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The correct tagline would be "He's not a person that people would want to be around with."
Genre: Fantasy
Directed By: Stephen Gaghan
Produced By: Joe Roth
Jeff Kirschenbaum
Susan Downey
Written By: Stephen Gaghan
Dan Gregor
Doug Mand
Chris McKay
Based On: Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting
Starring: Robert Downey Jr.
Antonio Banderas
Michael Sheen
Emma Thompson
Rami Malek
John Cena
Kumail Nanjiani
Octavia Spencer
Tom Holland
Craig Robinson
Ralph Fiennes
Selena Gomez
Marion Cotillard
Photography: Guillermo Navarro
Cinematography: Guillermo Navarro
Distributed By: Universal Pictures
Release Date: January 17, 2020
Runtime: 102 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $175 million
Box Office: $251.4 million

Dolittle is a 2020 American fantasy adventure film directed by Stephen Gaghan, based on the Doctor Dolittle books by Hugh Lofting. It was theatrically released in the United States on January 17, 2020 by Universal Pictures.


Dr. John Dolittle lives in solitude behind the high walls of his lush manor in 19th-century England. His only companionship comes from an array of exotic animals that he speaks to on a daily basis. But when young Queen Victoria becomes gravely ill, the eccentric doctor and his furry friends embark on an epic adventure to a mythical island to find the cure.

Not A People Person Qualities

  1. The film hardly has any connection with its original material.
  2. Executive interference: Originally the idea was to follow as the main plot of the film, the story of the book, however, the executives rejected this proposal, who was looking for a story more attached to those of Disney, ordered the creation of a new story, However, the first version of the script (which corresponds to the first minutes of the film), was not to the liking of the executives, who constantly ordered the change or restructuring of the film's history until the version that was released in theaters.
    • In fact, it was the fault of the producers and the executives, that the budget of the film would be exceeded, the same can be said of its release date that was had in mind for the end of 2018 or early 2019, but they delayed it until 2020.
  3. Production Hell: This film was supposedly a complete disaster during its production, as in October 2019 some comments were leaked on Reddit, from people who worked on the film's production, claiming that director Stephen Gaghan, was completely incompetent during filming, where he filmed several very bad movie scenes (including others that did not even make the final version), at the same time he treated badly or was rude to the visual effects department and caused the dismissal of the pre-visual effects department, for which he was fired from the production, he was replaced by directors Jonathan Liebesman and Chris McKay, who took over the film but could contribute little, due to Gaghan's misdirection.
    • Another of the biggest tests that shows that the film was a hell of pride, was that during the test productions, the test audience reacted negatively because the first version had a dark, harsh and very boastful tone.
      • In fact, poor test screenings due to Stephen Gaghan's original script's gritty tone, director Jonathan Liebesman orchestrated 21 days of new filming, which hit the film's budget. He also hired Chris McKay to help him write new material after it became clear from the first cuts that the film's comedic elements were not blending as well as the producers had hoped.
    • In addition to that, according to testimonies from people who attended the test screenings of the film, this film was re-recorded 3 times, due to Gaghan's bad direction, and the changes that were made to it.
  4. This movie perfectly wasted the good cast it has, making them act not only pathetic but making them look ridiculous in every scene.
  5. The dialogue or interactions that human characters have with animals are simply irritating and annoying.
  6. The visual effects of the animals and the environments are very defective, since they are very similar to video games and their movements look very robotic.
  7. The humor of the film is very eschatological.
    • One big example is an inappropriate scene where Dr. Dolittle literally pulls objects like a bagpipe out of a dragon's butt.
  8. There is hardly any plot, which makes the film very confusing. In fact, many of the subplots are never resolved.
  9. Poor acting, even from Robert Downey Jr., which is inexcusable because he gave a great performance in both the Iron Man movies and the Avengers movies.
    • Robert Downey Jr. does a poor job in doing a Welsh accent for his character.
    • Also, most of the animals' voice actors sound almost bored.
  10. Pointless one-liners from the talking animals, some of which are too modern for Victorian England.
  11. Some of the sound mixing is pretty bad.
  12. The characters are rather bland and forgettable.
  13. There is a cartoonish-looking dragonfly that looks completely out-of-place in comparison to the more realistic animals.
  14. The pellet removed from the squirrel at the start of the film is clean. It should have had blood residue on it.
  15. They can't seem to correct British English right, despite the fact the film takes place in England.
    • The plaque on Dr. Dolittle's gates invites people to "Inquire Within". In British English, the sign should say "Enquire Within".
    • One of the Queen's royal guard mentions talking to ladybugs. In England, these insects are called ladybirds.
  16. When going to see the Queen, the animals and Rose claim they are going to Buckingham Palace. Yet, they arrive to Blenheim Palace, which is not only not a royal palace, but also not remotely similar in either location or architecture to Buckingham Palace.
    • When they arrive at Buckingham Palace (they actually arrive at Blenheim Palace), they are greeted by Guardsmen. The red plume indicates that they are Coldstream guards. However, the plume is on the wrong side of the bearskin, it should be on the right, and the buttons are wrong, they should be in pairs, one vertical line of buttons.
  17. Anachronisms: the story of the film is set during the Victorian era, however the animal characters speak as if they were in 2018 or 2020.
  18. False Advertising: in the main poster Dolittle appears with many of his animal friends, suggesting that they will be all the protagonists, however except Polynesia and Chee-Chee, all the other animals have a more secondary role.
  19. Not very good direction by Stephen Gaghan.
  20. Bad pacing.

Good Qualities

  1. Solid visual effects.
  2. An excellent score from veteran composer Danny Elfman.
  3. The film is more faithful to the original stories than Dr. Dolittle (1998).
  4. The ending song "Original" by Sia is pretty good, even though this was the only song featured in this movie.
  5. The opening sequence is solidly animated.
  6. The story can be a bit unpredictable sometimes, like the scene with the dragon that was unexpected in a Dolittle movie.
  7. Robert Downey Jr. made this movie as a passion project, so you can't be too harsh on something that someone dreamed so long to do.


Dolittle received negative reviews from critics, mainly due to the stale humor, pacing, and incoherent story, including 14% on Rotten Tomatoes, and 27 on Metacritic. Rotten Tomatoes' consensus was that the film says, "Dolittle may be enough to entertain very young viewers, but they deserve better than this rote adaptation's jumbled story and stale humor".

However, the film had mixed reception from audiences, including a "B" from Cinemascore; and a 4.5 (from families) and 2.5 (from General Audiences) from PostTrak.

The film's budget has been estimated at $175 million. On its opening weekend, Dolittle opened in third place with $21,844,045. Universal is estimated to lose between $50 to $100 million.



  • Robert Downey Jr. had considered the film to be a passion project.

External Links


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