Universal Pictures has released a series of character posters for Dolittle that kind of have to be seen to be believed. This massively expensive update of the Doctor Dolittle story reportedly went through some extensive reshoots overseen by three different directors, all for a movie in which Robert Downey Jr. talks to CG animals. Meanwhile, Martin Scorsese couldn’t get his masterful crime epic The Irishman—with Oscar winners Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino—made at a traditional studio. Money well spent!
Directed by Stephen Gaghan—yes, the guy who made those fun-loving, super cheerful movies Syriana and Traffic—this new film is described as a reimagining of the classic tale and finds Downey’s eccentric Dr. John Dolittle still reeling from the death of his wife seven years earlier. A famed doctor and veterinarian of Queen Victoria’s England, the good doctor is forced to leave behind his hermit-like ways and set sail on a voyage to a mythical island when the Queen (played by Jessie Buckley) falls ill. Along the way, he talks to animals. Or something.
These character posters find RDJ making cute poses with the various CG characters in the film, voiced by the likes of Rami Malek, Octavia Spencer, Kumail Nanjiani, John Cena, and Emma Thompson. Again, money well spent!
The trailer for the film teased a somber yet hopeful journey of self-discovery, which was no doubt the intention when Downey and his wife and producing partner Susan Downey took this project on. It’s just a bummer that RDJ’s first non-Marvel project since The Judge is this overly priced, cutesy CG-filled family adventure and not a reteam with his Kiss Kiss Bang Bang filmmaker Shane Black or something like that. Alas, perhaps Dolittle is just not for me.
Take a look at the cast of characters yourself in the posters below. The film hits theaters on January 17th.