Happy New Year, dear readers. Instead of the usual legal analysis, I wanted to do something special for New Year’s Day and list my 6 favorite animal movies. Why 6? I couldn’t eliminate one to make it the Top 5. A few caveats: I’ve never seen Charlotte’s Web, Old Yeller or Black Beauty. I’m not a critic and this is just my opinion. But if you like animal movies, here are my choices in reverse order, with varied species:
#6 The 3 Lives of Thomasina – cat
Narrated by Thomasina the cat (formerly Thomas until she had kittens), the human characters include gorgeous, young Patrick McGoohan as a widowed veterinarian raising two young children in rural Scotland with The kids encounter a beautiful “witch” who lives in a cottage and has a gift for healing animals. This is a love story on several levels – the love of friendship, the tricky business of parent/child relations, adult love (father and the witch), and the enduring bond between animals and humans.
#5 Turner & Hooch – dog
A cops and robbers movie about a compulsively meticulous detective who partners with a large, slobbering Mastiff to solve a crime. Tom Hanks is cranky, irascible and funny. Not a great film, but fun.
#4 Born Free – lioness
This movie made a lasting impression at the age of 10, sobbing in a movie theater with my parents. This is based on the true story of Joy and George Anderson, who adopted an orphan baby lioness and raised her in their African sanctuary. I bet you can guess the ending, but I also bet you’ll be sobbing too.
#3 War Horse – horse
Epic tale set about World War I, following a young man whose beloved horse is conscripted into the cavalry. The boy also joins the army and endures the horrors and miracles of war. Benedict Cumberbatch is featured in a minor role and the horse is simply magnificent.
#2 Life of Pi – tiger, zebra, hyena and other zoo animals in supporting roles
This movie is great on so many levels. It works as a coming-of-age story about a boy named “Pi” who grows up in a zoom. It’s also an adventure thriller about surviving against impossible odds. Teenage Pi finds himself shipwrecked on a boat with several animals The cinematography is stunning and it will leave you in awe. The book is also awesome.
#1 Babe – a Sheep-pig
The charming tale of a little pig who dreams big. Thanks to animatronics and CGI, the animals converse behind the farmer’s back. Also starring 3 singing mice, a gaggle of geese, several sheepdogs and, well, sheep. This movie is funny, touching, inspiring and utterly unique. Some great music too.
Well that’s my list, dear reader. Wishing everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year!