'Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief'
(Peter Coyote, Kyla Pratt, et al / DVD / PG / 2008 / 20th Century Fox)
Overview: Maya Dolittle (Kyla Pratt) is back in a heartwarming adventure of presidential proportions! Maya's dream of going to vet school is put on hold when she gets a call from the President of the United States. It seems the First Dog is out of control and the President needs her help. It's up to Maya and her own dog, Lucky, to stop a canine catastrophe from becoming a national crisis!
DVD Verdict: I remembered enjoying the original Dr. Dolittle starring Rex Harrison. I also remember enjoying the Eddie Murphy remake, but not for the same reasons. The original had a sense of wonder about it, while the remake was silly animals that talk and Eddie Murphy being Eddie Murphy. Still, as a kid, it was entertaining. Sometime later Dr. Dolittle 2 was released and I had no more interest. As a result, I didn't even know they made a third film, and certainly didn't know about this one. With no Eddie Murphy and being straight-to-DVD, I was cautious.
Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief isn't anything special, but I did manage to find some enjoyment out of it. Perhaps it's the kid in me still liking the concept of talking animals. This movie's biggest strength is that it knows it's target audience and tries to make something that the children will enjoy. The animals are the ones who shine and get all the jokes, and there is silliness abound. The film likely succeeds in entertaining any youth that should watch it.
Kyla Pratt manages to shine in the title role. She keeps the over-reaction to a minimum (like Eddie Murphy or even Raven Symone, a previous star would not do). She seems to embrace her role as Maya Dolittle, and provides a fun performance. Her ability to not get annoying like I expected is worth the praise alone. It's the animals who are the stars here, and she knows it. The animals are voiced well. I was pleased to see Norm still working as Lucky, even if it seems he's lost some of his "bite" that he had in the original. Of course this is more aimed at children than that was, so it makes sense. The kids will like it, and that's really all that matters. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features:
Critter Casting Sessions
Working with Actors of a Different Breed
Goin' Wild at Mountain View
Learning About Endangered Animals