It appears as though 2016 is the designated year of animals. Not only are we getting bombarded by animal-centered movies left and right, but they're also sneaking their way into unexpected films. Think about that epic bear scene in the Revenant or the nature of Killer Croc in DC's upcoming Suicide Squad.
You could spend hours searching for the infinite films of 2016 that revolve around our furry — or not so furry — friends. No need, we're here to take on the task and present you with a selection of our 13 favorite must-watch animal movies of the year. And unlike Trix cereal, adults can enjoy them too.
The recent release of this Universal Pictures gem has unleashed a recent craze. Everyone on this planet has wondered what exactly it is pets do once the owner steps out of the house. More importantly, we've all wished we could live out the premise of The Wild Thornberrys to know what it is animals think about. Well this brings you the answer, even if it is imagined by a human. To top it all off, it is voiced by a brilliant set of comedians, including Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, and Kevin Hart.
2. Finding Dory
How could you forget about the precious little Dory from Finding Nemo? Unless, you're Dory, that is... She is without a doubt the best character in the original, which only solidifies the merit of her own spin-off. This Disney/Pixar collaboration was the highest-grossing movie of 2016 thus far, so an incredible success and an absolute must-see. Plus, you get to see a baby version of Dory — sold. No, her baby wasn't sold, you should be sold on the movie. Wait, what movie? Oh right, Finding Dory! Wait who's Dory? I'm Dory? No, the fish is Dory. Then, who's Nemo? This is all so confusing...
This movie is a hilarious parody of human life, or at least that's my interpretation. It features a world in which all animals live together in peace — for the most part — showing a utopia, or more accurately a "zootopia" of absolute equality. If a mouse, an elephant, a rabbit, a fox and a lion can live in peace, why can't humans? "We may be evolved, but deep down we are still animals." Deep, I know. If you're not into the true meaning of existence, peace and human-centric philosophy, then just watch it for the jokes.
If you weren't Mowgli who grew up in a jungle and did in fact live a somewhat decent childhood, then you know what the premise of The Jungle Book is. Also, you won't need much convincing outside the knowledge that it is a live-action adaptation of your beloved Disney film inspired by the stories of Rudyard Kipling. Also, it was one of the most successful movies of 2016 and has an incredible cast. Not seeing this would basically be a crime against your own childhood, and that's kind of messed up.
Since Tarzan and Mowgli basically belong in the same childhood box in our brain, it makes sense to group them together. Once again, one of our cherished animated jungle men found his way into a live-action production. In this case, the more, the merrier — particularly when the main stars are Alexander Skarsgård as Tarzan and Margot Robbie as Jane. Enough said? Yeah, I thought so.
Nostalgia is just killing it in the animal kingdom of 2016. You'd already be watching this IMAX 3D movie if you were a fan of the franchise to begin with. Just the story of your typical NYC teenagers, you know the kind that are mutant ninja turtles who fight crime while maintaining their secret identities. Not impressed? Arrow's Stephen Amell is in this one [pause as you immediately buy a movie theater ticket].
First we have ninja turtles, then pandas who know kung fu. Don't mess with these animals... It doesn't matter that this movie was the third addition to the franchise, because it still skyrocketed at the box office. Po, the panda, takes on the next step from becoming warrior to teacher, a skill that will come in handy when his new home is at stake. Sounds dramatic, but it's really just hilarious.
Here's another franchise that just keeps on thriving. This time the Ice Age gang tries to survive a meteor shower, all while tackling the mystery behind Earth's creation. Turns out the Big Bang and the Bible were both wrong, it all came down to Scrat's acorn. Looking back now, it all kind of makes sense. Don't try to argue this one, the squirrel is always right.
Us selfish humans always think about our hopes and our dreams. WHAT ABOUT THE ANIMALS?!! They have feelings too, and apparently some pretty hard-core vocals. We'd thought our lesson ended with "Hakuna Matata," but boy were we wrong. These very talented animals participate in a singing competition and it's serious stuff. How could it not be with Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson and Tori Kelly?
This movie is all about an unloved bird with bushy eyebrows that make Frida Kahlo's look tame. All of the other angry birds, used to laugh and call him names, they never let poor Red bird, join in any cool bird games... Except unlike Red (Jason Sudeikis), Rudolph could at the very least fly. The angry bird always got picked on or ignored until he found a couple of other outcasts to join him on a journey to discover the truth about pigs. Aren't we all...
11. Norm of the North
Norm is just your standard talking polar bear who moves to the city to save his home. Once he sees that humans have invaded the Arctic, he embarks on a mission to convince people to leave. Once he finds out their real intentions, he will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even if it means pretending to be a bear rug. Rough times.
12. Sly Cooper
The way this film is made stays true to its origins as a video game series (think the style of Kick-Ass as an entirely animated version). A funny but sly orphaned raccoon thief with a passion for donuts learns of his family history. This leads him through a series of events with his partners-in-crime, Bentley The Turtle and Murray The Hippo. Everyone loves a good story about a conniving criminal-turned-hero, so let's not discriminate against raccoons. Didn't you learn anything from Zootopia?
When a little boy asks for a baby brother, he sends a letter to the storks — as one does. The only problem is that storks no longer deliver babies, but shhh, no one can know! As the storks try to maintain their cover, one accidentally creates an unauthorized baby, and they go through great lengths to see that no one discovers their secret. Expect to recognize the voices of Andy Samberg, Kelsey Grammer, and Jennifer Aniston among others.
Which was your favorite animal movie in 2016?