The Five – Favorite Live Action Talking Animal Movies

For those not interested in seeing Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day attempt to kill their Horrible Bosses this weekend, the Kevin James comedy Zookeeper swings into theaters to offer some alternative cinematic fulfillment. Sony’s even offering a convenience “Fee Free” promo if you buy tickets to the movie.

The Adam Sandler-produced flick features a cast of talking animals, voiced by an eclectic group of actors ranging from Sylvester Stallone’s Lion to Judd Apatow’s Elephant. Movies featuring talking animals are nothing new, especially recently with the progress being made in CGI. While audiences will be the ultimate judge whether Zookeeper is any good (since critics hating an Adam Sandler movie is nothing new), we take a look at The Five live-action movies featuring talking animals that are actually worth watching.
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey
Chances are if you grew up in the ‘90s, you watched this movie at some point during your youth. The story of Shadow, Sassy and Chance, voiced by Don Ameche, Sally Field and Michael J. Fox, as they set off on an adventurous trek across America in a quest to be reunited with their owners was a critically loved remake of the 1963 Disney flick The Incredible Journey. The movie launched a sequel three years later which didn’t quite measure up to the original.

The Oscar-winning movie debuted two years after Homeward Bound and earned seven Oscar nominations, including a Best Picture nod (it lost to Braveheart). Still, the story of a pig raised by sheepdogs was a breakthrough in the subgenre as for the first time it appeared as though the animal was actually talking (yes, there was of course, the famous Mister Ed). A sequel hit theaters a couple years later and earned Randy Newman an Oscar nomination.

The Adventures of Milo and Otis
Originally a live action Japanese film about an orange tabby cat named Milo and a pug named Otis, this family flick was first released in Japan in the summer of 1986. It would go on to win the 1987 Japanese Academy Award for Most Popular Film with a nomination for best music score to boot. The film was re-worked and an English language version was released in the summer of 1989 amid unverified animal cruelty allegations.

A Boy and His Dog
Who says animal movies have to all be G-rated family affairs? In the mid-‘70s, one of the most bizarre, original and entertaining sci-fi movies ever made hit screens, featuring a young Don Johnson as Vic and his popcorn-loving dog Blood, voiced by Tim McIntire. To even attempt to surmise this post-apocalyptic tale based on Harlan Ellison’s novella would not do justice to actually watching it, especially the LOL-worthy ending.

Charlotte’s Web
Based on E.B. White’s classic children’s novel, Charlotte’s Web has actually been adapted to film twice, first in 1973 and then once again in 2006. There’s also a direct-to-video sequel to the 1973 flick that took 30 years to complete, titled Charlotte’s Web 2: Wilbur’s Great Adventure. But getting back on track, since the 1973 version was an animated film, we’ll go with the live action 2006 version that starred an all-star cast led by Dakota Fanning (who was already starring in almost everything back then) as Fern, the girl who persuades her father to spare Wilbur’s life. The movie managed to receive solid reviews from critics who said the film radiated, "goodness," and captured the heart of the classic tale.

Agree with the list above? What are some of your favorite non-animated talking animal movies?
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