Downey’s ‘Dolittle’ remake recreates a classic tale

Written By Diana Navarrete, Staff Writer

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Robert Downey Jr. stars as the character Dr. John Dolittle: a famous, eccentric animal-speaking veterinarian and doctor who serves Queen Victoria of England.

Critics on Rotten Tomatoes have various opinions on how Robert Downey Jr. portrays the character Dr. Dolittle.  Some don’t believe that the actor fits the role and is compared with his previous role of “Iron Man” in the past Marvel films.

However, that is what is most intriguing about the film-viewers have the opportunity to judge for themselves whether the classic roles are revived by new actors. Another popular actor in the film is Antonio Banderas, commonly known from the film “Spy Kids.”  He perfectly plays the role of the mischievous King Rassouli, Downey’s ex-father in law in the movie.

The backstory of the characters in Dolittle begins with him finding the love of his life and then losing her after she went on a solo expedition. He is left with the guilt of not being with her during the accident, feeling as though he could have saved her, and decides to shut the doors of his animal sanctuary.

Dolittle is left with the company of his wide array of animals and focuses on curing those with behavioral and mental issues, such as a gorilla with insecurity and irrational fear. Everything changes for Dolittle when two children sneak into his mansion looking for his aid.

Tommy Stubbins (Harry Collett), a boy in a family of hunters, shoots a squirrel by accident and pleads Dr. Dolittle to help it. This leads Dolittle to continue his help of animals and return to the business of curing animals.

Interestingly, the squirrel becomes one of the main characters and adds silly humor to the film.  There is a series of events where the squirrel attempts to seek revenge on the boy for attempting to kill him, until the squirrel ends up forgiving him in the end.

The other child is a girl sent by the young Queen of England (Jessie Buckley) who has fell gravely ill. Once Dolittle finds out that the Queen has been poisoned, he is obliged to set sail off into an adventure to find a magical cure, or his sanctuary and animals will be taken away following the Queen’s death.

With the help of his furry friends and Stubbins, who eagerly wants to become Dolittle’s apprentice, they set sail on a great adventure.

It is the typical, yet intriguing, plot in which there is the adventurer, apprentice and friends set to finding a treasure, or in this case a magical cure, while facing various obstacles, such as a man-eating Bengal tiger. Then, there is also the typical villain obsessed with outwitting the hero.

In regard to the main characters, they all have their own arcs throughout the film. Stubbins develops skills with the help of his animal friends and Dolittle. He discovers that he has the potential to speak to animals in order to help them. Dolittle, meanwhile, learns to let go of his past and look towards the future.

There is a good message of self-acceptance and believing in oneself with a strong sense of family, and how it is important to accept help from loved ones.

The attention to detail and overall filmmaking transports viewers into a great adventure and brings out the inner child and imagination of viewers with its lovable characters.