The Best Pet Movies To Suit Any Mood
Whether you want to feel warm 'n' fuzzy or frightened, these films are perfect for celebrating our animal pals
In celebration of Viva's Pets Issue, we've rounded up the best pet movies — from time-favoured classics to off-beat cult comedies.
What happens when your kitten gets catnapped by drug dealers? That’s the premise of Keanu, the first feature film from sketch comedy icons Jordan Peele (who later wrote and directed Oscar-winning Get Out) and Keegan-Michael Key. The combination of sharp humour, slow-mo action montages and a seriously cute kitten is a winning recipe for this cat comedy.
I Am Legend
What better backdrop to showcase the unbreakable bond between a man and his dog than a zombie apocalypse? Will Smith plays a scientist/last man on earth, where his only non-flesh eating companion is his German Shepherd, Sam. The pair spend their days combing the empty city, searching for a cure to the disease that has wiped out everyone. Or so it seems...
Marley & Me
This film is The Notebook of pet flicks — guaranteed to make you fall in love then cry your eyes out when the credits roll. Based on a memoir by journalist John Grogan about ‘life and love with the world’s worst dog’, the film adaptation follows this formula with heart-warming performances from Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston. Pass the popcorn (and the tissues).
Best In Show
This glorious cult comedy follows a gaggle of quirky characters during their journey to compete at the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show. Shot mockumentary-style, the improv-based interactions are ridiculously hilarious. Prepare to laugh and cringe as characters deal with the pressure of performing at the biggest show of the year.
Isle of Dogs
If you love Wes Anderson's take on Fantastic Mr Fox, you'll adore Isle of Dogs. The stop-motion animation is simply charming, with regular Wes Anderson players such as Edward Norton, Bill Murray and Jeff Goldblum lending their familiar voices to the film.
Dog’s origin story gets a decent crack in Alpha, an adventure epic set in the Ice Age. After a near-death hunting accident, Keda (Kodi Smit-McPhee) finds himself injured and alone, alongside a wolf facing the same predicament. Expect wild landscapes, sparse dialogue and a creative look at how man’s best friend came to be.
Meat eaters beware; this movie may just make you a vegetarian. The film follows Mija, a young girl in South Korea raising Okja (a fictional breed of super pig) as a beloved family pet. Little does she know that poor Okja is destined for the chopping block, as the questionable corporation that engineered the unique creature recall their ‘product’ to their headquarters in New York. You’ll never look at bacon the same way again.
Get ready for ‘Violence of the Lambs’. This 2006 New Zealand-made film combines the perfect amount of black comedy and cloven-hoofed horror to create a Kiwi classic. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, with animatronic sheep from Weta Workshop and acting talent like Tammy Davis and Oliver Driver taking things totally over the top.
Although it may be a reach to call this a pet movie, a cat called Church is the catalyst for the events that unfold in Netflix’s latest adaptation of the 1983 novel by Stephen King. The supernatural horror sees everything go wrong for the Creed family, in typical King fashion, after their daughter’s cat is killed and buried in the Pet Sematary behind their home.
Elle Woods’ Chihuahua Bruiser Woods is arguably the most stylish four-legged movie star around. A vegetarian Gemini, just like his Harvard-educated owner, Bruiser is Elle’s faithful companion throughout both the film and its sequel. In Legally Blonde 2, Elle makes it her mission to free Bruiser’s science lab-bound mum from a cruel animal testing company (to attend her upcoming nuptials, naturally).
When nothing but a hearty dose of nostalgia will do, tune into one of Disney’s many excellent animated masterpieces. Whether you’re in the mood to slurp spaghetti and meatballs with Lady and the Tramp, take on Cruella in 101 Dalmatians, scat along to Aristocrats, go on an adventure with Balto, shed a tear during Fox & the Hound or roll around with the gang in Oliver & Company — there’s a film for your inner child.