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Ten Deep 4.17.14: Top 10 Movie Animal Sidekicks
Posted by Mike Gorman on 04.17.2014

"Top Ten Movie Animal Sidekicks"

This weekend I was watching Disney's Frozen again and paid particular attention to the relationship between Kristoff and his reindeer sidekick, Sven. It got me thinking about the storied history of animal sidekicks on film, both the animated and the real. The results of my ponderings is this list you have before you now. Each of the animals below serves the lead in their own special way.

10. Sebastian The Little Mermaid

In The Little Mermaid, Ariel has several sea creatures that she depends up but the most prominent is Sebastian the crab, or lobster, or whatever he is. Sebastian always has Ariel's best interests in mind to the point that he does often become a font of negativity when it comes to her venturing out from the world she knows. What Sebastian also does well is burst into song as needed. One of his most famous moments is below.

9. Baloo in The Jungle Book

Speaking of singing sidekicks, Baloo in The Jungle Book has his own famous musical sequence. But unlike Sebastian he is less want to stop Mowgli's curious nature as he is to encourage it to grow. Baloo is as much a mentor to the young boy as he is a sidekick; but whatever roll he is filling, he always wants Mowgli to enjoy himself and his life.

8. Hedwig in The Harry Potter films

While Hedwig is by no means an ever present sidekick in the Harry Potter films, her loyalty is never absent. Sure Hedwig is great at mail delivery but what makes this owl stand out to me is the number of times she returns to Harry after the chaos subsides. And of course, we can discount the fact that Hedwig makes the ultimate sacrifice to protect Harry in the end. To me this proves that Hedwig was more than just a mail delivery service. I hear that Hedwig is getting another chance, and this time is being portrayed by Neil Patrick Harris... wait... I think I may be confusing something here... anyway, Hedwig rules!

7. Donkey in Shrek

Sometimes the sidekick's roll is not just to support the hero's mission but also provide comic relief and annoyance along the way. This is clearly the kind of sidekick we found in Donkey from Shrek. Though in each of the films just when you think Donkey could not get more annoying, he delivers a true moment of redemption, that sometimes even involves making waffles. You cannot beat that!

6. Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio

When your sidekick is a living, breathing manifestation of your conscience, you certainly will end up learning a big lesson, no? This was definitely the case with Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio. No matter how many times Pinocchio would screw up, Jiminy was always there to remind him that he can make the right choice next and find his way to the right path. There is nothing like a friend who never gives up on you.

5. Iago in Aladdin

In Aladdin we learned that good sidekick animal is not just the province of the hero. The wise cracking, hilarious Iago was the perfect foil to Jafar's dark ways. Iago proves that if you're going to be bad, it's best to do it with a sharp wit and plenty of laughs.

4. Hooch in Turner and Hooch

Loveable, loyal and sloppy are three words that certainly describe the titular pooch of Turner and Hooch. Hooch was Turner's solid sidekick, and often partner, in all aspects of Turner's life. He may not have wanted him around at first, but once you see that drooling mutt in motion, how could Turner well, turn him away.

3. Virgil in Project X

There was nothing animated or magical about Virgil in Project X but this chimpanzee proved that he was a true hero and extraordinary sidekick to Matthew Broderick and Helen Hunt. Virgil's intelligence was never in question as he showed an every growing grasp of sign language. Heck, I once tried to learn sign language and couldn't pull it off. This chimp makes a better sidekick than most humans would.

2. Toto in The Wizard of Oz

I think too many people see Toto in The Wizard of Oz as a decoration Dorothy carries around for most of the film. To me, what stands out are Toto's more heroic moments, many of which come before they even get to Oz. Toto knew there was something no good about that Almira Gulch before her wicked ways were revealed over the rainbow. And let's not forget that he played a pivotal role in vanquishing the Witch herself. He may be small but Toto packs a whole lot of heart and courage into a tiny package.

And finally…

1. Clyde in Every Which Way But Loose

Do I have to really explain why Clyde easily took the top spot on this list? He is an orangutan who would punch someone on command, specifically when given the prompt "Right turn, Clyde." Clyde had more personality than his human counterparts and stole every scene he was in. Clint Eastwood and Clyde made a good pair because as wooden and stoic as Eastwood can be, Clyde was full of emotion and fire. If you have not seen Every Which Way But Loose it is worth your time to check it out.

I hope that caught a few of your favorite animal sidekick's in this list. There were definitely several others that almost made the list. One that had no chance of being here because I refuse to label him simply as an animal is Chewbacca. If you disagree, you're definitely a half-witted, scruffy-looking Nerf herder!!

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