Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Harry Collett, Jessie Buckley, Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, Tom Holland, Craig Robinson, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, Marion Cotillard, Ralph Ineson, Jim Broadbent
OUR RATING: ★★☆☆☆
Family fantasy comedy directed and co-written by Stephen Gaghan. The story follows the eccentric famed doctor and veterinarian, Dr. John Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.). After losing his wife seven years earlier, Dolittle hermits himself away behind the high walls of Dolittle Manor with only his menagerie of exotic animals for company. But when the young Queen Victoria (Jessie Buckley) 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.
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Our Favorite Quotes:'Courage is not the absence of fear.' - Dr. John Dolittle (Dolittle) Click To Tweet 'Embrace the unknown, and the answers will be revealed.' - Dr. John Dolittle (Dolittle) Click To Tweet 'It's only by helping others that we can truly help ourselves.' - Poly (Dolittle) Click To Tweet
[first lines; we see a storybook-like depiction of Dolittle]
Poly: [voice over] There once was a peculiar doctor known for his extraordinary ability. He could talk to animals. Dr. Dolittle’s reputation spread far and wide. Even the Queen of England called on him. So grateful for his help, she gifted him a wondrous sanctuary, whose doors were opened to all creatures.
Poly: [voice over] His days belonged to the animals, but his heart belonged to one woman. Lily the fearless explorer. They traveled the globe going on great adventures. Defending creatures who could not defend themselves. They made an extraordinary team. Soon, that team became a family.
Poly: [voice over] With Lily by his side Dolittle never felt more alive. Until one day she left on an adventure. Lily died at sea. Heartbroken he locked the gates of the manor and completely retreated from the world. As for me, and the animals whose lives he’d saved, we were left to wonder, could anyone save his?
[after Tommy accidentally shoots a squirrel and is taken to Dolittle by Poly]
Dr. John Dolittle: As far as I’m concerned, I’m the only human here. Just ignore them.
Jip: There’s no getting past the Kalahari snare, it’s an ingenious design. I think you just caught yourself a boy.
Baby Animal: Why are humans against the rules again?
Jip: If you let humans too close you’ll get hurt more than you would if you didn’t let them at all. Isn’t that right, doc?
[as Tommy and Lily knock at the door]
Poly: John, pull yourself together! You can’t ignore people just because they’re people. What if they need help?
Dr. John Dolittle: Possum, play dead.
[referring to Tommy and Lilly knocking at the door]
Dr. John Dolittle: Chee-Chee, boy, this is what we trained for. Be brave, and get rid of them. And don’t forget your mantra.
Chee-Chee: I am not a prisoner of fear?
Dr. John Dolittle: You are not a prisoner of fear.
[as they are waiting for someone to answer Dolittle’s door]
Lady Rose: Have you been here before? The Queen told me all about it. It’s the most unusual place.
Tommy Stubbins: I’m prepared for anything.
[as Tommy knocks the door, suddenly Chee-Chee opens it and roars, Tommy starts to scream, Chee-Chee also screams and passes out]
Lady Rose: Wonderful! A gorilla answering the door. Just as the Queen said.
Lady Rose: Dr. Dolittle.
Dr. John Dolittle: Yeah, right.
Lady Rose: You have been summoned to Buckingham Palace, by the Queen herself.
Dr. John Dolittle: Hoo-Ha. Go on.
Lady Rose: You should know, she’s fallen gravely ill. Do you understand what I’m saying?
Dr. John Dolittle: Do you understand what I’m saying? Go on. Go on, and be gone! I don’t care about anyone, anything anywhere anymore. The birds will show you out.
[after Tommy finally enters Dolittle home by climbing through the window]
Tommy Stubbins: I have an injured squirrel. I don’t know what to do.
Dr. John Dolittle: How was he injured?
Tommy Stubbins: I shot him.
Dr. John Dolittle: What? I can’t hear you.
Tommy Stubbins: I shot him, but it was an accident.
Dr. John Dolittle: Of course! An accidental firing upon. Humans never change.
Tommy Stubbins: He’s very hurt. Please help him.
[as Dolittle is putting the squirrel, Kevin, under anesthetic]
Dr. John Dolittle: When you wake up, everything will be fine.
Kevin: If I die I swear I will haunt your house.
[as Tommy and Rose are watching Dolittle operate on Kevin with the animals helping]
Tommy Stubbins: They are understanding human. He’s understanding them. In their own languages.
[as Dolittle is operating on Kevin]
Dr. John Dolittle: Chee-Chee, brow.
[Chee-Chee swipses his own brow]
Dr. John Dolittle: My brow as well, when you’ve got a second.
Chee-Chee: Right. Sorry.
Poly: You need to go and help the Queen.
Dr. John Dolittle: There are things I no longer do, work with humans, or leave the house.
Jip: Or bathe.
Yoshi: Ooh. Exercise!
Baby Animal: Express emotional vulnerability.
Poly: Wake up, John! If the Queen dies, the treasury takes the deed, and we’d lose this house!
Dr. John Dolittle: You’re talking out of your tail feathers, Poly. The deed was for life. The last time I checked I was very much alive.
Poly: The Queen’s life, John. Not yours.
[Dolittle spits out the tea he’d just sipped onto Dab-Dab]
Dab-Dab: Look at that. It just rolls off my back.
Dr. John Dolittle: I knew I shouldn’t have let monkeys proofread the contract.
[as all the animals are panicking about being thrown out of the house]
Poly: Fear not. I have an inn at Regent Park Zoo. Everyone, pack your bags!
Poly: You help the Queen, or we are leaving!
Dr. John Dolittle: You are bluffing.
Poly: Don’t make me count.
Dr. John Dolittle: Don’t make me count!
Dr. John Dolittle: Three.
Dr. John Dolittle: Alright! I’ll do it.
[to Tommy and Rose; after the animals have helped clean up Dolittle]
Dr. John Dolittle: First things first. The squirrel’s name is Kevin. Expect a full recovery. And after some violent grooming, it’s been decided. We will come to you, to Buckingham Palace after all.
[after Dolittle finally leaves the house]
Plimpton: [to himself] Today is going to be a good day. I’m going to do nothing, just prance around, pick my own thoughts.
[to himself as he sees Dolittle walking towards him]
Plimpton: He’s walking this way, not a great sign. He’s got no beard. He looks motivated.
Dr. John Dolittle: Plimpton, don’t be alarmed.
Plimpton: People only say that when they are about to be alarming.
Plimpton: I’m unavailable.
Yoshi: Unavailable for the man who changed your life? We’re going to save the Queen, bro.
Plimpton: I am not your bro! You should be an Eskimo’s rug by now.
[Yoshi grabs his neck]
Plimpton: Ow, claws! Ow! Big claws.
[as Dolittle sits on Plimpton’s back]
Plimpton: Oh, you’ve gained weight.
[referring to the carriage with horses ahead of them]
Plimpton: Why are you riding me? There’s like four horses in front of us.
Yoshi: Cheer up, angry bird. Kick back and enjoy the ride.
Plimpton: I am the ride.
[as he’s about to help the dying Queen]
Dr. John Dolittle: Well, then, let’s get to work. Alright, Jip, give her a good sniff.
[Jip jumps onto the Queen, who’s lying in her bed, and sniffs her]
Dr. John Dolittle: You alright, fellow?
Jip: Something smelled wrong. And that’s coming from a guy who loves the smell of butts.
Dr. John Dolittle: Ooh, you do love butt.
Jip: I detected a whiff of something else.
Dr. John Dolittle: The Queen symptoms are due to the effect of a rare Sumatran plant known as the nightshade flower. A solar eclipse will occur on the seventeenth of this very month. If she has not received the antidote by then, she will perish.
Dr. John Dolittle: The Queen’s only hope is a cure that’s never been tested, from a tree that’s never been seen, on an island that’s never been found. Sounds ridiculous saying it out loud. But regardless of that, we have no choice but to embark on this perilous journey, to obtain the fruit of the Eden tree.
[as Dolittle is about to go on his journey]
Dr. John Dolittle: Jip, you need to stay behind and guard the Queen. Very important.
Jip: Right. Guard dog mode. Stand back everyone, while I secure the perimeter.
[Jip starts wipping his butt on the floor around the Queen’s bed]
[after Poly comes to take Tommy to Dolittle]
Tommy Stubbins: Am I talking to an animal? Just like Dolittle.
Poly: Oh, no. I’m speaking human. Better than any parrot ever has, actually.
Poly: There’s something special about you, Stubbins. Something I’ve only seen in two other humans. You belong with us, kid. And you let me worry about Dolittle, that’s my job. So, are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime?
Tommy Stubbins: I’m in.
Poly: Of course you are!
[referring to the police]
Poly: Why are they chasing us? We’re not criminals!
Betsy: Speak for yourself. We’re wanted in three forests.
Tutu: And it’s not an escape mission unless you’re being chased.
[after they fail to reach Dolittle’s boat in time]
Betsy: Okay, boss, what’s our next move?
Tutu: We cut our loses, change our identities, ditch the kid in the river.
Poly: Woh, woh, woh. Easy.
[after Tommy, with the help of Poly, Betsy and Tutu, gets onto Dolittle’s boat]
Dr. John Dolittle: Oye, this is my ship, right? And I’m its sovereign. And there are consequences…
Poly: To ignoring me. Is that what you were going to say?
Dr. John Dolittle: No, no! Don’t mess my words. And stop messing with my routine.
Poly: Sit down, John!
Dr. John Dolittle: Don’t embarrass me in front of the crew!
Poly: I’m sparing you embarrassment.
Poly: I know this particular voyage is hard for you, John. It is for me too. I brought to you Lily just when you needed her. And now you need one of your own kind again. Someone without feathers or fur.
[referring to Tommy]
Dr. John Dolittle: Fine, the boy can stay. But it’ll be on my terms. And I mean to keep him quite busy.
Poly: You’ll do it with a smile on your face.
[to the squid in the aquarium]
Dr. Blair Müdfly: Hello there, little squid. You don’t understand me, do you? That would be preposterous.
[Badgley appears behind Blair]
Lord Thomas Badgley: Müdfly.
Dr. Blair Müdfly: I wasn’t talking to the squid!
[as Müdfly is chasing after their boat]
Plimpton: Secure the lifeboats! This whole thing is a death boat!
[as he looks through his telescope and sees Blair, who is also looking through his telescope]
Dr. John Dolittle: Oh, hello, Blair, you chinless wanderer.
Dr. Blair Müdfly: He said something about my chin, didn’t he?
Lieutenant: It’s a magnificent chin, sir.
[as they are being attacked by Blair’s boat]
Dr. John Dolittle: It is time for me to slip into something less comfortable.
[as he sees a humpback whale coming to help them]
Kevin: I’ve bought a front row seat to crazy town!
[as they are being attacked by Blair’s boat]
Chee-Chee: I can’t handle that type of pressure, doc. I’m a cheer quietly from the sidelines kind of gorilla.
Dr. John Dolittle: Don’t worry, Cheech. You’ll rise to the occasion. You’re stronger than you know. Now, remember, courage is not the absence of fear.
[he puts on his helmet as he continues to talk]
Chee-Chee: Wait! You got cut off. I can’t hear you. I need the second part!
[as he’s watching Dolittle harness a whale to pull their boat to safety]
Dr. Blair Müdfly: How is this possible?
Lieutenant: Well, sir, it appears Dolittle and a polar bear have harnessed a whale…
Dr. Blair Müdfly: It was a rhetorical question!
[after Chee-Chee freezes from fear to pull back Dolittle into the ship]
Chee-Chee: I let you down, doc.
Dr. John Dolittle: Look at me. I’m fine. We’re all fine.
Chee-Chee: I froze.
Dr. John Dolittle: No, no, Cheech. It’s okay to be scared.
Lieutenant: They’ve gone away, sir.
Dr. Blair Müdfly: [sarcastically] Oh, really? I thought they disappeared into thin air.
Lieutenant: I’m afraid not, sir. They’ve escaped.
Dr. Blair Müdfly: Read the room, lieutenant! I can see they’ve escaped. But not for long.
Kevin: [to himself] Kevin’s Log, day seven. I’m now totally isolated.
[referring to Tommy]
Kevin: The enemy has ingratiated himself with the captain and crew. No sign of promised tropical island, or the magic fruit. But I will endure.
Dr. John Dolittle: [to Tommy] Her name was Lily. She wrote the route in her journal, but on her voyage, she was shipwrecked. The world lost the greatest explorer I’ve ever known. The journal from that expedition is all that survived.
[after Dolittle declared they have to steal Lily’s journal to find the Eden tree]
Dr. John Dolittle: Well, what’s the worst that can happen?
[suddenly the wind blows ominously]
Dr. John Dolittle: Don’t worry, I know an omen when I see one. And that was not an omen.
[suddenly lightning strike their boat]
Poly: [voice over] The stop at Monte Verde was a very big deal. After all, this island of bandits and thieves was once a place Dolittle, Lily, and I called home. Until the doctor made an enemy of the island’s notorious ruler, King Rassouli. And just our luck, his most prized possession was the very journal we needed to steal. So Dolittle needed a disguise. While I was left watching over the rest of the crew, Dolittle and Stubbins snuck into the palace.
[as James tries to help Dolittle and Tommy to break into to Rassouli’s room]
James the Dragonfly: Don Carpenterino, I am here on behalf of these humans. They will pay you handsomely for your family’s lock-picking skills.
Don Carpenterino: You come to me for this, on the day of my daughter’s wedding?
James the Dragonfly: Wait a minute. Which daughter? It’s not Sheila? My Sheila?! She’s getting married?!
Ant #1: To a scorpion named Dylan.
Ant #2: Sorry, boy scout. I guess Sheila’s into bad boys now.
James the Dragonfly: We were going to spend the rest of our lifespans together.
[James starts sobbing]
James the Dragonfly: Also, what’s that scorpion got that I don’t got? Besides a massive stinger.
Ant #1: Get over it, James. You dated for two weeks!
[to Dolittle; after he fails to get the journal from Rassouli’s room]
James the Dragonfly: We got the journal, open up! Just kidding. We blew it. Bye!
[after Dolittle is captured by Rassouli]
King Rassouli: All I wanted was my daughter to marry wisely, and instead I got the ring leader of a circus. I never understood what Lily saw in you. A common complaint the world over for fathers of beloved daughters, but in this instance I think we can all agree it is particularly accurate.
King Rassouli: [to Dolittle] It was her journal. The only thing of hers my men found in the wreckage. It belongs here! All you had to do was never show your face again. And even at that you failed. Now you will pay for taking Lily away from me! You knew what would happen if you returned. Yes.
[they hear the tiger, Barry, roar in the next cell]
[as Rassouli opens the prison cell for Tommy to leave]
Dr. John Dolittle: You should go. It’s my past that’s caught up with me, not yours. Yeah?
Tommy Stubbins: You’re my friend.
Dr. John Dolittle: Go. Don’t look back.
King Rassouli: You’re better off without him, kid.
[after Dolittle is locked in his cell with Barry]
Barry: Dr. Dolittle, remember me, your old patient? It’s Barry.
Dr. John Dolittle: Barry, how could I forget you?
Barry: Oh, but you did, doc. We were just starting to make progress. And then you ran off with Rassouli’s daughter, and abandoned me.
Dr. John Dolittle: Well, I’m back now. Perhaps we should just pick up where we left off.
[Barry goes to attack Dolittle]
Barry: Oh, my head.
Dr. John Dolittle: Your migraines are brought on by severe maternal issues, and compounded by sibling rivalry.
Barry: Please, make it stop.
[as Barry lies down in Dolittle arms]
Barry: The stress is unbearable. I just want to be a good boy. I just want to make mommy proud.
Dr. John Dolittle: There we are.
Barry: No one I eat will ever be good enough.
Dr. John Dolittle: There’s the release. Release it.
Barry: I will never be good enough. Unless I eat you.
[he roars in Dolittle’s face]
Barry: Because every mother wants their son to grow up and eat a doctor.
[as Dolittle is distracting Barry from attacking him using light reflections]
Dr. John Dolittle: A cat is still a cat. Easily distracted.
James the Dragonfly: Woh, Poly, is that you? Ooh, your feathers really filled out nice.
Poly: James? James? James! What happened, James?!
James the Dragonfly: Oh, right! Message. My bad. The kid’s been captured by Rassouli, and Barry is about to have Dolittle for lunch.
Poly: Looks like we’re going ashore after all. Be a darling, and grab my dynamite, will you?
[after Dolittle and Tommy escape from Rassouli’s place, only to be captured by Müdfly]
Dr. John Dolittle: What did they offer you, Müdfly, to murder the Queen of England?
Dr. Blair Müdfly: Quite a few things, actually. Knighthood. Windward House. Chair of the Royal College. In no particular order. Oh, and the icing on the Madeleine, will be the scientific accolades that accrue from the proper study of the Eden tree. All thanks to Lily Dolittle. Actually, no. That’s still Madeleine. The icing is knowing that you know, I won. Oh, and Dolittle, I’m so sorry for that hole in your boat.
[Müdfly orders for Dolittle’s boat to be destroyed]
[after their boat is destroyed]
Yoshi: Hey, big bird, you doing okay?
Plimpton: No. Nothing about me is okay. My father was right about me. I should’ve been an omelet.
Yoshi: I know how you feel. My dad said he was going out for a pack of seals one night, and never came back. I guess we got something in common after all, Plimpton.
Plimpton: What is this feeling? I’m all warm and fuzzy inside.
Yoshi: That’s friendship, bro.
Plimpton: Huh. Not bad, bro.
[they hear a sniffling noise and look down to see Kevin crying]
Kevin: I’m not crying. You’re crying.
Dr. John Dolittle: We are finished.
Yoshi: Is this a pep talk? Because it’s a weird one.
Dr. John Dolittle: I can sniff defeat like a truffle pig.
Tommy Stubbins: That explorer you told me about, she would’ve never given up. She was your wife, wasn’t she?
Dr. John Dolittle: You want to know the ironic bit?
Tommy Stubbins: I don’t know what ironic means.
Dr. John Dolittle: Irony is when you find a woman, and she makes your life more wonderful than it had any right to be. And then, poof, she’s gone, and it’s all your fault.
Dr. John Dolittle: [to Tommy] This journey was my chance to finish what she started. Lily insisted I cared for the animals at home, so I stayed behind. Rassouli’s right. I should’ve been with her. All I have left of her is a ghost I see when I hold our rings.
King Rassouli: So you see her too?
King Rassouli: Irony is me wanting to kill you with every fiber of my being, but loving my daughter more. I miss her too. She would’ve wanted you to keep going.
[he taps Dolittle on the head with his sword, the animals sigh in relief, but Rassouli turns back again]
King Rassouli: So! Keep going, before I stop feeling sentimental.
[after Rassouli gives Dolittle a boat to continue his journey]
Kevin: Kevin’s Log. Day twelve. Some force beyond my comprehension still compels me to follow this crew of lunatics, the squirrel killer, and their deranged leader. Perhaps, it’s the magic tree that draws me.
[after arriving on the island and Dolittle reveals he doesn’t know where the Eden tree is]
Dr. Blair Müdfly: You really don’t have any idea, do you? How does ignorance feel?
Dr. John Dolittle: Oh. Very freeing, actually. One must hug uncertainty, don’t you think? That’s how Lily lived her life. Embrace the unknown, and the answers will be revealed.
Dr. Blair Müdfly: You sad, misguided nut, Dolittle!
[referring to Dolittle]
Dr. Blair Müdfly: He saved me. I have a second chance to live a life of kindness and generosity.
[he hears the dragon roar behind him, grabs hold of the soldier in front of him]
Dr. Blair Müdfly: Take him, not me! I am a good person now!
[pushes the soldier towards the dragon]
[after the dragon who guards the Eden tree captures Dolittle]
Dragon: You may be able to speak my language, but that does not make you worthy of the fruit.
Dr. John Dolittle: I know protecting the tree is your duty, but you won’t be able to continue much longer, considering the damage you’ve taken, and the pain you’re in.
Dragon: Oh, you know nothing of my pain.
Dr. John Dolittle: But I do. I had it as well. The kind that doesn’t come from a bullet, or a blade, but cuts much deeper. And now in every moment, in every movement, you feel that pain again. It’s hard to carry on when you’ve lost the one you love.
[the dragon roars, but releases Dolittle]
Dragon: Just leave!
Dr. John Dolittle: [to the dragon] You have severe infection of colon. And if I don’t manually fragment it, it will go septic. And you won’t be able to protect anything anymore.
Dab-Dab: Wooh! That sounds like some tummy ache.
Dr. John Dolittle: I’ll tell you what. Give us five minutes. If you don’t feel better, you can fry us all.
Dragon: Stop talking! Just get on with it.
[as Dolittle is trying to treat the dragon]
Dr. John Dolittle: There may be an initial release of wind.
[Yoshi jumps onto the dragon’s stomach and she releases wind]
Dr. John Dolittle: It’s alright. Nobody heard that. Nothing to be ashamed of. We all do it. We are all animals.
Kevin: I can taste it!
[after Dolittle and the animals remove armour and bagpipe from the dragon’s stomach]
Dab-Dab: We did it!
Yoshi: Team work makes the dream work.
[after helping the dragon]
Dr. John Dolittle: To put it simply, more leafy greens, and less armor in your diet.
Dragon: I’ve seen armies of every kind, but nothing like you. What unites such a group of creatures?
Dr. John Dolittle: Well, we may not look it, right? But somehow, we just belong together. Dragon: Now let me help you.
[she reveals the Eden tree to them]
[as the Queen is about to die]
Jip: Wait a minute. I smell something. It smells like…
[we see Yoshi running through the corridors of Buckingham Palace]
[after Dolittle and the animals arrive just in time to save the Queen]
Dr. John Dolittle: I have procured that what you said does not exist. Behold, the fruit of the Eden tree.
[after Dolittle saves the Queen with the fruit of the Eden tree]
Kevin: Kevin’s Log. Day unknown. The killing has ended. Let there be life!
[after Dolittle’s stick insect reveals that Badgley poisoned the Queen]
Lord Thomas Badgley: You can’t possibly believe that he’s talking to an insect.
Sir Gareth: Well, I’ve spoken to ladybugs, making a wish before they fly away.
[referring to Badgley]
Queen Victoria: To the tower with him.
Jip: Aah, someone’s been a bad boy.
[after Badgley is arrested for treason]
Queen Victoria: Thank you. It’s good to have you back, doctor.
[Dolittle bows and turns to leave]
Dr. John Dolittle: Poly!
Poly: Anything you’d like to say to me?
Dr. John Dolittle: You were right, I suppose. It is nice to get out of the house every once in a while.
Poly: [voice over] Our story ends the way it began. Mostly. There once was a peculiar doctor, who found he was at his best when sharing his extraordinary ability with others. Soon, Dr. Dolittle re-opened his gates as Lily would have wanted. Dolittle discovered his place in the world once again. After all, it’s only by helping others that we can truly help ourselves.
[we see Dolittle re-opening his sanctuary with Stubbins as his official apprentice]
Poly: [voice over] Oh, and in case you’re wondering.
[we see Müdfly stuck in the cave on the island]
Dr. Blair Müdfly: Psst! You, bats. Show me the way out of here.
[he tries to communicate with bats]
Dr. Blair Müdfly: You understand me!
[the bats turn and attack him]
Dr. Blair Müdfly: Get away! Get away! Get away! Aaah!
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