Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Top 5 Animal Movies

So the two most recent movies I've watched were Reservoir Dogs and Junebug, and about the only thing they have in common is they both have animals in the title. So it got me thinking about what the best films are with an animal in the title. So without further ado, I give you, my inexorable readers, the top five films of all time with animals in the title. In chronological order.

Duck Soup (1933)
In the Marx Brothers' best film, the plot serves solely to string all the madcap comedy scenes together. And the laughs refuse to stop. Just about the only downside is that the brothers characters don't work together as they do in Monkey Business (which could also qualify for this list) and A Night at the Opera. There are no ducks featured in the film other than behind the opening credits.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
While Gregory Peck's performance usually gets the spotlight when dealing with the film, the film is actually the story of a little girl who learns to look at the world through new eyes. I suppose I should also mention the stirring score by Elmer Bernstein, with none other than John Williams playing piano. While no mockingbirds appear on screen, they are used as an illustration in one of Atticus' lessons to Scout.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Cruelty to cats, people who aren't dead yet, and Arthur's complete inability to get anyone to cooperate are just some of the recurring themes in this wild send-up of the Arthurian legends. It is immensely quotable, and is the only film I can think of where people not only will quote lines from the film, but will often quote whole scenes. But just to set the record straight, you cannot be a Monty Python fan if you have only seen this film. There are no snakes, pythons or otherwise, on screen, and none are discussed in dialog.

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
This is a heart wrenching story of a brother and sister who try to survive the bombings in Japan during WWII. The animation is fabulous, and I was enamoured with the believable way in which everyone moved (especially the sister). Not for the faint of heart, this is one of the most emotionally devastating films I have ever seen. In one scene the characters put some fireflies in a jar and use the light to light up their cave.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
I was worried that the film would completely botch one of my favorite books by misinterpreting Lewis's themes, making it too kiddie, making it too gritty and realistic (in the vein of Lord of the Rings), or even worse, all three. So I was pleased when about 95% of my very high expectations were met. Not only is the lion in the title a main character, he's Jesus.