These Animal-themed Movies Are Perfect For Family-time With The Kids
07th December, 2020
These Animal-themed Movies Are Perfect For Family-time With The Kids
20th Century Studios
Are you looking for an animal-themed movie to watch with your children? Here are ten such movies that you can binge on on a lazy afternoon. Don’t forget your popcorn! If there is one thing that we all love, it is cute animals. It doesn't matter if you’re an animal-lover—they are all adorable! So what better way to spend an afternoon with your children than to watch an animal film? Whether you are looking for adventurous plots, adorable animations, or catchy soundtracks, we have put together a list of some of the best animal movies that have it all.
101 Dalmatians
Image Credits
101 Dalmatians
As the name suggests, this movie features not one, not two, but 101 dogs! The plot revolves around a family of a Dalmatian couple and their massive litter of puppies, as Cruella de Vil, an evil fashion designer, plots to steal them from their owners. The movie is based on a book of the same title, which was written by Dodie Smith in 1956.

Glenn Close, who played Cruella in the movie, experienced a real-life sneaky move from one of the dogs as it tried to get away from her after seeing her in costume and makeup (can you imagine the chaos on the movie set?) There were about 230 puppies and 20 adult Dalmatians used during the filming. In fact, one of the major challenges of this project was to be able to find all these furry actors and train them in time for the shoot! A puppy paradise, if you ask us!

The Secret Life of Pets
Universal Pictures
The Secret Life of Pets
The plot follows the life of Max, a Jack Russell Terrier, and a group of pet friends as they try to deal with Duke, a Newfoundland mix, who has recently been adopted. Things take a turn for the worse when Duke and Max get captured by animal control. Directed by Chris Renaud, it was the first film of the franchise. You’d think it’s a movie only for pet parents but just like any other well-animated movie, it entertains any and everyone!

The movie did so well that it made over $100 million in the opening weekend alone. And we’re not sure how many of you noticed, but the movie also features Gru from Despicable Me walking his dog in the park. In fact, that’s not the only reference to Despicable Me: the house you see with the many cats? Look closely and you’ll notice the anchorman on TV.

Free Willy
Warner Bros. Pictures
Free Willy
Directed by Simon Wincer, Free Willy is a 1993 film based on a story by Keith Walker. It later grew to become a hit franchise. The film revolves around a boy named Jesse, who builds an unusual friendship with an orca named Willy. When it is revealed that Willy’s life is in danger, Jesse is prepared to do whatever it takes to save his best friend.

Thanks to the film, the famous orca (Keiko) was moved to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in 1996 and to a sea pen in Iceland in 1998. All this was done after there was a huge protest in the country to release Keiko in the wild. However, Keiko’s reintroduction to the wild invited much controversy, as many believed that his years in captivity would render him unable to acclimate to wild surroundings. In 2003, he reportedly died of pneumonia in Norway.

Ice Age
20th Century Studios
Ice Age
This movie follows a few animals from the Ice age, including a woolly mammoth, a sloth, and a saber-toothed tiger, as they navigate snow to return a human baby to its family. The story is occasionally interrupted by comical clips of a saber-toothed squirrel and his attempts at securing his acorn. Directed by Chris Wedge, Ice Age is based on a story by Michael J. Wilson.

Next time you watch the movie, here’s a little trivia for you that you can share with your kids: most of the drawings during the credit roll are made by children of the animators from Blue Sky Studios. In fact, story artist Dan Shefelman asked his son to draw a picture of Sid the sloth, which they then used as his self-portrait in the cave scene. Talk about inspirational yet fun information for your babies!

Dumbo
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Dumbo
This Disney film is a rendition of a book written by Helen Aberson and Harold Pearl. The story focuses on Dumbo, an adorable elephant who has the ability to fly because of his enormous ears. As Dumbo saves the fate of a dying circus, dark realities are brought to the surface. This steers Dumbo into a new and adventurous path. Directed by Tim Burton, Dumbo is a film filled with adventure and fantasy that is sure to keep you and your kids hooked.

The fun cannot be missed in this one; in fact, all the extras in the scenes were not actors, but professional circus performers hired from around the world. And one of these professionals also helped Eva Green overcome her fear of heights so she could perform the stunts by herself. With “Big Ears” as its code name, Dumbo is widely recognized as a well-known work of literature and cinema.

Stuart Little
Columbia Pictures
Stuart Little
A 1999 film, Stuart Little is roughly based on an eponymous book by E. B. White. The story is centered on a family that adopts a mouse named Stuart. Stuart struggles to warm up to his new family after being received coldly by his step-brother, George, and their pet cat, Snowbell. This film is the first one of what became a successful franchise, topping the charts as the world entered a new millennium. The film also became known as one of Columbia’s first animated hybrid movies.

To date, it remains one of the all-time favorite movies among many adults who watched it growing up! A mix of adventure and comedy, the movie inspired a franchise, which didn’t disappoint either. If you’re looking for a feel-good, relaxing family comedy, then Stuart Little would definitely be a good watch for you and your kids.

Dr. Dolittle
Universal Pictures
Dr. Dolittle
Directed by Betty Thomas, Dr. Dolittle is a 1998 comedy film. Based on a children’s book series written by Hugh Lofting, this film tells the story of a doctor who can talk to animals. As he navigates his life with this newfound talent, he finds himself in strange and comical situations. Played by the legendary Eddie Murphy, the film is an all-time classic.

However, you’d be surprised to know that Murphy is, in fact, extremely scared of animals and requested that they be digitally imposed on screen. In scenes where this wasn’t possible, Murphy would end up being completely terrified at the end of the shoot—a hilarious on- and off-screen story for sure! The film borrows only certain elements from the original book, giving the project’s screenwriters ample creative freedom.

The Jungle Book
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
The Jungle Book
Based on Rudyard Kipling’s stories, The Jungle Book is a live-action adaption of the classic tale. Produced by Walt Disney Pictures, the story follows the life of Mowgli, a young boy who gets stranded in a jungle. He is brought up by a pack of wolves until a Bengal tiger threatens to kill him. Alarmed by this threat, a black panther helps Mowgli find a way to escape. With several renditions, the latest one being that of 2016, the Jungle Book storytelling keeps getting better.

Thanks to the technology used in films today, the makers have made the animals look extremely real on screen, piquing the viewer’s interest. It even won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. You’ll be fascinated to know that Baloo’s character was made to be so large and detailed that each frame almost took five hours of rendering time. It was released in India a week ahead of its debut in the US. This was done to honor the Indian landscape depicted in the film.

Finding Nemo
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Finding Nemo
Written and directed by Andrew Stanton, Finding Nemo is an animated film that depicts the incredible journey of Marlin, a clownfish, as he travels across the Great Barrier Reef to find his son Nemo. Along the way, he goes through several adventures and meets a forgetful blue tang named Dory, who helps him in his quest. Little Nemo’s adventurous streak and starry-eyed innocence is part of what made the audience fall in love with the film.

A few frames in the film took days to be rendered—this speaks volumes about the complexity and detail present in the movie. In fact, the sea water portrayed in the movie looked so real that the animators had to rework it to make it look fake! The film received so much love and appreciation from across the world that Finding Dory, its sequel, was launched in 2016. Ellen Degeneres played Dory in the movie, and it was the character that was adored by most.

Hachi: A Dog’s Tale
Stage 6 Films
Hachi: A Dog’s Tale
Based on a true story, this 2009 film directed by Lasse Hallström, is an adaptation of Hachikō Monogatari, a Japanese film. It tells the story of a lost Akita puppy who catches the eye of Parker Wilson, a college professor who adopts it. Eventually, as the pup grows old, it falls into a routine of dropping and receiving Parker from the station, until one day when Parker fails to return. A heart-wrenching story of a dog and his master, Hachi is one of the most beautiful movies that depicts loyalty and dedication.

The film did so well that just after two years of its release, it raked in $46.7 million at the international box office. In the movie, Hachi was played by three dogs, and Richard Gere played the professor. One of the inspirations for Gere to do this movie was to be able to share some of his projects with his young son, and a movie around dogs seemed to be just the right choice!