By Stephen Aspeling18 May 2023
7 creature features for the whole family
Whether you consider yourself a cat or dog person, these fuzzy, whiskered creatures have a way of nuzzling into our hearts and imagination. The same can be said for on-screen creatures in animated adventures, where they come to adopt the same magical qualities we sometimes extend to our cute, crazy and funny pets.
We may sometimes put words into our pet’s mouths but it’s so much easier when screenwriters do it for us, concocting wild flights of fancy where we actually start to see the characters as living, breathing and, dare we say, real. Here are seven lovable animated adventures to add to your or your kid’s watch list right away.
Minions: The Rise of Gru
They’re yellow, look like supersized TicTacs and boy do they love their denim dungarees. It can only be the Minions, who burst onto screens and into our hearts with Despicable Me. Kevin, Stuart and Bob are a trio of villainous underlings that stole so many scenes with their zany antics that they warranted their own spin-off, Minions.
Serving as a prequel, Minions: The Rise of Gru rewinds things to the 70s in this colourful, groovy and hysterical animated adventure comedy. Discovering a mini Gru, this adventure unites the 12-year-old boy with an army of minions as his dream to become the world’s greatest supervillain, just like The Vicious 6, begins to materialise. Featuring the voice talents of Steve Carell, Alan Arkin, Michelle Yeoh and Pierre Coffin, it’s one funky and wacky blast from the past.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Sonic the Hedgehog is SEGA’s mascot, a furry and speedy blue hedgehog who would’ve ruled the 90s video game scene if it weren’t for Nintendo plumbers Mario and Luigi. After a successful first outing, being discovered by a small-town cop and taking on the evil Dr Robotnik, Sonic’s back for Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
This action-packed and colourful animated adventure comedy finds the wise-cracking Sonic take on a new ally in Tails as the pair thwart the plans of Dr Robotnik and a new enemy in Knuckles the Echidna. Starring the ball of energy that is Jim Carrey and the ever-charming James Marsden with Sonic voiced by Ben Schwartz, this explosive actioner and zippy comedy is a fun-filled showdown that never takes itself too seriously.
Clifford the Big Red Dog
Most folks are no match for the cuteness factor of puppies. Cuddly Clifford is an orphaned pup and unusually red, so it’d be almost impossible to avoid the “can we keep him?” question if he arrived on your doorstep, or was offered to you by an unusual “pet store boy” in a bowtie named Bridwell. Although after meeting Clifford the Big Red Dog, you may be perfectly happy with your fun-size dog … even if it has a thing for your favourite slippers.
Based on the book series of the same name, this sweet-natured, magical and often silly family animated adventure comedy centres on Emily, a young girl whose wish sees the red pup grow to an enormous size with comical consequences. Starring Darby Jack, Jack Whitehall and Izaac Wang, and also be sure to look out for lifelong funny guys: Russell Peters, Tony Hale and John Cleese.
Abominable is a magical tale about three teenagers who are compelled to help a shaggy Yeti find his way home as a wealthy man and zoologist begin to clamp down on the creature’s freedom. A sweet-natured, entertaining and funny film that’s pure of spirit, this grand escape’s for the whole family.
Set in Beijing against the backdrop of Mount Everest, this breathtakingly beautiful, colourful and delightful animated adventure comedy is cute, exciting and filled with lovable characters. Abominable features the voice talents of Chloe Bennet, Albert Tsai and Tenzing Norgay Trainor, the grandson of the actual Tenzing Norgay, who helped Sir Edmund Hillary reach the summit of Mount Everest.
Beatrix Potter crafted a book series about a beloved bunny named Peter Rabbit. Instead of leaning into the quaint countryside charm of the original, this animated adventure comedy from Will Gluck is about “a young rabbit with a blue coat and no pants”. The sweet tale focuses on the spirited rascal of a rabbit who makes sneaking into a farmer’s vegetable garden his business.
Part animation, part live-action, this modernised version is full of pluck and features Domnhall Gleeson and Rose Byrne as well as a stellar voice cast, including: Sia, Margot Robbie, Sam Neill and Elizabeth Debicki. While it may not be a faithful adaptation, it has enough hijinks and comedy gags to keep kids entertained, with the sequel, Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, stepping things up with a big city adventure.
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
Spirit is a stirring animated adventure drama and western about a wild stallion who longs to return to his herd after he’s captured by humans. Using classic hand-drawn animation, this film has a windswept feel without dipping into the realm of anthropomorphia: the horses don’t talk or sing.
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron has an epic and soaring opening as an eagle glides through Monument Valley to portray a picture of North America’s nature, limitless beauty and freedom. This is a full-blown western from the perspective of a stallion, featuring cavalry, Native Americans, railroad-building and great wide open plains and prairies. Narrated by Matt Damon, this film captures some of the wild charm and legend of The Lion King with heartfelt music from Bryan Adams.
When we think of alien invasions, it usually means ray guns and massive soon-to-be-identified flying objects. For the Boov, one of the cutest, nicest and most kaleidoscopic alien species, it’s more of a mild inconvenience as humankind are popped over to their new forever homes. When lovable misfit Oh becomes a fugitive from his Boov kind, he befriends and joins Gratuity and her cat called Pig on their quest to discover the true meaning of the word “home”.
This wacky, imaginative and comical animated adventure sci-fi comedy is upbeat fun with its delightfully misguided interpretation of planet Earth. Home features the bouncy voice talents of Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, and Steve Martin as Captain Smek. Best known for playing Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory, Parsons echoes his famed role opposite pop superstar Rihanna as a comically meddlesome know-it-all and buddy.
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