Movies love getting bird-brained. We saw the macaws in Rio recently and now Mr Popper’s Penguins is flapping on our screens. Why are birds always appearing in films? Do they provide a feather in the cap for filmmakers? Do they represent a beak, sorry, peak in their careers? We think it’s because an avian cast is lovable, funny, make us jealous when they fly, and, unlike us limited humans, there are so many kinds of birds out there that can out-poop us on a wing and a prayer. Got news for you, guys. The bird flu is definitely spreading. Check out this list of feathery flicks.
Happy Feet (2006)
What is it about penguins that make filmmakers go gaga? It must be that they look so much like goofy waiters and fat sopranos. Mr Popper’s Penguins follows Happy Feet, March Of The Penguins, plus those four adorable little waddlers trying to escape to a better place in Madagascar. What’s a better place to a penguin? Well, to the Penguin (played by Danny DeVito) in 1992’s Batman Returns, it’s anywhere without Batman.
In case you don’t know, a macaw isn’t a parrot that lives in Macao. It’s actually a smaller parrot in the way Tom Cruise is smaller to Katie Holmes. This mini size allows the birds to look very cute in Rioshown earlier this year. The way the hot female bird (voiced by Anne Hathaway) yakked with the male one (Jesse Eisenberg) is very funny. “Yak” is the key word here because, face it, a macaw talking non-stop reminds you sometimes of your mother-in-law.
Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000)
In movies, ostriches are the horses of the bird kingdom. You can ride them in a race like in the ostrich-elephant-zebra race in 1960’s Swiss Family Robinson or be chased by them till your pants drop. Check out Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott in Dude, Where’s My Car?. The thing is these birds look really funny – a big body with a small head and a teensy weensy brain. It’s like laughing at Paris Hilton.
Man, talk about really bad dates. Michelle Pfeiffer is a chick who turns into a hawk by day while her boyfriend, played by Rutger Hauer, becomes a wolf at night. Which means that they can’t really do the, you know, urge to merge without making it look sick even by animal standards. Actually, tell you honestly, we’d rather be a hawk than a wolf. Because when you change back into a person, you can always work as a hawker.
Fly Away Home (1996)
Anna Paquin, then a little kid, and her father (played by Jeff Daniels) fly in a homemade aircraft to lead a group of young Canada geese go on their seasonal migration from Ontario to North Carolina to survive the winter. It’s very inspiring because it’s based on a real-life Canadian inventor of a quirky aircraft that actually did this feat. Sounds kind of nuts but it’s really a moving tale about a quack leading a bunch of quacks.
The Eagle (2011)
There’s no actual bird flying about in The Eagle. It’s basically a military emblem of an eagle that’s lost in the early days when the Romans were ruling Great Britain. In fact, although the eagle is one heck of a majestic bird, its super cool name is even more sought after. Old war flicks such as Where Eagles Dare, The Eagle Has Landed and recent thrillers like Eagle Eye use it to make themselves sound snazzy. There are zero birds in those films. Unless you count the babes, man.
Chicken Run (2000)
Before Mel Gibson got into Jodie Foster’s The Beaver (we can’t resist this crack), he displayed pure animal magnetism in this cartoon. He voices an American rooster-pilot who crash-lands in World War II into an English henhouse full of scared chickens waiting to be turned into chicken pie. You know, hens are often depicted as idiots in movies. Look, they can’t help it that they’re so delicious at KFC. This dumb reputation chickens have is so chicken-s**t, dude. But anyway, yum yum.
Howard The Duck (1986)
Hailing from the planet of Duckworld, Howard lands on Earth like E.T. Except that it’s a good thing he didn’t fall into a Chinese restaurant. Otherwise, it’d be Howard the Peking Duck. Ducks have often been portrayed as cartoonish jokers in films – Donald Duck and Daffy Duck – but this bird has a thing for a human babe whom he protects with martial arts called Quack Fu. I know what you’re saying. WTD! What the duck!
Harry Potter movies
Owls are supposed to be very wise, right? So why the hell are they working for crumbs in movies? I mean how many rats does Harry Potter’s pet owl, Hedwig, get to munch for delivering mail as the post-bird? Or those night birds in the cartoon Legend OfThe Guardians? Or that ridiculous mechanical owl in Clash Of The Titans? Does it get free batteries?
We’re not talking cock here but we’re still puzzled why hunky mute Qi Yuwu carried a kong chee (rooster in Mandarin) with him all over the place in Royston Tan’s Singaporean classic. Why was he so attached to his cock? How come he kept stroking it so much? Questions like these only Freud can answer. Freud’s a very good shrink. He’d listen to you even if you kong chiao wei (Hokkien for talking cock).
Any darn bird will do
The Birds (1963)
This is the ultimate bird movie, guys. Nobody talks birdies without mentioning this Alfred Hitchcock classic. All kinds of birds (crows, seagulls, pigeons, whatever) suddenly attack humans – especially one hot blonde (Tippi Hedren) – for no particular reason. Maybe they’re seeking payback for all the chicken wings we’re eating. Most probably, Hitchcock was just a sick freak. PS: In the 1977 Mel Brooks spoof, High Anxiety, the birds attack people by pooping on them from the air. Bombs away. Hilarious.