Fun With Animals

Fun With Animals: Introduction

Posted by on Dec 20, 2011 in Fun With Animals | 0 comments

Fun With Animals: Introduction

“Love animals: God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled. Do not trouble their joy; don’t harass them; don’t deprive them of their happiness; don’t work against God’s intent. Man, do not pride yourself on superiority to animals; they are without sin, and you, with your greatness, defile the earth by your appearance on it, and leave the traces of your foulness after you – alas, it is true of almost every one of us.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky Film is a medium unlike any other in...

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Finding Nemo (2003)

Posted by on Dec 19, 2011 in Fun With Animals | 0 comments

Finding Nemo (2003)

Disclaimer: Will both repel you from and inspire you to get a fish tank. I forget who said it or wrote it – and I hope I paraphrase it accurately – but a good film is one you’d like to see again; a great film is one you can’t live without seeing again. I don’t know where that places Finding Nemo for you, but the first time I saw it was a sunny Saturday right after its home release. That morning my friends all headed out to a beach and I was stuck indoors with the flu. As I laid there, nasally,...

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Bambi (1942)

Posted by on Dec 19, 2011 in Fun With Animals | 0 comments

Bambi (1942)

Disclaimer: The Disney film that set the standard for child-orphaning death (e.g. The Lion King, Finding Nemo, Oliver & Company, The Jungle Book). Bambi is not your traditional movie, but a series of emotional reactions that mature just as the title character must over the course of one year. If Bambi died at the moment the screen faded to black (as horrible a thought as that is), this film would be the image that flashed before his eyes. It’s also one of the biggest guilt trips in cinema...

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Babe (1995) and Babe: Pig in the City (1998)

Posted by on Dec 19, 2011 in Fun With Animals | 0 comments

Babe (1995) and Babe: Pig in the City (1998)

Disclaimer: Bigotry and eugenics explored via farm animals. And that’s just the harmless original; the sequel is far, far darker and more violent. From the moment George Miller picked up the novel The Sheep Pig by farmer-turned-teacher-turned-author Dick King-Smith, he knew he had to commit it to celluloid. However, producer and co-writer Miller, who also wrote/directed the Mad Max trilogy and happens to be a vegetarian, waited a decade to do so in order for technology to advance and make...

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Dumbo (1941)

Posted by on Dec 19, 2011 in Fun With Animals | 0 comments

Dumbo (1941)

Disclaimer: Despite its message against segregation, there’s a pretty blatantly racist song. Plus there’s an alcohol-inspired sequence that’s quite the acid trip. For a movie in which the main character never speaks a line of dialogue and that lasts only one hour, Dumbo remains one of Disney’s most beloved creations. Disney’s fourth feature-length installment was based on the brief and relatively unknown Helen Aberson book. As the simple story goes, a stork brings baby Jumbo Jr. to circus...

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Microcosmos (1996)

Posted by on Dec 19, 2011 in Fun With Animals | 0 comments

Microcosmos (1996)

Disclaimer: A movie solely about insects – ewww, gross! It also shows them having sex and fighting on occasion. While the word “documentary,” not to mention “foreign” or “silent,” often scares many viewers away – probably adults more than children – March of the Penguins should have been concrete evidence of their tremendous drawing power. And for those viewers that failed to be swayed by Penguins, allow Microcosmos to do the trick. While we may know very little about penguins, who reside...

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Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Posted by on Dec 19, 2011 in Fun With Animals | 0 comments

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Disclaimer: Lots and lots of “cusses.” Literally (they replaced every swear with “cuss” … even graffiti). There’s only a few auteurs working in Hollywood nowadays – Paul Thomas Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, and the Coen Brothers among them. Wes Anderson may be the least known name in this group, but none has a more unique style of filmmaking. His movies (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic, and Darjeeling Limited) often center on a youthful outsider trying to find a...

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Chicken Run (2000)

Posted by on Dec 19, 2011 in Fun With Animals | 0 comments

Chicken Run (2000)

Disclaimer: Farmers do not take their chickens on holiday. As the first feature film by Peter Lord and Nick Park, the bigwigs at Aardman Animations who brought us Wallace and Gromit, this film is a clever blend of American World War II prison camp flicks and British poultry. This time the stop-motion specialists bring us to a Yorkshire egg farm circa 1950s. Mrs. Tweedy (Miranda Richardson) runs the humble farm like an evil dictator, cutting the heads off of hens that fail to produce eggs...

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The Land Before Time (1988)

Posted by on Dec 19, 2011 in Fun With Animals | 0 comments

The Land Before Time (1988)

Disclaimer: Some scary, violent moments, but no blood or gore. This friendly animated feature from executive producers Steven Spielberg and George Lucas spawned a dozen (that’s right, 12) sequels. So while people like me toss and turn at the thought of three more Star Wars or Indiana Jones installments (or Jurassic Park, for that matter), I can always put things in perspective thanks to The Land Before Time. Most kids (at least boys) become fascinated with dinosaurs at some point during their...

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March of the Penguins (2005)

Posted by on Dec 19, 2011 in Fun With Animals | 0 comments

March of the Penguins (2005)

Disclaimer: Penguins are crazy awesome, but are unfortunately mortal. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to readers when I say documentaries (and experimental films) don’t typically make money or draw large crowds to theaters. At most, they receive some critical acclaim, find screenings in arthouses, and possibly shuffle into the annals of history. But when a documentary about some emperor penguins waddled along in 2005, film experts found themselves at a loss for words – and for good reason....

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One Hundred and One Dalmations (1961)

Posted by on Dec 19, 2011 in Fun With Animals | 0 comments

One Hundred and One Dalmations (1961)

Disclaimer: Children will no longer trust people with fur coats. A great deal of One Hundred and One Dalmatians’ appeal comes from its point of view. From where the film’s characters stand, the world is theirs for the taking; they can take care of themselves; they have no owners; and they are certainly not pets. Forcing us to see things from a dog’s perspective is by no means unique. In fact, just six years prior, Mr. Disney had us follow The Lady and the Tramp. In many ways, this is a...

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Horton Hears a Who! (2008)

Posted by on Dec 18, 2011 in Fun With Animals | 0 comments

Horton Hears a Who! (2008)

Disclaimer: Don’t ever, ever watch the live-action Grinch or Cat in the Hat. Ever. Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) was not a fan of seeing his popular youth books turn into television and film adaptations, and he tried his hardest to prevent them from becoming so. Those he did approve of (such as Chuck Jones’ animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas) maintained the look, themes, and language of his stories almost identically. When Dr. Seuss died, we saw massive failures from live-action...

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Fun With Animals: Other Recommended Titles

Posted by on Dec 17, 2011 in Fun With Animals | 0 comments

Fun With Animals: Other Recommended Titles

An American Tail (1986): From executive producer Steven Spielberg, this depressing story tracks a young Jewish mouse’s hardships in czarsit Russia, while dreaming of emigrating to America. Fievel Goes West is a respectable sequel. Bringing Up Baby (1938): This screwball comedy from Howard Hawks has Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn parading around town after a leopard. A Bug’s Life (1998): Mirroring Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai, Pixar’s second feature is a clever and exciting action-adventure...

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Fun With Animals: For Adults Only

Posted by on Dec 16, 2011 in Fun With Animals | 0 comments

Fun With Animals: For Adults Only

Antz (1998): Despite its cutesy exterior, this movie is a Woody Allen flick in disguise. You’ll like it, but kids won’t. Rango (2011): Another in a long line of adult reference-loaded films meant for kids, this one perhaps the most ageist in that the whole thing is an homage to Westerns like Chinatown, High Noon, Rio Bravo, and Sergio Leone’s man-with-no-name trilogy. You’ll like it for totally different reasons than...

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