With director Ang Lee’s new film Life of Pi hitting theaters today, we thought we’d take a look at some other films where animals have been inspirational.

Life of Pi is based on a fantasy adventure novel by Yann Martel. Pi is an Indian boy from Pondicherry, who explores his issues of spirituality and practicality from an early age. He survives 227 days after a shipwreck while stranded on a boat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger. This is director Ang Lee’s first film since filming Taking Woodstock and it’s been said to have been a monumental undertaking.

Its visual effects are being hailed as revolutionary and its story beyond inspirational, as Pi and a Bengal tiger have to first learn to simply coexist and end up having to rely upon one another to survive. Because of this, we thought we’d take a look at some other films where animals have inspired us.

‘Free Willy’

Free Willy was released back in 1993, but it’s just as inspirational as it was nearly 20 years ago. The orca (killer whale) was caught in a whaling net and sold to an amusement park with a shady owner.

The films main character, Jesse, is a 12-year-old boy who has been on the streets since he was abandoned by his mother and is ordered to community service where he has to clean the park where Willy is kept. While there, Willy and Jesse become fast friends and together they go on a journey to build themselves back up and learn to trust others. Jesse finds friendship in the unlikeliest place and he begins to heal the wounds left by his destroyed childhood.

One of the most inspirational scenes was when Jesse motions for Willy to jump over the jetty and he jumps to the open ocean to his freedom. While losing his friend, Jesse has now learned to trust others and finally feels at home. Free Willy was also a smash hit in the early ’90s and went on to gross over $150 million at the box office.

‘Seabiscuit’

In 2003 Tobey McGuire starred in a biographical sports drama based on the non-fiction book Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand. The film was based on the story of a horse and a young man (McGuire) who have to learn to be winners again.

McGuire was the jockey that was much too large and Seabiscuit was the horse that didn’t know how small he was – they were a perfect fit. Taking place during the Great Depression, the film had quite a few somber moments. Jeff Bridges starred as a wealthy businessman who loses his family when his son dies in an awful car accident that alternates the course of his life. Bridges meets Red (McGuire) and the two get together to race Seabiscuit.

Red, blind in one eye due to illegal boxing matches he took part in to make enough money to live, was intelligent but very destructive, due to his family abandoning him when he was a young boy. Bridges later meets up with the then unknown Elizabeth Banks, who becomes his love interest. This great cast teamed up to make one hell of a film and instead of them training Seabiscuit to be a winner again, Biscuit ends up teaching them that anyone can succeed if they’re just given a second chance.

‘King Kong’

Peter Jackson had been dreaming of making a King Kong remake even before he started shooting the first Lord of The Rings film, and when word was out that he was doing a remake, fans were ecstatic. Starring Naomi Watts and one big gorilla, we watch the iconic 1933 story unfold as Watts falls for the unlikely beast.

Although this film was a massive 3 hours and 7 minutes long, most would agree it’s well worth it. Ann Darrow (Watts) takes her chances on a shady director (Jack Black) and a rickety ship because she refuses to take the wrong turn in life, despite the curve balls she’s been thrown. She goes on an adventure to see her dream of becoming a film actress and ends up falling for Kong as he protects her from the elements of Skull island.

King Kong is brought to New York and he longs for his blonde beauty, so he breaks away from his shackles and finds Ann. He could have easily made his way away from the city and possibly have lived, but he had to protect Darrow and it sadly results in his death. The lesson learned in this film is that love is always stronger than greed and we’re always too quick to try and make a buck off of one of the world’s biggest wonders.

‘Ratatouille’

Ratatouille (2007) is a movie about a rat. But not just any rat – a rat that loves to cook. The film follows Remy from his humble beginnings where he has a close call with an angry, curler-wearing, shotgun-wielding old lady, to his realization that he lives in France and has ended up near one of the greatest restaurants in all of Paris.

Remy can’t help what he is, and he’s determined not to let that stop him. Sure, he may be a rodent of the generally unclean and feral variety, but he’s not like the rest of his family and friends. He’s got a nose for good food and taste buds that demand the best. But what really sets him apart is his desire and a drive to achieve his goals, no matter how unrealistic they might be.

Remy teaches us that no goal is unachievable. Think you’ve got it tough? Try being a mouse attempting to convince a kitchen full of professional chefs that you want to feed a peasant dish to a famous food critic. That’s tough. Remy inspires us to find any means possible to do what we love, no matter how strange, how crazy, or how improbable it might seem to everyone else.

‘The Chronicles of Narnia’

Aslan is one of the most respected and awe-inspiring creatures in literary and cinematic history. He appears and disappears in the blink of an eye, only stepping forward when his intervention is absolutely necessary. He stays close to the Pevensies in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005) because he believes that each of them is important and that each of them will have a hand in finally defeating the White Witch.

Aslan teaches us to believe – in something, anything. Ourselves, each other, him, fate. It doesn’t matter what, as long as we trust in something. As long as we have something worth fighting for. Aslan knew that his life was no more important than anyone else’s.

He was willing to give himself up to save a boy who had betrayed the people of Narnia, simply because it was the right thing to do. Throughout the series, Aslan teaches each of the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve that they have both strengths and weaknesses, and tells them that whichever ones they decide to give into is what defines them.

‘Tarzan’

Tarzan (1999) sees its title character orphaned at an incredibly young age. A sympathetic gorilla take him in and raises her as his own. He befriends a few other animals, but he’s generally viewed as an outcast – especially in the eyes of the silverback that leads the gorilla troop.

Tarzan grows into a man, but doesn’t necessarily grow into his place within the group. He’s still a little strange, a little different, and a little bit of an outsider. This is only put into even more perspective when other humans show up in the jungle, searching for the gorillas, and Tarzan finally meets someone that looks like him. But never once throughout the entire movie does Tarzan’s mother see him as an outsider. He is her son, regardless of species.

She teaches us to be patient and understanding of someone’s differences, and to never judge a person by what’s on the outside. She looks past the physical dissimilarities and sees only Tarzan’s heart, which is no different than her own.

Do you plan on seeing ‘Life of Pi’ this weekend?

Let us know in the comments which other films you’ve enjoyed where animals have had inspirational roles.

Co-written with Karen Rought.

Sherlock finally made it to Hall H at Comic-Con and the creative team brought a few surprises. Steven Moffatt, Sue Vertue, Mark Gatiss, Amanda Abbington, and Benedict Cumberbatch were on hand to the thrill of fans.

Benedict Cumberbatch and crew definitely know how to work a crowd. Here are the top highlights of the panel that played to a crowd of thousands.

1. Season 4

They are currently two weeks from finishing Sherlock season 4. Cumberbatch said that “a lot comes home to roost this season… it’s ballsy.”

They have 26 pages to film this Tuesday. Cumberbatch states that the monologues are very challenging and take a lot of work.

As for actors’ favorite lines this season:

Gatiss: “Sherlock.”

Abington: Not a line but a beckoning gesture.

Cumberbatch: Can’t say.

Key names for next season (change from doing key words):

  • Moffat: Smith
  • Gatiss: Thatcher
  • Vertue: Sherinford

2. Keeping the show fresh

By not making as many episodes, the creators feel they actually keep the quality. They joked that under normal standards they’ve actually made about half a season of a standard TV show, or 13 episodes.

There are no plans for any other Victorian Era shows. Moffat feels that it would be less interesting if the mind palace returned there.

3. Learning curves and drugs

Gatiss stated that with 90-minute episodes you “really have to put [Sherlock and Watson] through the ringer.” Moffat added that because of this, Watson has to evolve. Watson can’t keep being amazed by Sherlock. As for Sherlock, “he can’t be the weird scary amoral man we met in the first episode… geniuses learn… he has to learn.”

Sherlock’s drug addiction comes back when he is not working. It’s hinted that the addiction will be a bigger issue this season than in the past.

4. The coat and the hair

There is apparently a big debate every year over changing the iconic coat. Sue Vertue wants to change it, and Steven Moffat wants to keep it. Benedict Cumberbatch dove into the debate stating, “I’m quite hung up on the coat…. but sometimes it has to come off.” The audience reaction was predictable.

Cumberbatch joked that he loved playing Sherlock in the Victorian era because of the slicked back hair. In the modern era it takes forever for his hair to get done. On a serious note, he loved the more straight-laced, clipped version of Sherlock.

5. First ‘Sherlock’ season 4 trailer

The teaser trailer featured this phrase over and over: “Something’s coming. It may be Moriarity, maybe not.” Literally every character we know and love looks like they are scared, angry, or worried on an epic scale.

One of the best moments is Mrs. Hudson saying with supreme venom to Mycroft, “Get out of my house you reptile.” Watch below:

6. Improv and family

There is actually, according to Cumberbatch, very little improvisation on set. It’s about how to do what’s there, and not messing with the script. He firmly believes that what is there is what is needed for the show.

Cumberbatch genuinely loves having his mom and dad play his TV mom and dad. Every now and then he can see his mother struggle to call him “Sherlock” and not “Ben.”

7. Mary in the know

Abbington didn’t know she was an assassin until well into the last season. When she found out, she told partner Martin Freeman, “My God, [the fans] are going to hate me.” Despite this, she loves the flawed characters of the series.

8. When will the series return?

No date was given for either the BBC release date or the PBS release date. We only know that it will premiere in 2017.

9. The dog photo

According to Cumberbatch the dog (depicted above) was a nightmare. “The dog wouldn’t fucking move,” he said. The companion was supposed to drag Sherlock all over London, but the dog didn’t like people, concrete, crowds… really anything about an urban setting.

Moffat and Gatiss resorted to writing a new scene on the spot to account for the lack of the dog’s interest in roaming. According to Gatiss all it did was drool on the concrete.

10. Future seasons?

Touching on the future of the series, Moffat stated, “Why is everybody assuming they survive season 4?” Gatiss joked, “We’re skipping season 5 and doing season 6.”

Moffat clarified that — contrary to recent reports — he never said that this season would be the last one (He’s right: All he said was the schedules of Cumberbatch and Freeman are only getting more difficult to work with). Gatiss added that they want to do more seasons, and they hope that they are able to.

Sherlock will be back in 2017. What do you think of the first season 4 trailer?

Marvel presented at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday evening and offered new looks at Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and more.

“We only want to come to Hall H when we have a lot to show you,” teased Marvel’s Kevin Feige at the start of the panel. Indeed, they had a ton to offer — including news of a new Marvel theme park attraction!

Everything we’ve learned at Marvel’s SDCC panel

  1. Marvel kicked off their panel with a new logo and updated fanfare by composer Michael Giacchino.

  2. Black Panther had some casting news to share: Lupita N’yongo will be playing one of the guards at Wakanda named Nakia. Meanwhile, Michael B. Jordan will be playing Erik Killmonger. We also received brand new casting news: Danai Gurira has joined the movie — She’ll play Okoye, head of Dora Milaje! Finally, a new logo for the film was revealed:

    black-panther-logo-sdcc-2016

  3. Thor: Ragnarok unveiled a behind-the-scenes look at the new film which included a look at Cate Blanchett as Hela. They also showed a documentary-style clip (think The Office) explaining where Hulk and Thor were during the events of Captain America: Civil War! In it, Thor had a tiny bed for Mjolnir and a crime board that tried to connect the Infinity Stones and discover their purpose. There is also mugshot of Loki. Like Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok had a new logo to show off with a retro looking subtitle:

    thor-ragnorak-new-logo-sdcc-2016

  4. Doctor Strange’s portion of the panel kicked off with a smoke and laser show to introduce Benedict Cumberbatch.

    Tilda Swinton was also at the panel and spoke about the Ancient One. “The truth is, anyone can be The Ancient One,” she said. A clip from Doctor Strange was also showed in which Steven Strange meets Tilda’s character (It won’t be online).

  5. Thankfully, a brand new and wholly epic Doctor Strange trailer was released. Watch below:

    A new poster was also unveiled:

    doctor-strange-sdcc-poster

  6. Next up was Spider-Man: Homecoming. Director Jon Watts described the film as a high school movie about a 15-year-old Peter Parker who’s in the 10th grade. A new clip was unveiled and had a strong John Hughes vibe — Peter Parker is just your average high schooler trying to get through the day. There was also this great moment:

  7. Next up: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which kicks off a few months after the first movie. The entire cast was there to introduce a new scene in which a very adorable Baby Groot helps Yondu and Rocket break out of prison. Baby Groot even has a little outfit! Adorably, the Ravengers — who captured Yondu and Rocket — refuse to hurt Baby Groot because of how cute he is.

    This movie got a new logo as well.

    guardians-of-the-galaxy-sequel-new-logo

  8. Speaking of Marvel’s space dramedy, the studio also confirmed rumors of a Guardians of the Galaxy theme park attraction. It’s called Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! and debuts Summer 2017 at Disneyland’s California Adventure theme park. Sadly, it’s replacing the classic Tower of Terror ride. Check out a behind the scenes video of the attraction:

  9. Marvel ended their panel by confirming that Brie Larson will play Captain Marvel, as was previously rumored. She took the stage to say hi to the adoring audience, and participated in a giant Marvel selfie:

All in all, Marvel had a ton to share. What do you think of all the developments?

DC kept the trailer train trotting along today with an all new trailer for Suicide Squad!

Though Suicide Squad is just a few weeks away from hitting theaters, DC kept the momentum going today with an all new trailer featuring music from the soundtrack, new footage, and a better look at what exactly we can expect from the upcoming villain-focused super hero movie. Check it out below.

The new (and likely final) Suicide Squad trailer comes after surprise premiere of the Wonder Woman trailer and an even bigger surprise with our first look at the Justice League trailer. As with the other trailers today, this one debuted publicly alongside its Comic-Con Hall H premiere.

In this trailer, we hear a lot from Will Smith who plays Deadshot and arguably the most decorated and respected actor among the cast. “They’re gonna blame us for the whole thing. We’re the patsies, don’t forget. We’re the bad guys.” The trailer is jam-packed with all of the villains and their powers and skills on full display.

We also get a better look at the leader of the pack, Jared Leto’s The Joker. “I can’t wait to show you my toys,” Leto’s Joker says while slapping around a man.

Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn also gets a lot of screen time in this trailer. Though, most of it features close ups of her back side, which stays close to the adult, rugged tone of the other trailers we have seen thus far.

There’s no doubt that fans will be flocking to theaters rooting on the bad guys when Suicide Squad hits theaters on August 5th. Suicide Squad features

What did you think of the thrilling, action-packed trailer for Suicide Squad?