Thursday, February 20, 2020     Volume: 20, Issue: 51
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Santa Maria Sun / Film

This weeks review
1917
A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
AD ASTRA
AVENGERS: ENDGAME
BAD BOYS FOR LIFE
BINGEABLE: Barry
BINGEABLE: CASA DE LAS FLORES
BINGEABLE: FLEABAG
BINGEABLE: GRACE AND FRANKIE
BINGEABLE: INTO THE DARK
BINGEABLE: MAGIC FOR HUMANS
BINGEABLE: NATHAN FOR YOU
BINGEABLE: OUTLANDER (2014-present)
BINGEABLE: RUSSIAN DOLL
BINGEABLE: STRANGER THINGS 3
BINGEABLE: THE PEOPLE V. O.J. SIMPSON: AMERICAN CRIME STORY
BINGEABLE: THE SINNER (SEASON 2)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: COOL RUNNINGS (1993)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: FISH TANK (2009)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: FRIENDS
BLAST FROM THE PAST: HOUSE
BLAST FROM THE PAST: LONE WOLF MCQUADE
BLAST FROM THE PAST: OLDBOY
BLAST FROM THE PAST: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
BLAST FROM THE PAST: ROBOCOP
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE MATRIX
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE PRESTIGE (2006)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: WILD AT HEART
BLAST FROM THE PAST: YOU’VE GOT MAIL
BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON
CATS
DOCTOR SLEEP
DOLITTLE
DOWNHILL
DOWNTON ABBEY
FANTASY ISLAND
FORD V FERRARI
FROZEN II
GUILTY PLEASURE: THE HANGOVER
GUILTY PLEASURES: BARBIE LIFE IN THE DREAMHOUSE
GUILTY PLEASURES: CHEER (2020)
GUILTY PLEASURES: GIRL MEETS WORLD (2014-2017)
HATEWATCH: 92ND ACADEMY AWARDS (2020)
HATEWATCH: CHOPPED
HATEWATCH: FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER’S MONSTER, FRANKENSTEIN
HATEWATCH: NAILED IT!
HATEWATCH: THE WITCHER (2019)
HEARST CASTLE: BUILDING THE DREAM
JOJO RABBIT
JOKER
JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL
JUST MERCY
KNIVES OUT
LITTLE WOMEN
MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTARIES
ONCE UPON A TIME … IN HOLLYWOOD
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG
SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME (EXTENDED CUT)
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM
THE GENTLEMEN
THE LAST FULL MEASURE
THE LIGHTHOUSE
THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON
THE RHYTHM SECTION
THE TURNING
UNCUT GEMS
UNDERRATED: BATMAN BEGINS
UNDERRATED: INSOMNIA
UNDERRATED: SHUTTER ISLAND
UNDERRATED: THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL
UNDERRATED: THE FALLING
YESTERDAY
ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP

DOLITTLE

PHOTO BY , COURTESY OF UNIVERSAL PICTURES

DOLITTLE


Where is it playing?: Hi-Way Drive-In, Movies Lompoc, Parks Plaza, Stadium 14

What's it rated?: PG

What's it worth?: $Stream it (Kasey Bubnash)

User Rating: 0.00 (0 Votes)

Co-writer and director Stephen Gaghan helms this new version of the Doctor Dolittle story about a physician, Dr. John Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.), who can talk to animals.

It’s hard as an adult to critique a movie made for kids.

Am I too jaded a moviegoer to look past mediocre animation and just admire the huge feats we’ve made in computer technology? Am I so disconnected from my child self that I can’t enjoy a movie absent drugs or sex or violence? Worst of all, am I too old (gasp) for fart jokes?

These are the weighty questions I painstakingly mulled over as I watched Robert Downey Jr. talk to computer-generated animals in Dolittle, yet another restoration of the 1967 tale about a doctor who learns to talk to, and prefers the company of, animals of all species.

This year’s rendition strays from the plot of the 1998 Dr. Dolittle that Eddie Murphy stars in and circles back to a storyline closer to that of the original. Like in the 1967 film, this one is set in 19th century England and follows Dr. John Dolittle, who, in the 2020 rendition, retreats after his wife dies to live holed up in his manor with the many animals he’s rescued.

Dolittle lives in solitude for years until a royal messenger comes knocking on his door, informing him that the queen of England is gravely ill and has personally requested his renowned medical opinion. Despite his initial reluctance, Dolittle agrees to treat the queen, who he finds has been poisoned with a dose of deadly nightshade. He and his animals embark on an adventure to find the only known antidote: the fruit of the Eden Tree.

At a glance, Dolittle has everything I would’ve loved to see in a movie as a child—cute and funny animals, a dangerous sea adventure to a mysterious island, royalty, and lots of British accents. Dolittle’s slapstick jokes got big laughs from the children in the inexplicably packed audience at my showing, and whenever something mildly sad happened to an animal, big “awes” followed.

But for me, Dolittle missed the mark.

As I watched the flat storyline and nonexistent character development play out before my eyes, I yearned for the deep ups and downs I once felt while watching movies like Finding Nemo (2003), Shrek (2001), and the Harry Potter installments (2001-2011) all those years ago: the desperation I endured when Nemo was taken from his father and the ocean and plopped into a tiny tank with strangers; or the way my friends and I copied Donkey and shouted, “And in the mornin’, I’m makin’ waffles!” at every sleepover for years after Shrek

Momentarily, I thought that maybe I just love those movies because I was still a child when I first saw them. Maybe it’s nostalgia. But then I thought about Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005-2008), an animated show that aired on Nickelodeon and was made for children that I absolutely loved as an adult. 

When all is said and done, it doesn’t matter if something is made for kids or adults or if its rated G or R. What makes a movie good is a compelling story told through complex characters, and Dolittle simply didn’t have that. (106 min.)

—Kasey Bubnash








Weekly Poll
What do you think of the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society merging with the Santa Barbara Humane Society?

I don't care who runs it, as long as they're still helping animals.
Hopefully it settles their funding issues.
It won't affect me. I get all my pets from breeders.
The entire county should operate as one Humane Society.

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