Best Movie Animals

Story posted March 25, 2023 in

Toto - “The Wizard of Oz”

A Cairn Terrier from Kansas is perhaps the most iconic animal to appear in a movie.

Toto is the pet dog of Dorothy Gale, played by Judy Garland, in the 1939 classic “The Wizard of Oz.”

At the beginning of the movie, Toto runs into trouble with Miss Gulch, a disgruntled neighbor. This leads to Miss Gulch taking away Toto in her bicycle basket.

However, Toto is clever and loyal. He escapes the wrath of Miss Gulch by leaping out of the basket and returning home to Dorothy.

Later in the film, upon arriving in Oz, Dorothy says, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” This sets up the magic and adventure that is about to come.

Toto exhibits the qualities of a hero and a best friend. He is a vital supporting character, supporting the plot and capturing the hearts of viewers. - McKenna Wall

Hooch - “Turner and Hooch”

There have been many iconic dogs represented in cinema such as Lassie, Dug, Pluto, Toto, Snoopy, Wishbone, Slinky, Beethoven, Clifford, Scooby-Doo, Benji, Rin Tin Tin, etc. But one pooch that tugs at the heartstrings more than any other is none other than Hooch from the 1989 film Turner and Hooch. 

Hooch is a lovable canine, who (although very slobbery) means well, is eager to find love, and even helps Detective Turner (Tom Hanks) solve a murder. The dog shares great chemistry with his human counterpart, and it is very easy to empathize with Hooch. It’s also hard not to shed a tear when (spoilers) Hooch sacrifices himself to save Detective Turner and dies in the process. However, it is relieving when Hooch “lives on” in the form of his offspring, who share the same looks and qualities as his father. 

Overall, Hooch is a dog worthy of attention, and he is iconic in his own right. What’s not to love about Hooch? Sure, he tears up Detective Turner’s house during the movie, but that’s everyone’s dog. Just look at his face as well, he’s just adorable.  - Logan Sharp

Lyle, Lyle Crocodile - “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile”

Likely the most recent addition to this list, but Lyle Lyle is an inescapable part of the current pop-culture vernacular.

The 2022 movie based on the hit series of books tapped singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes to voice the titular character for its film.

While Mendes is a talented vocalist and one of the bigger names in music right now, there is something so terribly perfect about him voicing the CGI crocodile.

It’s ridiculous to watch a crocodile singing, but something about it being voiced by Mendes’s crisp tenor vocals makes it go from odd to high-concept comedy. A concept the movie probably didn’t intend on being its driving factor.

To be fair, baby Lyle is insanely adorable, the movie is cute and received a 71% on rotten tomatoes and all the jokes that have come from this casting and movie are truly wonderful.

Lyle is truly a cultural icon. -Sophia D’Ovidio

Theodore - “Alvin and the Chipmunks”

Theodore, voiced by Jesse McCartney, is the youngest and most lovable chipmunk brother alongside Alvin and Simon in the “Alvin and the Chipmunks” films.

Theodore is objectively the best chipmunk of the three, as he’s kind, caring and all-around adorable. He’s often subject to his brothers’ schemes and can sometimes be naive, but how could one not love him?

A notable Theodore moment in “Alvin and the Chipmunks” is when he goes into Dave’s room because of a nightmare, asking to sleep with him in his bed. Dave reluctantly says yes and tells Theodore that he has to stay on his side, but Theodore almost immediately moves to cuddle up on Dave’s shoulder.

The following scene is the three chipmunks waking Dave because it’s Christmas morning. As the three of them run out of Dave’s room, Theodore accidentally says, “Hurry up, Dad!”, to which Dave questions, but Theodore corrects himself. The poor baby just needs a father figure.

All Theodore wants is a loving family, and this family-oriented trait of his is what provides heartfelt moments to an otherwise funny movie. Theodore’s cuteness and innocence make him the best chipmunk of the three. - Sarah Gavlak

Blu - “Rio”

Blu from “Rio” is undoubtedly one of the silliest, most iconic cinematic animals.

Blu is a rare Spix Macaw that never learned how to fly after being smuggled away from his home in Rio De Janeiro as a young bird. He is raised by a young woman, Linda, who sees Blu as her closest friend and makes sure he is spoiled and takes excellent care of him.

Blu’s comfortable life in Moose Lake, MN is disrupted when a man named Tulio comes to the bookstore owned by Linda and informs her that Blu is believed to be the last male Spix Macaw. He advises that they travel to Rio De Janeiro so Blu can mate with a female Spix Macaw named Jewel and repopulate their species.

To audience members, Blu is incredibly lovable due to his awkward nature and naivety to the world outside his hometown. To other animals, however, Blu is an annoyance and comes off as sheltered and immature. Jewel finds Blu especially annoying and has no desire to mate with him.

Throughout the film, Blu must learn how to socialize with other animals after being forced to live in the wild for several days without any humans to care for him. Blu must also learn to fly and easily learns to love with Jewel’s help.

Blu’s evolution from an awkward and anxious housepet to a somewhat self-assured wild bird makes the movie fun to watch. Without Blu’s character development throughout “Rio,” the movie would only be as good as its soundtrack, which is admittedly excellent, but that’s an article for a different day. -Rachel Newnam

Remy - Ratatouille

Remy from Ratatouille is not only the best animal in all of film but perhaps the most talented as well.

Voiced by comedian Patton Oswalt, Remy is a rat who becomes separated from his family and finds himself at Gusteau’s, a restaurant in Paris. While there, his strong abilities and senses lead him to secretly fix food and eventually work under the tote of Linguini (the garbage worker who turns out to be the illegitimate son of the late Chef Gusteau.)

The relationship between Linguini and Remy is heartwarming. While they have their issues at times, Linguini appreciates him and rises to fame as Remy controls him by the hair.

Eventually, Remy even wins over the frightening food critic Anton Ego, proving Gusteau’s famous quote “anyone can cook.”

This rat has cooking skills that would make Gordon Ramsay jealous. - Nick LaRosa

 

McKenna Wall is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email mew6140@psu.edu.

Logan M. Sharp is a third-year student majoring in Film Production. To contact him, email lxs5590@psu.edu 

Sophia D’Ovidio is a second-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email sgd5185@psu.edu.

Sarah Gavlak is a first-year majoring in telecommunications. To contact her, please email sng5393@psu.edu.

Rachel Newnam is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email ren5102@psu.edu

Nick LaRosa is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email njl5547@psu.edu

About the Contributors

Sophia D'Ovidio's photo

Sophia D'Ovidio

First-Year /

Sophia D’Ovidio is a first-year from Allentown, New Jersey. She is now a communications (undecided) major at Penn State University. Sophia intends on pursuing a career in journalism. Sophia writes for the CommRadio Arts department.

Rachel Newnam's photo

Rachel Newnam

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McKenna Wall's photo

McKenna Wall

First-Year /

McKenna Wall is a first-year student from Allentown, Pennsylvania majoring broadcast journalism. Wall is a multimedia reporter for CommRadio. She got her start as a camera operator in high school, learning how to use professional handheld camcorders, ENG cameras, and a jib camera. Wall is currently involved in After the Whistle, gaining experience both on-camera and behind-the-scenes filming, editing and completing work on a deadline. If you would like to contact her, please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Nick LaRosa's photo

Nick LaRosa

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Logan M. Sharp's photo

Logan M. Sharp

Third year /

Logan M. Sharp is a third year student from Belleville, PA studying Film Production at Penn State University. He is currently part of CommRadio and Student Film Organization. To contact him, please email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Sarah Gavlak's photo

Sarah Gavlak

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Sarah Gavlak is a first-year student from Johnstown, Pennsylvania majoring in telecommunications at Penn State. She is involved with the arts and entertainment department. To contact her, please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).