Robert Downey Jr’s “Doctor Dolittle” Remake Will Either Be Incredible or Utterly Terrible

Matthew Loffhagen
20th Century Fox
(Photo: 20th Century Fox)

It’s really hard to understand why people are constantly obsessed with trying to remake “Doctor Dolittle”.

The original movie is widely considered a hilarious classic now, but it wasn’t exactly box office gold at the time of its release. When a movie flops, as we saw last year with “Blade Runner 2049”, it’s not always a good idea to assume that its cult audience is going to show up at movie theaters.

Of course, we did get a few more successful “Dolittle” movies a couple of decades ago (has it been that long?), but it’s hard to see the brand bouncing back from Eddie Murphy.

Murphy’s version of the character who can talk to animals was dramatically different to the original film – the first “Dolittle” doesn’t feature animals with human voices, and has a far more outlandish plot complete with magical islands, giant moths, and two-headed llamas (no, really).

Apparently this new movie will be going back to basics, embracing the plot of the original novel rather than anything that the Murphy movies did with the story, but we can at least hold out hope for a cameo from Raven-Symoné, because let’s face it, she ought to be in everything.

New details about Robert Downey Jr’s new film suggest that this is going to be a big deal. Apparently, Tom Holland, Emma Thompson, Selena Gomez, and Ralph Fiennes will all provide the voices for talking animals, which is pretty impressive casting considering the roles they’ll be taking.

Antonio Banderas and Michael Sheen will also be in the movie, playing human characters, so this is genuinely going to be a big budget film with a lot of delightful talent on board. Apparently, the pair will be pirates, because if you’re making a movie about talking animals, you might as well throw pirates into the mix as well.

Now, all that’s left is for director Stephen Gaghan to make an actually enjoyable film. Gaghan is not exactly known for his adorable children’s fantasy movies – his biggest claim to fame in the director’s chair is “Syriana”, which, spoiler alert, has a torture scene in which George Clooney has his fingernails pulled out, and another scene in which Matt Damon’s son electrocutes to death in a swimming pool.

In other words, Gaghan has proven in his existing body of work that he should absolutely not be allowed anywhere near a children’s film, so it’ll be interesting to see whether all of the amazing moving parts within this movie actually come together to make something worthwhile.

On paper, “The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle” looks like it’ll either be a genuine modern masterpiece, or the most horrendous thing ever released in theaters. There is no middle ground.