By Nathan Kamal | 13 seconds ago
It is undeniable that 2008 iron man revitalized the career of Robert Downey Jr. to a point not seen since John Travolta pulp fiction. It not only launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and eventually the entire modern Hollywood paradigm), it transformed RDJ from a former Brat Pack member with many liabilities into the highest-paid single actor in the world. To his credit, RDJ never seemed to call in his role as Tony Stark, helping Stan Lee’s vague idea of irritating liberals by turning a drunken capitalist superhero into a real-life human character and cinematic icon. But after that, what to do? Where can someone go who has been brought back from the abyss of professional death? As it turns out, Robert Downey Jr. decided to go along with it dolittle, which turned out to be his biggest failure in decades. Despite it, dolittle is among the ten most viewed films on Freevee.
Robert Downey Jr dolittle is a very loose adaptation of a series of early 20th-century children’s adventure novels by Hugh Lofting, which followed the adventures of a quirky doctor-turned-naturalist who can talk to animals. The series has been adapted several times, most notably for a 1967 film starring Rex Harrison and a series of films in the early 2000s, first starring Eddie Murphy and then Kyla Pratt (as Dolittle’s daughter) and Norm MacDonald as the voice of a dog. Robert Downey Jr.’s film splits the difference between these two adaptations by retaining the Victorian England setting of the former and the latter’s unrelenting animal voice stunt casting.
Famed comedian and early movie star WC Fields reportedly coined the phrase “Never work with animals or children” because of their tendency to steal the spotlight whenever they are on screen. It seems that Robert Downey Jr. decided not only to ignore this advice, but to take a hard 180-degree walk away from it when dolittle is absolutely packed with rampaging CGI animals doing crazy things and adorable moppets begging Doctor Dolittle to save the Queen of England (Jessie Buckley).
The actual plot of the film is both simple and bizarrely convoluted. Basically, Queen Victoria is terminally ill and only Robert Downey Jr.’s heavily Welsh-accented Doctor Dolittle can save her by finding a magical fruit while being pursued by an obsessed, ruthless doctor (Michael Sheen, who, as always, indulges in a mad feat prescribed). To expand the plot, a young boy (Harry Collett) appoints himself as Dolittle’s apprentice after injuring a squirrel, voiced by Craig Robinson. There is an English noblewoman (Carmel Laniado) who despite her ten years old seems to be the Queen’s personal hand, who also turns out to be the daughter of the island king by Antonio Banderas, there is a poison attack, and then a dragon farts really hard. It’s not just a childish flatulence joke, it’s a crucial part of the plot.
Presumably Robert Downey Jr. had hoped dolittle would be a franchise starter. It’s based on a well-known object (which, conveniently, went into the public domain) with a track record of box office success, prominently featured family-friendly animation, and had everyone’s favourite: talking animals voiced by celebrities. A ridiculous number of famous names appear as various beasts, most prominently the ever-playing Emma Thompson as Robert Downey Jr.’s right-wing parrot, Rami Malek as the gorilla, John Cena as the polar bear, Kumail Nanjiani as the ostrich, Ralph Fiennes as the tiger, Jason Jason Mantzoukas as an insect, Tom Holland as a dog, Marion Cotillard as a fox and so many more. It’s frankly tiring even before we get to the nadir of an ant doing an anachronism godfather A notice.
Robert Downey Jr dolittle crashed and burned almost immediately. Although it grossed over $251 million at the box office, Universal Pictures lost an estimated $100 million due to its enormous budget. It currently holds a very dismal 15% on Rotten Tomatoes, putting it in the company of other RDJ bombshells like Gothic and Air America. However, history has shown us that Robert Downey Jr. can never be contained. He is set to star in Christopher Nolan’s upcoming film Oppenheimer, which will hopefully be at least a return to critical benefits. Wherever Robert Downey Jr. goes to get past the legacy of Iron Man, it’s not going back dolittle.