mistakes.

“The fantastic journey of Dr. “Dolittle” can be seen in USA cinemas from January 30th – also in 3D.

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