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Dolittle
Dolittle (2020 film poster).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Stephen Gaghan
Produced by
  • Joe Roth
  • Jeff Kirschenbaum
  • Susan Downey
Screenplay by
  • Stephen Gaghan
  • Dan Gregor
  • Doug Mand
Story by Thomas Shepherd
Starring
Music by Danny Elfman
Cinematography Guillermo Navarro
Editing by
  • Craig Alpert
  • Chris Lebenzon
Studio
  • Roth/Kirschenbaum Films
  • Team Downey
  • Perfect World Pictures
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) January 17, 2020 (2020-01-17) (United States)
Running time 101 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $175 million
Money made $251.4 million

Dolittle (also referred to as The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle) is a 2020 American fantasy adventure film directed by Stephen Gaghan from a screenplay by Gaghan, Dan Gregor, and Doug Mand, based on a story by Thomas Shepherd. A remake of the original 20th Century Fox series 1967 Doctor Dolittle film and its reboot Eddie Murphy counterparts, Dolittle is based on the title character created by Hugh Lofting and is primarily inspired by the author's second Doctor Dolittle book, The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle (1922). Robert Downey Jr. stars as the title character, alongside Antonio Banderas and Michael Sheen in live-action roles, with Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, Tom Holland, Craig Robinson, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, and Marion Cotillard voicing an array of creatures.

The project was announced in March 2017 with Downey set to star, and the rest of the cast joined over the following year. Filming began in March 2018 and lasted through June, taking place around the United Kingdom. The film underwent three weeks of reshoots in the spring of 2019, under the supervision of Jonathan Liebesman and Chris McKay after initial test screenings yielded poor results.

Universal Pictures theatrically released Dolittle in the United States on January 17, 2020. The film grossed $250 million worldwide and became the seventh highest-grossing film of 2020, but became one of the biggest box office bombs in history, losing Universal as much as $50-100 million. It received generally negative reviews from critics, particularly for its humor and story, and was nominated for six Golden Raspberry Awards, including Worst Picture.

Plot

In Victorian era Britain, Dr. John Dolittle is a Welsh veterinarian with the ability to communicate with animals. After his wife, Lily, dies at sea, Dolittle retreats from human society and only tends to animals. A boy, Tommy Stubbins, accidentally wounds Kevin the red squirrel and is guided to Dolittle's help by Polynesia, a macaw.

Queen Victoria summons Dolittle to cure her of a deadly sickness. He refuses until Poly persuades him that he must begin to reconnect with fellow humans. He finds the Queen has been poisoned, and the only cure is the magical fruit of Eden from the faraway land of Lily's birth. Poly, Betsy the giraffe, and Tutu the fox help Tommy escape from his home, and he joins Dolittle's crew including Kevin, monkeys Elliot and Elsie, Chee-Chee the gorilla, Yoshi the polar bear, Plimpton the ostrich, Dab-Dab the duck, and Mini the sugar glider. They put to sail for the cure while evading Dolittle's lifelong rival, Dr. Blair Müdfly. Dolittle leaves his lurcher dog Jip and a walking stick named Sticks behind to guard the Queen while he's traveling. Dolittle's boat is attacked by Müdfly, and they escape by harnessing a whale, who pulls the boat to safety.

They continue to Lily's island where, attempting to steal Lily's directions to the fruit tree, Dolittle is apprehended by Lily's father King Rassouli and is locked in a cage with Barry, a moody tiger looking for his mother's approval. Just as Dolittle is to be killed, a newly-courageous Chee-Chee incapacitates Barry. Dolittle and Tommy escape, but lose Lily's journal to Müdfly and have their ship destroyed. Rassouli loans Dolittle a boat to honour his daughter.

Trailing Müdfly, Dolittle and company meet Ginko-Who-Soars, a dragon who guards the cure tree. Ginko attacks, causing Müdfly to fall down a hole, but soon collapses from internal pain. Dolittle diagnoses and cures the dragon, who gratefully shows Dolittle the tree. Dolittle returns in time to heal the queen. Sticks reveals that Lord Thomas Badgley, one of the Queen's chairmen, poisoned her in order to take the crown for himself, and it was he who ordered Müdfly to foil Dolittle's quest. The Queen has him arrested for treason, and thanks Dolittle for saving her. Dolittle takes on Tommy as his apprentice and re-opens his sanctuary.

Cast

See also: List of Doctor Dolittle characters
  • Robert Downey Jr. as Dr. John Dolittle, a Welsh widowed veterinarian who has the ability to speak to animals.
  • Harry Collett as Tommy Stubbins, Dolittle's self-appointed apprentice.
  • Antonio Banderas as King Rassouli, Lily's father and the king of bandits.
  • Michael Sheen as Dr. Blair Müdfly, an old schoolmate and rival of Dolittle who gradually becomes impressed by Dolittle's special ability.
  • Jim Broadbent as Lord Thomas Badgley, one of the Queen's chairmen.
  • Jessie Buckley as Queen Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom
  • Carmel Laniado as Lady Rose, a maid of honor to the Queen and Tommy's friend and love interest.
  • Kasia Smutniak as Lily Dolittle, Dolittle's deceased wife and King Rassouli's daughter.
  • Ralph Ineson as Arnall Stubbins, Tommy's uncle.
  • Joanna Page as Bethan Stubbins, Tommy's aunt.
  • Sonny Ashbourne Serkis as Arnall Stubbins Jr., Tommy's cousin.
  • Elliot Barnes-Worrell as Captain William Derrick, a British Captain Officer who follows Dr. Müdfly's orders.

Voices

  • Emma Thompson as Polynesia ("Poly" for short), a wise and brave blue and yellow macaw and Dolittle's most trusted adviser.
  • Rami Malek as Chee-Chee, a shy but noble mountain gorilla.
  • John Cena as Yoshi, a happy-go-lucky polar bear who wears a chullo because he is always cold.
  • Kumail Nanjiani as Plimpton, a mischievous and critical but well-meaning ostrich who wears striped stockings and argues with Yoshi.
  • Octavia Spencer as Dab-Dab, a helpful but deluded duck with a metal leg.
  • Tom Holland as Jip, a loyal dog who wears glasses.
  • Craig Robinson as Kevin, a cheeky-chippy red squirrel with a bad attitude.
  • Ralph Fiennes as Barry, an aggressive bengal tiger with golden fangs who has a past with Dolittle and wants to please his mother.
  • Selena Gomez as Betsy, a friendly Maasai giraffe.
  • Marion Cotillard as Tutu, a French fox who is best friends with Betsy. She replaces Too-Too the owl who was featured in the original Doctor Dolittle books.
  • Frances de la Tour as Ginko-Who-Soars, a fire-breathing dragon who guards the magical fruits of Eden.
  • Jason Mantzoukas as James, a comical dragonfly.
  • Nick A. Fisher as Mini, a cute sugar glider.
  • Tim Treloar as Humphrey, a humpback whale.
  • Jim Carretta as Arthur, a bearded mouse who was in Dolittle's beard before it was shaved.
    • Carretta also voices Leona, an octopus belonging to the queen.
  • Ranjani Brow and Kelly Stables as Mice
  • Scott Menville as Army Ant
  • Will Arnett as a hare in one of Rassouli's prison cells who is a friend of Barry
  • David Sheinkopf as Don Carpenterino, the boss ant.

Baby animals are voiced by Gia Davis, Henry Holcomb, Kyrie Mcalpin, and Isley Zamora.

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