You know when you are watching a trailer for an upcoming movie, and you can just tell it’s one of those films, that’s only been made because the main star is “so hot right now, like OMG, easiest money ever made, LOL” and everything about it looks really, really fake/digital, it hurts? That’s how I perceived Dolittle. Everything from the generic looking posters to generic looking trailers, screamed disaster to me. But here is a brief inside into my mind – even though I’ve heard after it came out that it truly was poor, bad, generic etc., I still wanted to know/see it for myself. Because, how bad can it really be? Unfortunately, after watching it, I know the answer to that question.
Really bad. Like, this is the type of movie, that makes you hate the executives in Hollywood, that thought this was a great idea. I understand the entire Hollywood is money making machine. But there are movies that are trying to be more than that and they give you something – they make you laugh, cry, make you cheer for different coloured aliens and superheroes in spandex, all that is great, when done right. They entertain you. Then, there are some other movies, where you can tell the money, the desire to cash in on some famous names was the number one, two and three concern and everything else was pushed aside. Try to guess what category this film falls under…?
And to think when it started, I was actually interested. I really liked the first 5 minutes or so, the simplistic, yet beautiful animation style that was used to clue us into the movie, really worked for me and I wished they’ve done the entire movie like this, instead of everything (background, the animals) looking faker than Robert Downey Jr.‘s enthusiasm for the actual movie he was in. I swear you can tell in some scenes even he knew that he’s doing it for the money and best he can hope for is his fans not watching this film, or quickly forgetting it. Because that is what this film is, if you boil it down – looks fake, forgettable and most importantly, boring. There are bunch of funny people voicing the plethora of animals (from Kumail Nanjiani, Tom Holland, Craig Robinson to John Cena just to name a few) and the script doesn’t give them anything remotely funny to say, mostly it’s the same jokes you know or would expect from “family movie of 2020s”.
I think the only chance this movie had was do something bold, like having this stellar cast and instead of investing time and resources into the bad CGI, have the entire movie animated, like the opening sequence. Then, you would at least had something, you can somehow enjoy it visually, even if the screenplay is weak and the story is predictable. But since the movie managed to pay a lot (I presume good chunk of the movie’s budget went to Downey) to have Iron Man on the screen, they needed to showcase him as much as possible. And yet again, studios have learned the lesson that we didn’t like “just” Robert Downey Jr. (even though he seems to be a pretty likeable guy) but we like him in movies, that give him something to do. Building a movie around one person and banking on “he’s the hottest thing, his movies are making bank, this sure can’t fail” is just a flawed technique that yet again, led nowhere and ultimately lost a lot of money. According to BoxOfficeMojo, the reported budget for this movie is around $175 million. These budgets usually do not include the massive marketing (and this movie was advertised everywhere pretty heavily) so I believe it’s safe to assume the actual budget was easily over $200 million. And it made $245 worldwide. That sound good, right? Well, around half of the gross goes to the cinemas. And the rule of thumb is the movie only becomes profitable (because you don’t just want to break even, you want to make money, as with any business) when it earns roughly 2.5x its budget. So yeah, I can see this film loosing the studio around $200 million easily, as even if we just take the $175 million, it would have to make more than $500, and that’s being conservative.
And honestly? I know we should be rooting for all movies to succeed, as plenty of people worked really hard on this one too, I am sure of it. And I don’t want to slam their hard work, no. But this movie was bad. Everything about it was lazy, it felt rushed almost like they made it in 30 days just to get it to the cinemas as soon as possible. The only positive thing I can say about Dolittle is it was fairly short and the opening sequence was cute. The rest of the movie… just didn’t work for me at all.
Overall, Dolittle is one of those films, you just can see fail from the first moment you hear about it. But if you are like me, the curiosity gets the better of you, because you don’t want to judge something based on how it looks (after all, I am strong believer in “don’t judge a book by its cover”) so I needed to see this for myself to know, how bad can it get. It can’t be that bad, right…? Yeah, it can and what’s worse, it can be a really boring film, that’s not saved by anything – Downey, bunch of celebrities voicing animals, the action, that just doesn’t look real. I can’t see a world where I would be in any rush to re-watch this.
That’s all for this one! Did you see it? What did you think about it? Let me know!
Until next time,