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Dr. Dolittle 2
review by Zach B.
Running Time: 87 minutes
Starring Eddie Murphy, Kristen Wilson, Jeffrey Jones,
Kevin Pollak, Raven-Symone
Written by Larry Levin
Directed by Steve Carr
Retail Price: $26.98
Features: Audio Commentary with Director Steve Carr
and Co-Producer Heidi Santelli, The Making Of Dr. Dolittle
2, Extended Scenes with Optional Commentary, Bear
Necessities: A Kids Guide To Grizzlies, Making Movie Magic
with Rhythm and Hues, Storyboard Sequences, "Wild On The
Set" with Tank The Bear, NUON Enhanced Features, "Cluck
Cluck" Music Video, Music Promo Spot, TV Spots, "Ice Age"
Teaser, Theatrical Trailers
Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby
Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround,
English Closed Captions, English Subtitles, Spanish
Subtitles, Scene Selection (24 Scenes)
Released: October 23rd, 2001
The summer of 2001, was of course, the summer of sequel.
And that June, one of the first sequels out on the market
was "Dr. Dolittle 2" and did go on to become of the summer's
biggest hits. Based on a character from Hugh Lofting's
stories (and not so much the original movie), the first "Dr.
Dolittle" with Eddie Murphy was released in the summer of
1998 and went on to become of the biggest hits of that
summer. A sequel only seemed to make sense, and three years
later we were treated to one. However, while the sequel did
cross 100 million, it was considered a disappointment to
Fox. The opening was rather weak and while the film held
steady, it failed to make as much as the original. On the
plus side though, it did score much better reviews, a lot of
praise even than the first, which was attacked by the
critics. I did enjoy the first, and while I missed the
sequel in theaters, here was my chance to see it...
This next installment finds the good doctor (Eddie
Murphy) juggling a few conflicts. After meeting with a
mysterious "family" beaver, Dolittle becomes involved to
help save a forrest from ED ROONEY HIMSELF, JEFFREY JONES
who wants to level it off. It seems that the forest can be
saved if they can get a bear named Ava to mate, so they call
in a circus performer bear, named Archie, to try and get the
two together so the land can be saved. In the meantime, the
doc also has to come to terms with his growing daughter who
listens to music, talks on her cell phone and messes with
her boyfriend while ignoring just about everything else.
Judging from the plot summary above, some of you can
probably tell this movie is really nothing new. It's just
another animal endangerment plot that is a little
clichéd and the like, it has that manufactured plot
feel. Still, with that, it's actually still enjoyable. I
liked how Dr. Dolittle had to deal with his teenage daughter
and typical problems parents must face at that time, but I
really wish there was more of it. This installment, however,
is more family oriented. I recall that the original did use
a lot of crude animal jokes and involved the animals a lot
more. Animals are in this, but it's more of a focus on
Archie (though old and new Dolittle friends pop up). Here,
there are far less crude jokes and the language is cleaned
up a bit. They aimed this installment more for families with
a PG rating, while the original had PG-13. The result is a
cleaner picture, but while it has its moments, I think it's
less funnier. I guess I still prefer the original redoing
than its sequel.
What I disliked about the first Dr. Dolittle is that I
felt Eddie Murphy was just part of the background. The
animals were the real comic foil in the first one, and I
felt there were many chances to show off Murphy's energetic
acting style there but it was never put to the test. He was
simply a doctor who thought he was crazy and no one believed
his special talent. Murphy played it really low key and
there wasn't so much for him to do, and that was a
disappointment since the original had so many chances to
really make it more nutty. Murphy was just part of the
background there and I didn't feel that he was truly in the
movie. It was a bit bland. However, this installment is
thankfully a much different story. Murphy is a lot more
intense and a lot more active in the plot. Murphy is not
dull here, he comes to full life and really, really brings a
lot more with his character. He's a lot crazier and a lot
more in-depth. His role is really more expressional and he
does talk a lot more in this one. Murphy, to me, is one of
the greatest comics and comic actors of our time. I'm glad
to see him screaming more, showing more actions and being
more conflicted with his emotions. There's a lot more to his
performance, and it certainly shows here. Murphy is his own
comic foil here and really expands himself, which really
does please. I'm glad to see Murphy taking action in this
Director Steve Carr (Next Friday) sets the movie at a
good pace, as he sets up some fine shots. The editing here
is good as well, and this movie is brisk. Without credits,
it's just a little over eighty minutes. Not a long feature
to sit through at all. Yet since it's so short, there's not
too much and I wish there could have been a little more to
Larry Levin's (who co-wrote the original) script.
The special effects here are good, as when you see the
animal the animals talk you see their mouths move all thanks
to computer graphics. It doesn't look fake or corny, it
looks rather natural and not so gimmicky. So in all, "Dr.
Dolittle 2" doesn't live up to the original to me, but it's
very good entertainment families can enjoy. It's a
satisfying, though if a little unoriginal, viewing
Fox has provided a 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer for the
film, and the result is a little bit less than sunning.
Still, it's pretty good and has a lot of good qualities to
it. The transfer seems to struggle a bit during the daytime
exterior scenes. There is some shimmering during some scenes
as well as noise. Color saturation is decent, though
sometimes I felt colors were oversaturated. The halo effect
is also apparent during some parts (which I really dislike),
while now and then you'll face some scratches, nicks, pieces
of dirt and blemishes. However, Chapters 19 and 20 look
pretty awful, with constant annoyances such as those (those
needed a good clean-up). Black levels and detail are solid.
Despite contrast being a bit high in some scenes and the
annoyances that make scenes appear a little smearing and not
full cleaned-up, this is a very good transfer that viewers
will be pleased with.
The English 5.1 Dolby Digital track is also a bit
underwhelming. It didn't pack the punch I was hoping for.
Dialogue is crisp and clear as it has no distortion or sound
muffled. Other sounds don't get in the way of it. The music,
whether it is a light score from David Newman or loud rap
music, is well mixed. .1 LFE is pretty good, but the animal
action, whether it's bears roaring or the animals pulling
their antics, just didn't sound as active as I hoped for. I
didn't feel that I was directly being put into the action.
Though this track is a bit disappointing, it's still above
average. English Dolby Surround and French Dolby Surround
tracks are included, while English closed captions, English
subtitles and French subtitles are squeezed onto the disc.
This "special edition" is okay, but I guess it has the
banner since the movie did score decent numbers at the box
office and as a selling point. However, it is far from being
packed, yet there are some worthwhile supplements.
We first start off with an Audio Commentary with
Director Steve Carr and Co-Producer Heidi Santelli .
This is a nice session, as the two seem to be friends and as
Carr explains, partners for quite a long time. In any case,
Carr's accent can be annoying, but you get used to it. The
two make jokes, but Carr pretty much dominates much of the
track (Heidi often laughs at his remark). Carr offers some
great information, as he praises his cast and crew. He
discusses some challenges, how Carr took some people from
his first film, "Next Friday" and other projects. It makes
it feel more like a look back as Carr points out his
friends. Still, there is information about the production
that is worthwhile, but I wish it was a bit more technical.
Overall, they have a good time and this track compliments
the film very nicely. They are energetic, there are no
pauses and just keep on talking.
The Making Of Dr. Dolittle 2 is not your essential
promotional featurette. It's divided into two nifty parts.
One feels just a little promotional while the other part
isn't. The first part, which is great, takes look back at
Eddie Murphy's career as Murphy actually sits down, talks
about some of his key films in brief and makes his comments
and offers his insight on them. It's actually really nice,
and maybe the closest we'll get to a commentary by Murphy.
We see a few of his landmark films from the eighties, and
also some of his better and more popular work work from the
nineties ("Life," "The Nutty Professor" and "Bowfinger").
The second part is all about making the sequel. Interviews
with producer John Davis, Jeffrey Jones, Kevin Pollak,
Murphy, Steve Carr, Heidi Santelli, Kyla Pratt, Kristen
Wilson, head animal trainer Mark Forbes and others. There
are clips from the film and behind the scenes footage, but
the cast and crew reflect about the plot, working with the
animals and other such. We also get a view into the voice
over work and the stars recording, such as Lisa Kudrow,
Frankie Muniz, Andy Dick, Michael Rappaport and Steve Zahn
(they are also interviewed). Overall, it's the best from
both worlds, but the "cool" slow-motion and fast editing
effects kind of make it annoying.
The Extended Scenes section is available with two
scenes: "The Jail" and "Mr. Porter Signs The Document"
(which has messed up audio and has no optional commentary).
The scenes have timecodes and are in non-anamorphic
widescreen, but appear to be in good shape (while "The Jail"
features special effects and all). "The Jail" is actually
more of an alternative scene, but the commentary from Carr
and Santelli explains the cut, so check it out.
Bear Necessities: A Kids Guide To Grizzlies is of
course, a feature aimed for kids where they can learn about
bears. With clips from the film and all sorts of footage of
bears in action, this nice supplement is hosted by the
general curator of the Los Angeles Zoo, Michael Dee. You
learn about the habitat bears, their location and all sorts
of information. It may not appeal to everyone, but sure does
fit in the style of the film. Very nicely done and has quite
a good amount of info.
Making Movie Magic with Rhythm and Hues is a look
at certain scenes and their special effects build-up with
commentary hosted by Doug Smith and Gary Noland who did
visual effects on the film. They talk how they did some
things and keep things going, so if you like this sorta
deal, which can be interesting, it is worth watching.
There are Storyboard Sequences: "The Doctor's
Office," "Paging Charisse," "Is this Biggy Mac?," "Archie
Learns About Bears" and "Too Much Ice Cream." These
sequences are essentially a split screen comparison of the
storyboards and the final film, so if you love these and
want to see the original visualization to what's on screen,
you will enjoy this.
"Wild On The Set" with Tank The Bear is a program
that aired on cable television's Animal Planet, and this
feature has clips from the movie and is a nice program about
the bear who played Archie. Interviews with head trainer
Doug Seus are included, plus footage of Tank doing his own
thing, on the set filming and clips from the film. This is
pretty neat as it shows how animals on the set being trained
and how they accomplish that. So if you are interested, do
check it out.
Rounding the disc out is the Cluck Cluck Music Video
by The Product G&B feature Wyclef, Music Promo
Spot, two non-anamorphic Theatrical Trailers
(though one was really a teaser), twelve TV Spots and
a preview for Fox's upcoming CGI release Ice Age (due
out March 2002) in non-anamorphic widescreen and 5.1 Dolby
Digital (it sounds great!). Also, there are some NUON
Enhanced Features on the disc, if you have a NUON
player. Fox is slowly releasing more and more NUON enhanced
This sequel is by no means bad, and is a decent family
film all ages can enjoy. The presentation is pretty good, as
well as the supplements. It's worth a rental, but if you
loved the movie, it's worth getting for your library.
(3/5 - NOT included in
(3.5/5, NOT an average)