Hollywood has done a lot of things to get children and their parents into the theaters, but nothing is quite as genius as the talking animal picture. Whether it's live-action or animated, a simple cartoon or an elaborate CGI opus, you are promised some serious crying and cheering every single time the main characters in a film happen to be animals. And from those classics, like "Bambi," to the more contemporary fare, even parents have to admit that among the numerous talking animal movies out there that are only fun for children, there are a few that are really heartwarming and fun for the whole family.
While the world of HDTV might have some of the more old-fashioned talking animal films falling on deaf ears, the truth is that those classics are often far more exciting than the newer ones. And in a world where it's a lot easier to make an animal talk onscreen, there's something to be said for the simple charms of the talking animal films from years past. Here are five of the best classic talking animal films, which are still perfect to watch with the whole family.
Homeward Bound: the Incredible Journey – If you happen to have any of the Disney channels, you're going to see this on satellite tv at least once a month. The completely heartwarming story of a family that goes on vacation, and the animals who get lost but find their way back. Featuring some seriously famous voices, including Michael J. Fox as the young whippersnapper of a pup. Has aged surprisingly well, considering that the special effects are particularly low-fi.
Dr. Dolittle – Whether you're watching the original or the remake on television, this is one of the better choices for a world of talking animals. Adults may prefer the version that is a bit older, but the truth is, Eddie Murphy does a pretty great job as Dr. Dolittle, too, even if the animated animals are a bit more 2000s. Song-and-dance numbers with talking animals are always a hit with children, too, making this one of the most laugh-inducing films where animals happen to have speaking roles.
Finding Nemo – An inspiring and tender story of family that happens to take place under the sea, "Finding Nemo" managed to make itself a favorite of parents and children alike. With the exciting advances in animation, this is one of those cartoons that has the advantage of looking just as great on an HDTV set as it does on a small television screen.
Cats & Dogs – Because not all talking animal movies have to be based on something more inspirational that tugs at the heartstrings. Here, you have an international battle of espionage, designed for younger viewers to enjoy. A lot of the camera angles might look like your typical action film, but the players here are CGI dogs and CGI cats. And in their world, there is a fierce battle going on.
Babe – If you're only going to watch one movie with talking animals on satellite tv, then you should probably make it this one. It's pretty surprising that this film does not lead to more young vegetarians, because that is one adorable singing pig. Acclaimed actors playing the human roles and a vivid and exciting set makes this one a favorite with parents and children alike.