April 11 is a red letter day for all pet owners. Whether you’re a dog person or a cat lady or you prefer raising white mice, National Pet Day is the perfect day to shower your pets with love and gratitude for all the happiness they’ve given you over the years. And the entertainment industry is the perfect place to look to celebrate pets. Perhaps you can make the day even more special by watching a movie that features your favorite animal or bird that the main characters. Here are our picks.
1. “Two Brothers” (2004)
This is a brave and heart-rending film about two tiger cubs, Kumar and Sangha, who are separated as cubs but finally reunite after a series of misadventures. Set in 1920s Cambodia during the period of French colonization, the period aesthetics are top notch and the film balances humour and heartache brilliantly.
2. “Garfield: A Tail of Two Kittens” (2006)
Following the success of its prequel, “Garfield: The Movie” (2004), this is a hilarious pet movie and features two Garfields. One Garfield is the titular cat from the comic strip most of us have grown up with who lives in the suburbs with frenemy dog Odie and his owner Jon, and the other Garfield is the heir to Carlyle Castle and lives in luxury. Due to a mishap, the two cats are switched and what follows is sheer insanity. This is sure to be a hit with kids.
3. “Marley And Me” (2008)
A beautiful romantic comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson, “Marley and Me” covers 14 years of a dog’s life. In fact 22 different Labradors were used to play the part of Marley. Marley teaches the couple, and later their children, several important lessons and makes their lives fun, meaningful and exciting. This is the perfect pet-centric movie to watch with your family and pet dog(s).
4. “Dunston Checks In” (1996)
An entertaining family flick, the movie follows adventures of an orangutan Dunston who befriends the sons of the hotel manager of a five star hotel and causes all manner of trouble and mischief. And here’s the secret about the adorable Dunston: he’s a very accomplished jewel thief.
5. “Babe” (1995)
Based on Dick King-Smith’s novel “The Sheep Pig,” this movie explores complex identity issues by following the story of a pig who wants to be a sheep dog. There is something intensely relatable about this film, and it has garnered critical acclaim, having been nominated for 7 Oscars, including Best Picture.
6. “War Horse” (2011)
If “Black Beauty” and “Moby Dick” were your favorite childhood classics, this Steven Spielberg movie won’t disappoint you. Starring big names such as Jeremy Irwine, David Thewlis, Emily Watson, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston, the movie is set in the backdrop of the First World War and looks at the bond between young Albert and Joey, his thoroughbred bay horse.
7. “Jungle Book” (2016)
For many of us, Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” contained a secret world of wild nature, a orphan boy raised by wolves, a ferocious tiger and a friendly bear. The recent Disney rendition of the same captures Kipling’s rich imagination vividly and brings your favorite childhood animals to the big screen.
8. “Zootopia” (2016)
The ultimate animation film for the animal lover, “Zootopia” is a richly realized anthropomorphic world and details the unlikely friendship that slowly develops between a rabbit police officer and a cunning red fox. Using animals as metaphors, the movie comments on several societal issues in an entertaining and thought provoking manner. The movie even won an Oscar for the Best Animated Feature Film.
So what are your favorite movies featuring animals? Did our list of movies miss out on your pet? Let us know in the comments! And if you’re ready to learn how to make your own professional animal films, study filmmaking at the New York Film Academy.