It is a New Year, so lets start it off right. With a discussion about animals. Let’s be honest 2016 wasn’t the greatest of years so I am kicking off this year by bringing along one of my oldest friends Matilda Weaver, and we are talking about the cutest little balls of fluff on the planet (and maybe some slightly bigger balls of fluff, but because its the movies they’re still cute). So join us as we celebrate our Top 5 Film Animals.
- Shuggie: Keanu (Keanu) – Keanu is on this list because he is THE SINGLE CUTEST ANIMAL EVER PUT TO SCREEN. Forgive the caps, but I feel incredibly strongly about this, there has never been anything cuter than this little kitten.. Is the fact he’s cute the only reason that he makes the list? Yes. And hey I can do what I want, so here he is at number 5.
- Tilly: The Mother Cat (Aristocrats) – She is my number 5 because she is a really cool mum. She is big and safe, cosy and cuddly with her fur coat. These two things are a must for a mum and as a child viewer, I could definitely associate with this. What made her really cool though, was that she was a sexy mum. She was beautiful and alluring with her French accent and showed that mums are still sexy women. To a five-year-old me, this was a really cool idea.
- Shuggie: “Panthers” (Team America: World Police) – Ok I just find this joke a lot funnier than I probably should do. When “panthers” attack two of the members of Team America what they are actually faced with, to work with the scale of the puppets is two regular house cats with some panther sound effects thrown in. Honestly is it really funny enough to end up on this list? Probably not, but I was looking for things that are a little bit different, and I enjoyed in different ways, and this is definitely one of them. And it still amuses me whenever I see the film.
- Tilly: Buddy (Buddy) – When we were little, there was a ‘grown up’ video drawer in the study. This didn’t mean naughty films like the name suggests. It was, however, the location of scary films, or films too boring and grey for kids (i.e. not Disney). Sometimes when my sister and me were particularly bored of the DVD collection, we would (as a last resort), skim the adult drawer. This is how I came across Buddy: a tale of a baby gorilla raised by a woman in her home. I think Buddy eventually outgrows this set-up and everything ends badly but for some reason I loved the relationship between Buddy and his human mother. I think it was the idea that despite being different, you can find friends, or mothers, in unexpected places. As a child, this made me feel safe.
- Shuggie: Mr. Fox (Fantastic Mr. Fox) – Wes Anderson’s fantastic adaptation of Ronald Dahl’s novel is built around he titular character, voiced by George Clooney. He’s such a charming and suave character. He’s a character who struggles without the thrill of stealing from the three farmers he lives near (Boggis, Bunce, and Bean). But despite seeking this thrill what he really wants is to look after and provide for his family. He’s the best character in a great film, and written with Anderson’s typical style. If you can get behind that then you’ll love Mr. Fox.
- Tilly: Simba (The Lion King) – I think for most 90s kids, Simba would have to be listed in a collection of top film animals. He is, after all, iconic. He is the pinnacle around which this epic tale of loss and coming of age/responsibility turns. He is brave and successful and every kid’s fantasy of the perfect personality. Young and careless, he grows to be a strong leader. However, as I grew on my own trajectory of introversion and odd-ball-ness, the character of Simba resonated less and less with me. He is a very straightforward progression that, I think, not many people actually end up making.
- Shuggie: Baloo (The Jungle Book) – “Look for the bear necessities, the simple bear necessities, forget about your worries and your strife”. This guy’s whole life philosophy is about taking it easy, the world will provide and to enjoy yourself. And man that sounds like a pretty idyllic existence to me. But he also shows, through both version of the film, the fact that he grows up and realises that he has to do what is best for Mowgli. I love this character, his whole attitude and how much he does come through for his friends when he is needed. A great movie animal.
- Tilly: Flounder (The Little Mermaid) – Flounder was one of the first animals (or fish) to jump to mind for this article. What is it that makes the character so memorable? I think it is his likability. He is the epitome of the perfect friend: unintimidating, loyal, reliable, positive, protective and just daring enough to be risky but not dangerous. As a kid, I wanted to be Ariel and so inevitably wanted Flounder as a best friend. Have I found him yet? I think he is present in many of the people closest to me.
- Shuggie: Donkey (Shrek) – Shrek is a great idea for a new take on the fairy tale genre, but let’s be honest, it would never have been as successful without Eddie Murphy as Donkey. Was he a little annoying? Yeah but we still loved him because he had so much charm, and so many great hysterical lines. And these aren’t lines that are automatically hilarious on paper, so much of that is in Murphy’s delivery. I still quote stuff like “that’s a nice boulder” and “in the morning, we’re making waffles” despite a complete lack of context to either. Then in the second film they added an extra dynamic with him being changed into a horse and through his friendship with Puss. He’s a brilliant character, and for me the best movie animal.
- Tilly: Dumbo (Dumbo) – The number 1. Dumbo was the first animal to cross my mind when considering my top 5 movie animals. Dumbo doesn’t speak. This is perhaps one of the reasons this was one of the first movies I ever saw: I didn’t need to follow complicated dialogue. As it’s core, the tale is about the mother/child relationship and the agony of the separation of this pair. As one of my first experiences of film, this silent relationship spoke hugely to my experience of life so far with the mother/child bond at its centre. For this reason, the character remains top of my list as important animals in film. To this day, his story tugs at my heart.
So those are our favourite animals from the world of film. What do you think of our choice? Do you have any particular favourite movie animals? Let us know in the comments.