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Spoilers for Robert Downey Jr.’s big Marvel follow-up can be found throughout this article. You have been warned.
Although Bad Boys For Life had an astonishing opening weekend at the box office, the Internet has been almost as interested in talking about one absolutely wild scene that comes toward the end of the other big release this weekend, Dolittle. The scene, which I will henceforth refer to as the dragon flatulence scene, is not necessarily getting attention for positive reasons. As it turns out, the big moment was also one the Dolittle team added in reshoots.
Here’s the gist: Dolittle was not a cheap movie to make. Reports this week have indicated parent studio Universal spent a whopping $175 million on the film, which is an astonishing number for a movie with animated animals that don’t even look all that good. (I mean at least this film doesn’t have Cats’ human hands issues, but still.) Now, we've learned this includes adding the aforementioned dragon flatulence scene, along with also bringing in two new directors and adding nine months to the movie’s production process.
The goal, according to the Wall Street Journal, was to film reshoots meant not necessarily to make a better movie but to make a sillier one. Yes, it’s clear watching Dolittle that the movie is targeting younger kids and overseas audiences which may have different humor than what American audiences expect, even from their kid-friendly films.
It didn’t work. The dragon flatulence scene comes when Dr. Dolittle and his merry band of compatriots are attempting to retrieve a precious fruit that will allegedly save the queen from being poisoned to death by deadly nightshade. After a long journey, they find they must face the dragon, who is in a bad mood from having bagpipes stuck up her butt, presumably for quite some time. Dolittle capably saves the day by pulling the pipes out and a long and lengthy moment where she breaks wind ensues.
It’s a moment that people who saw the movie – and even some who didn’t – can’t stop talking about. It’s one of several fart jokes made in Dolittle and it’s certainly the most noticeable one. To find out the moment wasn’t included in the original draft of the film really does make me wonder what exactly the tone initially was for the Robert Downey Jr. starrer and what else was added later.
We do know there were at least three additional weeks of photography on Dolittle after filming Stephen Gaghan initial version of the film and feeling like it wasn’t the right tone and simply not “lighthearted” enough for families, people including The LEGO Movie director Chris McKay were brought in to make the script more for families. So that gives us some idea for what Dolittle could have been, for better or for worse. But I can confidently say this movie will go down in history now as the movie where the dragon has stuff up its butt, and I doubt that's what the studio was hoping for when the movie was coming together.
On the bright side, there's lots of good stuff at the box office right now as awards season is in full swing. Unfortunately, not a lot of it is great for kids and if you need a movie to get out of the house during this wintry weather, you may not be able to do better than Dolittle. Just be prepared for all the fart jokes.