A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Introduces kids to the Doctor Dolittle character from literature (and movies).
The movie's overwhelming message explores what it means to be a good friend and the importance of teamwork. Additional themes include honesty, facing danger with courage, and the importance of honoring a family legacy.
Positive Role Models
Young Dolittle is a good friend who wants to do right by his uncle and the animals he loves. His dog Jip is a loyal companion. Aside from the gorillas, their ringleader and his sidekick, the majority of the animals on the island are kind and compassionate. The monkey Tango portrays a realistic struggle between doing what is right for yourself versus the group.
Violence & Scariness
Violence is minimal and any roughhousing is fairly cartoony, however, animals are placed in danger, and conflict is resolved in a few instances through use of force, such as when animals are seen being lowered into a vat of volcanic lava, and a ram disappears into the lava. In one very short scene, a few animals are carted off to a dungeon. In another brief moment, a donkey comically attempts to break free from two gorillas by kicking and biting them, but gives up quickly.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Throughout the film, a lovestruck, nearsighted rhino comedically pines for and sweet talks a rock he thinks is a rhino, and in some instances, an actual rhino.
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The island ringleader, Ramsey the Ram, uses insulting language throughout the film, such as calling the other animals "chumps" or "blithering nitwits." There's an instance of gender-based disparagement when he calls the gorillas "ladies" to mock their incompetence.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Voyages of Young Doctor Dolittle is a tremendously sweet, family-friendly comedy that expresses admirable messages of friendship, teamwork, honesty, compassion, and doing the right thing, but features light peril and a couple of scenes where animals resolve conflict through force. Additionally, there's virtually no adult presence in the film aside from young Dolittle's mother's voice on the phone, and the film contains multiple instances of mild insulting language from a major character. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This animated film is a sweet, funny addition to the Hugh Lofting's children series Dr. Dolittle, and offers much of the same appeal and enjoyment as earlier incarnations. The Voyages of Young Doctor Dolittle is brightly animated, with colorful animal characters who more than earn their keep in comedic value, including a germaphobic bird, and a romantic-to-a-fault rhino. There are positive examples of loyalty and friendship, and sweet expressions of compassion.
Kids will enjoy the thrill of mild danger and the punchy animation, and the well-voiced, quirky characters are a nice change of pace from some of the blander animal fare. There's just enough suspense for a good scare, though sensitive kids might need a little reassurance during the bad guy's comeuppance.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.