When you think “Doctor Dolittle” a number of things like “talking animals” and “some of Eddie Murphy’s finest work” come to mind. What doesn’t tend to come to mind is “fire-breathing dragons,” but the latest trailer for Universal’s new attempt as turning the Dolittle brand into an action franchise wants to change that. Emphasis on “wants.”
In Hugh Lofting’s The Story of Doctor Dolittle, the titular doctor and his gang of animal friends ultimately end up encountering a vicious pirate who likens himself to a dragon, even though he’s quite human. Perhaps because the studio knows on some level that audiences aren’t exactly clamoring for a gritty reimagination of a story about a man who talks to animals, it seems as if the movie’s set to take things quite literally as Dolittle and co. end up coming face to face with a dragon, a creature they’re all alarmed and genuinely shocked to see.
But because the rest of the trailer is mostly just Robert Downey Jr. doing running around with CGI creatures with too-human expressions, you can’t help but get the sense that for all of its intimidating presence is going to end up being pivoted into whimsical dragon hijinks.
Dolittle will be doing what seems to be the most when the movie hits theatres on January 16.