Talking-dog paean Beverly Hills Chihuahua came out looking precisely like the worst movie ever crafted by the hand of man. I tried to ignore it. I tried hard. But now, two weeks later, the thing is still holding strong as the number-one movie in America. Fifty-two. And a half. Million. Dollars. America has spoken: America loves animals that can speak English.
Wondering what's so fucking great about talking dogs, I decided to take a poorly researched and wildly biased look back at their cinematic history.
The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1989)
In 1989, with The Adventures of Milo and Otis, Dudley Moore revealed himself as the world's foremost animal translator—interpreting and voicing the film's menagerie of household beasts. Unfortunately, Dudley Moore is dead now. This is basically the adorable movie version of shake-the-jar-and-make-'em-fight, only "'em" in this case refers to puppies and kittens instead of a spider and 100 ants. It was filmed in Japan, which I guess explains why there are, like, crazy lobsters just walking around everywhere. The lobsters fight with the kitten. Sometimes bears present a menace. This is the most important, and cutest, talking- animals-in-peril movie of all time until 1993.
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)
Hello, 1993! Along comes Homeward Bound, wherein two dogs and a cat travel through the wilderness, communicating with the audience and each other via magic telepathy. Fleeing from a hilarious turkey, the pets (voiced by Michael J. Fox, Don Ameche [dead!], and Sally Field) eventually "wake up and smell the kibble."
Look Who's Talking Now (1993)
Who's talking now? Dogs, that's who! Also, John Travolta—still, unfortunately, talking.
101 Dalmatians (1996)
Okay, you know what is gross? The idea of one dog giving birth to 99 BABIES. Imagine it. They just keep coming out and coming out... all slimy and everything? What kind of alien gunk got up in Pongo's dog sperm? Anyway, I didn't actually watch this, so I don't know if these dogs talk or not. But if they do, I bet it's gross.
Cats & Dogs (2001)
Cats & Dogs marks the first film ever (not at all verified) in which computers are used to animate a dog's face—moving beyond the more traditional methods of telepathy and Mr. Ed–style peanut-butter mouth. This movie—about a great race war between cats and dogs, in which a beagle takes on "the ultimate mission im-paws-ible"—is fucked.
Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008)
Are you even listening to me? Go home.