Justalkin Episode 77: From Tuffy to Richard Parker, here's a look at some movies where animals played an important role
Hakuna Matata! It’s not the same when you say it yourself. You need some crazy people next to you saying it so you really believe in it! And yes, it’s gonna happen soon enough!
This is Justalkin brought to you by in.com. The Lion King is gonna be back on screen and it’s gonna be bigger and better even though you know it’s the same story you saw as a kid. Or as an adult. Whenever it doesn’t matter. But you’re gonna cry again. They have such an incredible voice cast this time. The movie has lions, a meerkat, a warthog, hyenas, the works. I think it’s always fascinating to have movies where there are talking animals. You can never be too old for cartoons and animations, and when it’s got something as crazy as animals that think and talk and feel like us it’s weird but we’re all big suckers for it. And it’s not a recent phenomenon. I am not entirely sure it’s accurate, there could’ve been movies before that, but the earliest recorded movie with an animal playing a lead role is called ‘Rescued by Rover’, where this dog helps his master find his missing child. It was directed by Cecil Hepworth, in 1905! He was the master, his real wife played his wife on screen, their real baby played the missing baby on the screen, and their pet dog, their family pet, played their dog on screen. It’s no different from Bollywood, they know how to keep things within the family. And once something like this took off obviously there would never be an end to it! Let’s take a look at some other films where animals played a huge role. Or a really important role.
Haathi Mere Saathi
Imagine someone shouts 'Ramu' and that their pet is gonna come running up to them. You’ll expect a dog or a cat or maybe even a rabbit. But Ramu is an elephant! This movie was very Disney like back in the day in 1971 because although it didn’t have talking animals, it had animals and lots of drama and lots of song and dance. Very high on emotion. Also so much going on beneath the surface that you’ll probably not know. The elephant that played Ramu, was actually a female elephant! For some reason, this movie did very, very well in Russia. The weird thing about this movie though, it was made in Tamil first, in 1967, it was called Deiva Cheiyal, and it became a flop. But when it was made in Hindi it became a hit! So what did they do? Remade it again in Tamil! And called it Nalla Neram. All I’m thinking is how long did they have to be around elephants to make this film!
Life of Pi
Movies about animals? Can’t have a list without this one. Like all great movies, this one was first a book, written by Yann Martel. Piscine Molitor Patel gets stranded at sea and manages to survive even after 227 days on a lifeboat with a Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker. The movie was supposed to make you think about faith and spirituality and how you react in the face of adversity and everything, but all it had me thinking was, this guy got to grow up in a zoo! They do show us the scary parts where his dad takes him and shows him what a carnivore is capable of doing. Imagine having that versus a dad who worked inside an office! And unlike our lives, the zoo doesn’t consist of members of your family! So apparently the book was rejected by at least five publishing houses before one in Canada decided to publish it. But they probably did the whole world favour this time.
Hum Aapke Hain Kaun
One of the most dramatic films in Bollywood. And that’s saying something. Hum Aapke Hain Kaun has a whole bunch of people. Two getting married, siblings, two sets of families, some unnecessary friends, and relatives. But like all this wasn’t enough, they added a dog to the mix. If you’ve seen this movie you cannot forget Tuffy, because has anyone ever met a helpful Pomeranian in real life? But it’s Bollywood so they turned this one into a hero. Tuffy could play cricket, watch over a baby, and in the end, also knew whose hands the letter should go to. Anyway, Tuffy must’ve done some stuff right because after the shoot was done, he was adopted by Madhuri Dixit. Pity he could do all that but Madhuri never put up videos of him dancing!
The Jungle Book
What’s better than having talking animals, or making movies about pets who belong to humans? Take a human and put him where the animals usually are! The Jungle Book was too much fun to be just a book, so it became a movie. But why wouldn’t they call it ‘The Jungle Movie’? It’s a really beautiful story where a boy is not a boy, he’s a man cub. And there are all sorts of animals with all sorts of quirks. There are vultures that will break into song with you, there are panthers that wanna protect you, bears that are like that one friend in the group who always has the worst ideas but you go along with anyway. Jon Favreau directed the live-action remake in 2016, and he’s the one who’s also directing the new Lion King that’s coming out so we don’t know what exactly it is that he’s doing right but he managed to get a job that would allow him to watch Disney movies all day.
Not really the ideal time to talk about it because the whole world seems to be burning in heat, but Ice Age had to make it to the list. It’s got a whole bunch of movies in the series, but I gotta be honest, the quality of the movies kept dropping. They really had us with the first two for sure, because it was so novel. And it’s animals who are dealing with problems that humans could never deal with. Global warming and dinosaurs chasing and crazy sea creatures breaking out of the Ice. But this series still has a separate fan base. Because the characters each have a personality. They’re well thought out, and they’re also voiced by some really kickass actors. They got Ray Romano to voice Manny, the mammoth. Queen Latifah voices his girlfriend/ wife Ellie. Jack Black and Jennifer Lopez and Jay Leno also voiced some of the characters in some of the editions. The animation didn’t get any better with each movie, but when you see the problems these animals are facing you’ll actually wanna do something about global warming.
Kung Fu Panda
Probably the most adorable action movie ever! Kung Fu Panda features Po the panda in the lead role. He’s this chubby little panda who’s really cute, ends up saving the day with his friends but he’s not an angry young panda or something. He can make you laugh, he can be really dumb, he can believe that his dad is a bird. I don’t know, this movie just worked. It’s crazy how they brought in elements that major movies bring, like having a Star Wars like a mentor in Master Oogway and going into the after-life. There’s also a Snow Leopard, a Tigress, a Viper, a monkey, a Mantis who can do Kung Fu! If animals doing Kung Fu can’t win you over, I don’t know what can!
This movie is supposed to be really sentimental but I think it’s also a little funny. It’s about a dog who goes about avenging the death of his master. How much more Bollywood can it get! And because revenge drama wasn’t enough, they also added some songs that the master sang for his dog. That’s not even the craziest bit. I think there are scenes where they tried to make the dog cry. And you know how they show flashbacks in Bollywood movies usually, they show flashbacks from the dog’s perspective. The dog was probably thinking of all the times it didn’t have to face a camera in its past.
Madagascar is a crazy, fun, insane adventure from the word go. And it made us realize that tame animals in the wild would be as clueless as wild animals in a city. It had a great premise though. A lion was gonna go back home to where it originally came from. Wait, isn’t that sort of like the Lion King except for this time the lion was in a zoo? This lion has the most fun bunch of friends you could ever ask for. And just like real life groups, two members of this group start dating each other. A hippo and a giraffe are into each other! If they cross breed what would their offspring be called? A giraffe? A gippo? Madagascar also has this wild bunch of unruly lemurs! Oh god man they’re so much fun getting up to all sorts of antics! But it never feels like there are too many characters even if there’s a whole forest load of them! We’ll take whatever they give us!
If you can look at cat videos all day and go all “awww’ when you see puppies and kittens on Instagram, there’s no way your brain will rest until you’ve seen the Lion King. Some decisions are just out of your control. As long as no animals are harmed during the making of films, we cannot have enough of them! This is Justalkin brought to you by in.com. Read More