The Best Anthropomorphic Creatures in Movie History

    June 28, 2011 at 6:00 am

    Since the beginning of time, Man has wondered “wouldn’t it be great if I could imbue animals and other inanimate objects with the powers of speech and rational thought?”  Thanks to the invention of film, we can do just that. Anthropomorphic characters have played a major role in the history of cinema, so I’m not counting characters from Disney movies or other animated features (CGI characters in live-action movies still count). Keeping that criteria in mind, here are the best anthropomorphic creatures in film history:

    Amy the Gorilla

    from Congo (1995)

    amy the gorilla congo
    After the success of Jurassic Park, movie studios began cranking out Michael Crichton adaptations like crazy. That is how Congo came to be. In the decade and a half since Congo hit theaters, it is chiefly remembered for two things: Tim Curry’s masterfully awkward performance, and the lovable ape Amy. Amy is a smart gorilla that knows sign language and wears a mobile computer in a No Fear backpack that vocalizes her hand gestures. She has a heart of gold and a penchant for finger painting. She loves rock n’ roll and occasionally trips out on Prozac. If she were human, Amy would be the perfect girlfriend for for a fat lonely dude majoring in art history. She is also a complete bad ass. At the end of Congo, Amy scares a pack of murderous mutant gorillas away simply by calling them “ugly” and telling them to “go away”. This chick is ten miles of bad road for evil mutant gorillas everywhere.


    from Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

    treebeard lord of the ringsSpeaking in technical Tolkien terms, Treebeard is an ancient Ent, whose spirit was conjured by Eru IIuvatar and Vala Yavana in order to foster protection against the evil Morgoth. To the casual observer, he’s a giant scary tree that can walk and talk. Treebeard is a big tree with a beard (hence the name), and he’s absolutely terrifying. He’s so terrifying, in fact, that he freaks out all of the other terrifying creatures in Middle-earth. Even after saving two Hobbits from certain doom in The Two Towers, he still makes a concerted effort to be horrifying and curmudgeonly. Orcs, Hobbits, Elves, and probably even the Balrog seem to find sentient foliage unsettling. So, to review: Treebeard is a big weird creature that makes other big weird creatures say “holy crap, did you see that giant talking tree? That was weird!”

    The Man in the Moon

    from Le Voyage Dans La Lune (1902)

    man in the moonOne of the earliest examples of an anthropomorphic creature in film came in 1902 with the French silent movie Le Voyage Dans La Lune (A Trip to the Moon, for those of you who don’t spreken ze French). The film is about some Frenchmen who go to the moon. The brave adventurers construct a space capsule and launch it from a giant cannon into space. Meanwhile, a very distraught moon watches all of this with its big grumpy moon face. The reckless Frenchmen then pilot the space capsule directly into the Moon’s right eye. The film kind of falls apart after this. The explorers take a nap, fight some hostile moon men using only their umbrellas, and then have a parade back on Earth. Clearly, none of this bodes well for the future of Franco-Lunar relations.


    from The Chronicles of Narnia (2005)

    alan chronicles of narniaAslan is a boss, and there’s no denying it. Jesus allegory or not, a big demigod lion that doles out both parental advice and life-ending maulings is something everyone can enjoy. To make things even better, Aslan is voiced by Liam Neeson (of Taken fame). Aslan is selfless and regal, and he even gets resurrected three days after being executed (again with the Jesus allegory). The only thing that would have made this adaptation better would be if all three of the Pevensie kids were kidnapped in Paris by the White Witch, forcing Aslan to engage in an orgy of blood-soaked vengeance while breaking up a child prostitution ring, then giving all of the children singing lessons with a tween pop star. That seems like something C.S. Lewis would’ve wanted.


    from The Cat From Outer Space (1978)

    jake the cat from outer spaceThe Cat from Outer Space is the type of film that was made in 1978 but looks like it’s from 1963. It combines the acting prowess of Roddy McDowell and BOTH colonels from M*A*S*H* (Harry Morgan and McLean Stevenson). It also has an alien named Jake. Jake looks like a cat, but I assure you he’s from outer space. In fact, he has a flying saucer. He also communicates telepathically and can move things with his mind via a super high-tech collar that amplifies his brainwaves. The only plot hole in this gem of a film is the fact that Jake and his alien race could never have built the aforementioned collar, seeing as how they resemble Earth cats in every way, and therefore have no thumbs to build tools. Despite this oversight, Jake is an ideal anthropomorphic creature; he is played by an actual animal, he speaks directly to humans, and he is able to impart useful wisdom to his bumbling Earth friends…he probably still has to poop in a box, though.

    Babe the Pig

    from Babe (1995)

    babe the pigEvery time you watch Babe, you find yourself screaming “OMG! I LOVE BAAAABE!”. That’s because everybody loves Babe. If you don’t love Babe, then it’s because you haven’t seen Babe. If that’s the case, go watch Babe right now. Babe, of course, is an adorable talking pig who herds sheep. A sheep pig, if you will. Babe avoids being slaughtered by using his combined child-like wonder and spunk, and he befriends all the other talking animals on his farm (including some singing mice) who aren’t on this list because Babe is way cuter than all of them. Babe also goes on to help Farmer Hoggett win a sheep herding competition, which is apparently a real thing that you can win. To top it all off, Babe has a very human-like tuft of hair at the top of his little piggy head. When it comes to anthropomorphic creatures, it doesn’t get any cuter than Babe the Pig.

    Matthew McConaughey

    from Everything Matthew McConaughey has been in (1993 – Present)

    matthew mcconaughey crazy Somehow, filmmakers are able to turn this bizarre and unruly creature into a money machine. I’m not sure if they use computer graphics or puppetry, or just rigorous training, but somehow Matthew McConaughey is able to speak, move, and even be charming in dozens of films, just like a normal human being would. I’m not sure if he has a trainer, or if production crews are able to coax him into acting by using treats just off camera. After hours of research, I’m at a loss. However, I can confirm that Matthew McConaughey lives in a cave hollowed out of a mountain made of the money he’s accumulated from the movie industry, and I assume this is where he goes to crack open the bones of his felled prey for their marrow, and paint animals on the walls to commune with the spirit realm. Anyway, good for him.


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