The nearly 100-year-old character of Doctor Dolittle has received numerous adaptations to date, from the films (the 1967 Rex Harrison classic and the 1998 Eddie Murphy comedy with all its sequels) to the musicals to an animated TV series. Now, perhaps timed to celebrate Dolittle’s 100th birthday, a new adaptation – Dolittle – is set to come out in January, and the first trailer dropped today.
Starring Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark for the last decade) as the eponymous Doctor who talks to animals, Dolittle follows him, his few human friends, and his animal menagerie on a global adventure to find a cure for an ill young Queen Victoria (Wild Rose‘s Jessie Buckley), which bring him into conflict with Rassouli (Antonio Banderas), among others.
This first Dolittle trailer, though, is light on plot and heavy on the animals. The aforementioned plot isn’t clear – just Robert Downey Jr. with a possibly Scottish accent adventuring for the most part. As for the mostly CGI talking animals (with an all-star celeb voice cast to boot), if you’ve seen any similar films in the last decade, it’s par for the course. At least the animals are a little more varied than cats, dogs, etc. and it doesn’t look as disconcerting as the talking dogs in the first trailer for Disney+’s live-action Lady and the Tramp.
But can we please put an end to the trend of using slower cover songs in trailers (“What a Wonderful World”, in this case)?
Universal Pictures releases Dolittle in theaters on January 17, 2020. The human cast also includes Michael Sheen, Jim Broadbent, and Ready Player One & The Witch‘s Ralph Ineson. The animal cast includes Ferdinand‘s John Cena, Marion Cotillard, Fantastic Beasts‘ Carmen Ejogo, Harry Potter cast members Ralph Fiennes and Frances de la Tour, The Dead Don’t Die‘s Selena Gomez, Spider-Man‘s Tom Holland, Rami Malek, MIB: International‘s Kumail Nanjiani and Emma Thompson, and Craig Robinson.