I have never actually seen the original 1967 Dr. Dolittle, starring Rex Harrison as the eponymous zoolingualist, but I vaguely recall both reading the 1920 children’s book The Story of Doctor Dolittle and seeing the 1998 Eddie Murphy film, so I suppose I am an expert. With that in mind, I am not entirely sure the world needs this action-adventure Dolittle remake starring Robert Downey, Jr. and a bunch of CGI animals, but I guess we’re getting it.
The trailer is...very dramatic, as you can see, and rife with animals ripped right from the live-action Lion King, along with a backing soundtrack that seems more apt for Oscar bait than what is sure to be a mediocre children’s movie. From the looks of it, this Dolittle retelling hews closer to the book/1967 iteration, which involves a fantastical (and colonialist, and, depending on which book version you’re reading, deeply racist) journey—for comparison’s sake, the Eddie Murphy Dr. Dolittle was a heartwarming story about a father trying to bond with his daughter and a guinea pig voiced by Chris Rock.
I do not think Chris Rock is in this movie, but according to IMDB, in addition to Downey, Jr. (doing his best Sherlock, but make it animals) Tom Holland is, as are Rami Malek, Ralph Fiennes, Antonio Banderas, Emma Thompson, Michael Sheen, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, Selena Gomez, John Cena, and Marion Cotillard. They all seem to play very bright-colored animals. Well, damn! I still probably won’t see it.
Dolittle will be released on January 17, 2020.