Dr. Dolittle 3 is yet another unnecessary direct-to-DVD sequel of a film, whose glory has long since passed. Young actress Kyla Pratt takes center stage as the next generation of Dolittle to inherit the gift – or curse – of hearing animals speak. At the outset of the film, she is ashamed of her gift, and her lineage. But when she is sent to an old family friend’s ranch for the summer, she begins to see that a talent is what you make of it. Along with telegraphed comedy, lightweight rivalries, and a budding rom…nce with a young ex-bull rider, Kyla’s feature debut is a harmlessly amateur piece of family film fluff, sure to delight the kiddies (but only the very young).
From an adult’s perspective, the film contains a lot of weaknesses – namely stemming from a core plot founded and developed on one cliché after another. The slapstick aspects of the humor have also been done to death – and here, they’re not very effective. The whole “will they or won’t they save the ranch” thing also feels like familiar territory, and tension is absent as a result. It’s been said there’s nothing new under the sun – certainly, this is the case at the Durango Ranch in Dr. Dolittle 3. But sometimes, a film filled with regurgitated plot points matters not when the eyes appealed to are that of a child. Kudos to the animal trainers, though – they do a fabulous job making all the ensuing hijinx feel authentic.
This film is available in both full frame and 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratios. The widescreen is the best way to view it, if you like a non-cropped, sharp image. The full frame is unable to avoid small traces of grain, and the colors fade a smidgeon as a result of the manipulation. In the widescreen format, all the visual aspects appear as they need to, with deep blacks and rich colors. Night scenes on the ranch are especially striking. Neither version is bad, but widescreen reigns superior.
The 5.1 track is pretty lightweight stuff, though flawless in nature. The disc doesn’t use the outdoors quite to the dynamic extent that it could, but this is Dr. Dolittle 3 and not some mega-budgeted summer blockbuster we’re talking about, so it’s not really expected. A 2.0 would probably sound just as good, but I can’t complain with the extra mile – overall, a good balance between dialogue and bass, which yields a proper track. Spanish and French 2.1 tracks are also available.
The disc isn’t loaded with special features, but it does have a couple that are worthwhile, if you like the main feature. These include the audio commentary with Pratt and director Rich Thorne and The Making of Dr. Dolittle 3 featurette. Also included: the “Growing Up Dolittle” featurette and a TV spot.
Dr. Dolittle 3 is standard family fare, unfortunately. By unfortunately, I mean most of it is crap derivative of the few benchmarks set within the genre. Such is the case here, but children will still find something to laugh at and, perhaps, love. The A/V is basic and straight-forward; the bonus materials, okay. It’s nothing to get excited about, but it could just buy an overworked parent 90 minutes of free time some Saturday afternoon.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary by director Rich Thorne and Kyla Pratt
- “Growing Up Dolittle” Featurette
- “Making of Dr. Dolittle 3” Featurette
- TV Spot