Sunday, October 4, 2015

All God’s creatures — big and small — find place on the screen in Hollywood

 Beasts, birds, bugs and more!

All God’s creatures — big and small — find place on the screen in Hollywood

Bryan Durham

Ask any director — babies and animals are the most difficult to direct. But ask any producer and you know that most of the time, you’re part of a winning venture. Audiences love a good animal film and more so, if it involves a for-all-ages theme and a lesson to be learnt (that doesn’t sound preachy at all). And more often than not, that translates into box-office success at the very least or franchise at its best.

Most often, dumbing down is the way to go, but the brightest moments in any animal film has to be one where they take charge of the situation and deal with it better than a human would. There are as many beloved films as there are animals on this planet and it wouldn’t be possible to list them all, but here are some of our favourites...

STUART LITTLE

The Littles are keen on adopting a child, but instead adopt a young mouse named Stuart as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Their son George isn’t too happy about his new “brother” coming home. The pet cat even less so. But love wins them over in due course.

FREE WILLY

Jesse vandalises a theme park, is placed with foster parents and is forced to work at the park. He meets an Orca whale named Willy there and the two bond. Willy is uncooperative otherwise and only heeds Jesse’s commands. With the help of whale trainer Rae Lindley, they get Willy to learn some tricks but eventually try to get him to escape and return to safety and be with his family.

MR PEABODY AND SHERMAN

Mr Peabody might well be the smartest canine that ever lived. He adopts a boy, names him Sherman and the two use a time machine to take off on adventures. All it takes to rip their cushy existence and the world apart is unsupervised use of the machine by Sherman to cause havoc. Mr. Peabody, needless to say, saves the day.

SHAUN THE SHEEP

Fees up of his monotonous life on the farm, Shaun decides to take the day off and have some fun. In the bargain, he ends up sending his owner, the Farmer to the Big City with a missing memory. It will take Shaun’s smarts and the flock to return everyone home safe. And make some friends along the way.

MADAGASCAR

A lion, a zebra, a giraffe and a hippo are the star attractions at New York’s Central Park Zoo. It’s a content life for them all, being provided for and all, but Marty wants more and decides to escape and do some exploring on his own with the help of a few penguins. But his friends won’t let him make the trip alone...

THE PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR

Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private fancy themselves as elite spies and cross paths with an undercover organisation called North Wind and attempt to Atul the evil Dr. Octavius Brine from destroying the world (Yawn!) and riding the world of cuteness (Wait! What?).

BABE

Babe is the story of a pig who discovers he can herd sheep, with a little help, of course. It keeps him from the butcher’s. But will it help him be accepted by the rest of the animals on the farm?

MARLEY

AND ME

Newlyweds John and Jenny Grogan move into a new home and start work. Soon after, they adopt Marley, an adorable Labrador pup. But Marley soon grows up to be a mischievous terror. He’s the sweetest, but can’t get a hold on his ‘destructive’ ways. Everything from furniture to everything else goes for a toss. But it is the love and joy he bring s to their lives that makes him more than a family member to the Grogans.

A BUG’S LIFE

Flik’s an inventor (and in sure you know how that breed fares, socially) ant whose latest ‘accident’ sees them threatened by annihilation by grasshopper Hopper. He decides to round up fighters to help fend off the threat.

DUMA

Xan lives in Kenya with his parents. The family discovers an abandoned cheetah cub, call it Duma. The boy cares for it. In time though, he realises that you can take the beast out of the wild, but you cannot take the wild out of the beast.

DUNSTON CHECKS IN

About an unruly orangutan who runs amok in a hotel, where the hotel’s concierge had to deal with a surprise inspection and the owner’s impending visit. The concierge has to pray Dunston doesn’t do any damage.

JAWS

A young woman’s death in a tourist town (she’s killed by a shark)forces police chief Brody to close off the beaches, but mayor Larry Vaughn doesn’t want to lose the revenue tourists bring in. He takes help from a ship captain and a scientist to capture the beast.

BORN FREE

Game warden George and his wife Joy are at the heart of his story set in a national park in Kenya where they begin carrying for three orphaned lion cubs. The two larger lions are shipped off to a zoo in the Netherlands, the smallest, Elsa, stays with the couple.

TED 1 & 2

When he was a scared little boy John Bennett wished that his teddy bear would come alive. He did, had a career in entertainment, and then became a homebody. John’s girlfriend Lori feels he’s a bad influence on her man. Maybe he is, or maybe John doesn’t want to grow up?

 Upcoming films that feature animals prominently


THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS

Ever wonder what your pets think about, when you’re not at home and are working or at school or college? Well, this film will give you a peek. About the devoted Max, whose life asthe only pet is turned upside down, when his owner brings home a sloppy mongrel named Duke, it sees them bonding when a common enemy — a white bunny named Snowball starts building an army of abandoned pets determined to take revenge on all happy-owned pets and their owners.

JUNGLE BOOK

Based on the Rudyard Kipling book and an oft-reiterated tale about an orphan boy raised in the jungle with the help of a pack of wolves, a bear, and a black panther, sees a live-action release with an Indian-origin actor as Mowgli and a stellar voice cast — Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray are part of this project as well - directed by Jon Favreau, this is one highly anticipated film.

ZOOTOPIA

In the animal city of Zootopia, a fast-talking fox trying to make it big, goes on the run when he’s framed for a crime he didn’t commit. Zootopia’s top cop, a self-righteous rabbit, is hot on his tail, but when both become targets of a conspiracy, they’re forced to team up.

THE GOOD DINOSAUR

Pixar’s next big release. It asks the question: what if the asteroid that wiped off dinosaur life on earth, missed and life went on as usual and they co-habited the plant with humans? In this film, an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend.

THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE

Based on the game, this movie sees angry birds Red, Chuck and Bomb at the centre of all the action on Bird Island, an untouched paradise, who are visited by pigs, who are dumb but funny. The birds and pigs befriend each other and have a party, but Red does not trust them at all.

FINDING DORY

Remember Dory? Of course you remember that forgetful blue tang fish from Finding Nemo. But we can bet she doesn’t remember you. Here, she reunites with old friends and makes new ones and learns about what it means to be part of a family.

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