Monday, 2 March 2020

Review: Dolittle

Cert: PG / 101 mins / Dir. Stephen Gaghan / Trailer

So we get through the ads and trailers and more ads, the film is about to start and then nothing. Blank screen, silence. After about 30 seconds, I'm on my feet and off out to the foyer to let the staff know there's an issue in Screen 3 (because I'm that guy and I'm fine with that), and to their absolute credit we were up and running again within a couple of minutes. My point is, long after the anonymised online ordering of my ticket for the new Robert Downey Jr talking-animals-film, I could have taken this glitch as an omen, a sign, a get-out-of-the-cinema-free card. But fate tried to intervene and I brushed it aside. I went out into the foyer and actually, physically, verbally asked to watch Dolittle. It's not even like this hasn't happened before.
Reader, I am directly to blame for everything that followed...

Dolittle is a studio boardroom's idea of fun. An adventure without being exciting in any way, a comedy without jokes, old-fashioned without nostalgia, twee without charm, humourless without grit, depressing without weight, mawkish without any genuine emotion to call upon, energetic to the point of incoherence, white-Hollywood's attempt at diversity when left to its own devices, the kind of misguided faux-imperialist bullshit suggesting Tarzan had a one night stand with Pirates Of The Caribbean and this screenplay was dumped on the steps of a local orphanage shortly after, populated by a star-studded voice cast who each appear only to have seen their own lines and which still sound as if they're ad-libbed like the resurrection of Johnny Morris through a combination of CGI and witchcraft, all led by Robert Downey Jr trying to coast on charm through his own appalling decision-making*1 and managing to stumble over his own vocals as the central character seems to hail from the small Welsh village*2 of Barnsley-upon-Ganges...

If this is life-after-Stark then the MCU isn't all that's going to suffer.

Down with this sort of thing.
And also with this actual, exact thing.

So, what sort of thing is it similar to?
Part of me is delighted that The Call Of The Wild is playing in cinemas at the same time as this atrocity, like an instant antidote. But a larger part of me is embarrassed on that film's behalf..

Is it worth paying cinema-prices to see?

Is it worth hunting out on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming, though?

Is this the best work of the cast or director?

Will we disagree about this film in a pub?

Is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?

Yeah but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 1: Ansiv Garmuth is in this.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…
Yes, really.

*1 And I can't believe someone actually green-lit the decision to give RDJ the Iron Man 'helmet-shot' as he dons the deep sea diver's outfit, as if that's not a calculated insult to the actor and audience alike.
Actually no, it's Universal. I can believe that... [ BACK ]

*2 He literally says "boyo" on a couple of occasions without any sense of affectation or irony and I'm pretty sure that's, like, racist? [ BACK ]

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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