War for the Planet of the Apes promises to be the darkest of all the Apes movies. But there's some much-needed comic relief in the form of Steve Zahn's Bad Ape. That got us thinking about the funniest animal cameos in the movies...
The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog in Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Animal cameos don't get any more, erm, Pythonesque than this. King Arthur (Graham Chapman) and his knights approach the cave of Caerbannog with some trepidation, having been told by Tim the Enchanter (John Cleese) that it's guarded by a horrible monster with nasty big pointy teeth. So they're surprised and relieved to encounter a cute little white bunny rabbit. But the beast proves to be a vicious brute and promptly decapitates Bors (Terry Gilliam). Discretion being the better part of valour, Arthur orders his knights to "run away!"
Mr. Whiskers in The Voices
Talking animals are always good for a laugh, especially when they're being as malevolent as Mr. Whiskers in this pitch-black horror comedy. The manipulative feline eggs Ryan Reynolds on to commit serial murders, against the advice of his dog, Bosco. Impressively, Reynolds voices both animals. Mr. Whiskers is particularly convincing. Who hasn't been given a look by their cat that says, "Where the f***'s my food, f***face?"
Dennis the Dog in Absolutely Anything
Continuing the talking animal theme, Robin Williams' final performance as the voice of Dennis the Dog in Terry Jones's comedy was a terrific swansong. Let's face it, what would your mutt say if he or she could talk? It's very likely to be, "Biscuits! Biscuits! For crying out loud, they're in the cupboard! Biscuits! Biscuits! Red biscuits! Black biscuits! Biscuits! Please, please, please! Nothing else matters!"
Mr. Bigglesworth in the Austin Powers movies
Mr. Bigglesworth doesn't need to say anything because his owner, Dr. Evil, does all the talking for him. "When Dr. Evil gets angry, Mr. Bigglesworth gets upset," he explains, malevolently. "And when Mr. Bigglesworth gets upset... people die!"
Daisy the sheep in Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)
In Woody Allen's brilliant portmanteau comedy, the late, great Gene Wilder plays a doctor whose new patient is an Armenian shepherd. The man reveals that he is in love with a sheep. Initially taken aback, the doctor soon finds that Daisy is indeed a very attractive ungulate. Before long, he and Daisy having a torrid affair that can only end in tears.
Shep the dog in Airplane!
Interesting, isn't it, how so many of the funniest films in history also have hilarious animal scenes? When minion Paul Carey is dispatched to fetch Captain Kramer (Robert Stack) from his home, he's greeted by Mrs. Kramer (Barbara Stuart) and an exceedingly large, excessively friendly hound. "He gets so excited when new people are here!" says Mrs. Kramer while she summons her husband. As Kramer leaves for the airport, he and his wife seem completely oblivious to the fact that Carey is apparently being eaten alive by Shep off screen.
Ken kills the last dog in A Fish Called Wanda
Animal-loving Ken Pile (Michael Palin) is charged with killing elderly heist witness Mrs Coady (Patricia Hayes). Much to his anguish, he succeeds only in bumping off two of her three yappy little dogs. Finally, he decides to finish her off by shooting the rope suspending a convenient giant concrete block above the entrance to her home. But when she steps back at the last minute, the little dog is splatted. Distraught Ken affords himself a big grin when he sees that this has caused Mrs Coady to die of shock.
Puffy the Border terrier, There's Something About Mary
Has a screen dog ever suffered as much as poor Puffy? She doesn't take kindly to her mistress Mary's (Cameron Diaz) romance with Ted (Ben Stiller). When they first meet, the plucky pooch goes straight for Ben's jugular and a hilarious extended fight scene ensues. It ends with hapless Puffy flying out of the window and winding up in a full body cast.
The marmot in The Big Lebowski
In one of the most memorable scenes in the Coen brothers' cult comedy classic, the Dude (Jeff Bridges) is relaxing in his bathtub when the nihilists burst in and shatter his mellowness by hurling a furious marmot in with him. Eagle-eyed viewers will note that said 'marmot' is actually a ferret.
The nice beaver in The Naked Gun
"Nice beaver!" exclaims Lieutenant Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) admiringly while Jane Spencer (Priscilla Presley) climbs the ladder into her loft. "Thanks," she replies as she returns bearing a large deceased rodent. "I just had it stuffed."
War for the Planet of the Apes is screening now at Cineworld.