Dolittle Review: An Enchanting (& Perilous) Adventure

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend an advanced screening of Dolittle! The retelling of the classic story of Dr. Dolittle, a man who can talk to animals, stars the one and only Robert Downey Jr., so naturally, I was interested after I saw the trailer. But to be honest, the trailer for this movie didn’t automatically pull me in. I thought the movie looked cute, but I also thought it looked sad. And as I expressed in my Lady and the Tramp movie review, I’m NOT a huge fan of sad animal movies.

But my initial assumptions were WAY off. Dolittle is far from a sad animal movie. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was absolutely enchanting!

Find my SPOILER-FREE review of Dolittle below, as well as some answers to some common questions — who voices the animals and is there an after-credits scene?

Dolittle comes to theaters on January 17.

Overall Thoughts

I didn’t expect to like Dolittle, but I found it absolutely enchanting.

Robert Downey Jr. captivated the audience with his quirky, eccentric Dolittle persona. When we first meet him shut up in his animal sanctuary, Dolittle gave me major Snow White meets Radagast the Brown vibes. From playing chess with brown and white mice as the pieces to his ratty, disheveled look (including critters nesting in his beard), it’s apparent Dr. Dolittle’s bond with his animal friends is far above the norm, but it works.

The story moved along quickly and our characters quickly embark on a perilous adventure, but the tempo didn’t bother me at all. Instead, I found it rather refreshing. Moving from location to location, the plot progressed quickly and allowed for the characters to face new predicaments that tested their confidence in themselves.

I laughed a lot. I’m not a fan of potty humor or slap-stick jokes, but Dolittle was far from that. From Dab-Dab the Duck’s celery mishaps to Plimpton the Ostrich’s blunt commentary, Dolittle’s animal friends will have the whole family laughing.

Dr. Dolittle is a story about loss and recovery. Not only does Dolittle help his vast array of animal friends to take care of themselves, but the very same creatures that he helps are the ones that end up helping Dr. Dolittle mend his own struggles.

Who are the Animal Voices in Dolittle?

The majority of characters in Dolittle are animals, but you will definitely recognize their voices!

  • Chee-Chee the Gorilla is voiced by Rami Malek
  • Poly the Macaw is voiced by Emma Thompson
  • Yoshi the Polar Bear is voiced by John Cena
  • Plimpton the Ostrich is voiced by Kumail Nanjiani
  • Dab-Dab the Duck is voiced by Octavia Spencer
  • Tip the Dog is voiced by Tom Holland
  • Kevin the Squirrel is voiced by Craig Robinson
  • Barry the Tiger is voiced by Ralph Fiennes
  • Betsy the Giraffe is voiced by Selena Gomez
  • Tutu the Fox is voiced by Marion Cotillard
  • Regine the Lioness is voiced by Carmen Ejogo
  • James the Dragonfly is voiced by Jason Montzoukas

Does Dolittle Have an After-Credits Scene?

Yes! Dolittle does has a brief, but fun, after-credits scene that is worth waiting for.

About Dolittle

Robert Downey Jr. electrifies one of literature’s most enduring characters in a vivid reimagining of the classic tale of the man who could talk to animals: Dolittle. After losing his wife seven years earlier, the eccentric Dr. John Dolittle (Downey), famed doctor and veterinarian of Queen Victoria’s England, hermits himself away behind the high walls of Dolittle Manor with only his menagerie of exotic animals for company. But when the young queen (Jessie Buckley, Wild Rose) falls gravely ill, a reluctant Dolittle is forced to set sail on an epic adventure to a mythical island in search of a cure, regaining his wit and courage as he crosses old adversaries and discovers wondrous creatures.

The doctor is joined on his quest by a young, self-appointed apprentice (Dunkirk’s Harry Collett) and a raucous coterie of animal friends, including an anxious gorilla (Oscar® winner Rami Malek), an enthusiastic but bird-brained duck (Oscar® winner Octavia Spencer), a bickering duo of a cynical ostrich (The Big Sick’s Kumail Nanjiani) and an upbeat polar bear (John Cena, Bumblebee) and a headstrong parrot (Oscar® winner Emma Thompson), who serves as Dolittle’s most trusted advisor and confidante.

The film also stars Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen (The Queen), Oscar® winner Jim Broadbent and Carmen Laniado (FX’s A Christmas Carol) and features additional voice performances from Oscar® winner Marion Cotillard, Frances de la Tour, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, Tom Holland, and Craig Robinson.

Directed by Academy Award® winner Stephen Gaghan (Syriana, Traffic), Dolittle is produced by Joe Roth and Jeff Kirschenbaum under their Roth/Kirschenbaum Films (Alice in WonderlandMaleficent) and Susan Downey (Sherlock Holmes franchise, The Judge) for Team Downey. The screen story is by Thomas Shepherd and the screenplay is by Stephen Gaghan and Dan Gregor (CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) & Doug Mand (CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend). The film is executive produced by Robert Downey Jr., Sarah Bradshaw (The Mummy, Maleficent) and Zachary Roth (Maleficent: Mistress of Evil).



  1. January 16, 2020 / 5:46 pm

    The moment I saw the trailer for this, I knew I wanted to watch the movie. Okay, so that was the combined interest in the phenomenal cast (there’s an Iron Man-sized hole in my heart still) and the fact that I’ve always loved tales of Dr. Dolittle. I’m glad I read your review, because I was assuming it to be cheesy one way or another, but now I have high hopes for it as well! I can’t wait to see it!

  2. January 16, 2020 / 9:51 pm

    Woah I didn’t even know this movie was coming out! I’m not super into movies but it looks interesting. So cool that you got see a the screening before it was released, great review!

  3. Becky Ginther
    January 17, 2020 / 9:13 am

    This is good to know! I also don’t have high expectations for it but it’s good to hear that it was better than you expected. Robert Downey Jr. isn’t the person I would have thought of first for Dr. Doolittle but I’m sure he does a great job!

  4. literallysimple
    January 17, 2020 / 1:03 pm

    I really enjoy Robert Downey Jr. The characters that he chooses to play are so snarky and witty. Sounds like this didn’t disappoint.

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