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Dolittle (UHD Blu-ray) review

Dolittle (UHD Blu-ray) review
« on: March 23, 2020, 10:40:50 PM »

Studio: Universal
Release Date: April 7, 2020
Rating: PG
Film: 3/5

Robert Downey Jr. electrifies as the man who could talk to animals: Dolittle. After losing his wife, he hermits himself away behind the high wall of his manor but is forced to set sail on an epic adventure when the queen falls gravely ill. Helping Dolittle in search of a rare cure are his rambunctious animal friends—including Chee-Chee (Malek), an anxious, self-conscious gorilla; Dab-Dab (Octavia Spencer, The Help), an enthusiastic but bird-brained duck; the bickering duo of cynical, neurotic ostrich Plimpton (Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick, “Silicon Valley”) and chilly-but-chill polar bear Yoshi (Cena); as well as a headstrong parrot named Polynesia (Thompson).

My Thoughts
Sometimes I think you can gauge the quality of a movie by the number of trailers you see on TV. If you get to the point that you’re sick of seeing them, then most likely, the movie will suck. Dolittle was one of those movies that was being advertised non-stop and it struck me at the type of film that would blow chunks. Furthermore, Robert Downey Jr. looked like he was sleep walking through the role in the trailers, so I didn’t go in with high hopes.

First and foremost, this is a movie made for kids, and if you look at it with that in mind, it’s tolerable. Sure, there’s juvenile humor throughout the film that gets a bit annoying, but fortunately the movie is relatively short at 102 minutes (including the credits) and it wasn’t a horrible way to spend an evening. I will say this, my wife liked it a bit more than I did, so I averaged our scores.

One thing that did impress me was the A/V presentation, which is excellent. The video encode is extremely sharp probably due to the 8K camera that was used. Unfortunately, the film was finished in 2K and upscaled then to 4K. Given the amount of VFX shots, I can see why they used 2K as the DI because the computing power and time pit that 4K special effects would require would ruin the ROI (as well as its dismal box office performance—only $77 million in the US with a production budget of $175 million). Color reproduction is its strongest attribute with primaries that leap off the screen and there’s the occasional use of HDR that gives the image a realistic flavor.

The Dolby Atmos track doesn’t quite live up the audio, but it’s not bad by any stretch. It’s not very aggressive and is mainly front-loaded. The overhead effects occasionally come into play, but are mostly used for score bleed.

Video 9.5/10

Audio 8/10 (Dolby Atmos)

Special Features:

  • Talk to the Animals
  • Robert Downey Jr. & Harry: Mentor and Mentee
  • Becoming the Good Doctor
  • Antonio Banderas: Pirate King
  • The Wicked Dr. Mudfly
  • A Most Unusual House
  • Blu-ray + Digital Code

This film’s theatrical release was pushed back nearly nine months because a new director, Jonathan Liebesman, needed to be brought in for reshoots since the studio didn’t like what the credited director, Stephan Gaghan, had done on the project. Frankly, from everything I’ve read, Gaghan was over his head on such a technically demanding shoot and reports from the set are blistering on his aptitude. In watching the film, it’s easy to see that probably 30 minutes or more were dropped from the film because the second and third acts jump around a lot—thankfully—and the end product is serviceable, especially to the 10 and under crowd. If you have kids or grandkids in that age group, you may want to give this one a look, but like me, keep your expectations very low.

Reference Review System:
Reference Review System:
 JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
 (Calibrated with Portrait Displays CalMAN color calibration software & C6-HDR Meter from Portrait Displays)
 Stewart Filmscreen - Firehawk 110” 2.35:1 Fixed Screen
 Anthem AVM60 Audio/Video Processor
 ATI AT527NC Powering Bed Channels

ATI AT524NC Powering Atmos Speakers
 Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
 System Controller: URC MX-980

M&K S-150 THX Ultra (R-C-L Speakers)
M&K SS-150 x4 (Surround Speakers)
 Atlantic Technology IC6-OBA x 4 Overhead Speakers
 SVS PC-Ultra Cylinder Subwoofer
 HSU VTF-15H MK2 Subwoofer
 JL Audio Fathom F110 Subwoofers x 2 (stacked)

JL Audio Dominion D110 Subwoofer x 2 (stacked)
Mini DSP HD controlling all subwoofers
 Audioquest and Monoprice - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
 PureAV PF60 Power Conditioner
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine


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Re: Dolittle (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2020, 11:06:00 AM »
Thanks David. This one I was already going to pass on. In fact, I had forgotten it even existed ! ;D
Direct (585) 671-2972 8:00am - 4:30pm Pacific 
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Re: Dolittle (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2020, 06:41:29 PM »
Thanks David. This one I was already going to pass on. In fact, I had forgotten it even existed ! ;D
It's better than I thought it would be, but I'd give is 2.5/5. My wife 3.5/5, hence the 3 rating :)
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

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