While typical onscreen chemistry is one thing, the friendships that form between man and beast are another kind of relationship played out in some of our favourite films. More and more movies are putting animals – from our own or other worlds – front and centre, and it takes a skilful combination of acting, writing and special effects to make these characters shine. Here are just a few cinematic relationships that prove not all friends need to speak the same language.
Max and Justin, Max
Justin (Josh Wiggins) lost his to service in Afghanistan, and that heartache means he doesn’t initially bond with brave service dog Max. Max was on tour with the unit when the tragedy struck, and is also shaken by what he went through, yet his connection to his old master is what draws him so close with Justin when he’s relocated to the United States.
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but Max doesn’t need anything other than his precision military training to save the day and protect his new family. It’s this brave dog’s loyalty and Justin’s own compassion that makes this cinematic friendship blossom.
Mason Weaver and Kong, Kong: Skull Island
Despite her journalistic aim of documenting the neutralisation of gigantic wildlife, Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) is a lover of nature and a pacifist at heart. She doesn’t see aggression as the answer to the threats the infamous Skull Island poses, and finds an unusual kindred spirit in the almighty ape, Kong.
Sawyer and Winter, Dolphin Tale
Animal lovers across the world fell in love with the heart-warming Dolphin Tale. What many don’t realise though is that it is in fact a true story, with dolphin Winter portraying herself in the movie. She also becomes a true friend to the lonely and misunderstood Sawyer, a boy who encounters Winter at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
Heartbreak strikes when Winter loses her tail to a crab trap, yet Sawyer doesn’t give up on his friend. He gathers support from friends and family, finding his confidence along the way as he proves to leading marine scientists that they can make a prosthetic tail for Winter to use. Ultimately, it’s the pair’s relationship that allows Winter to undergo this life-changing procedure.
Newt Scamander and his magical beasts, Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them
Taking the magic created by the Harry Potter series in whole new directions, Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them explored how the book of the same name first found its way to Hogwarts. Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is a magizoologist who’s given his life to compiling studies of the most mystical creatures ever discovered. So when the enchanted case he keeps them in is opened by mistake and the creatures escape across New York, his love for them all has no limit to find and protect them.
Davis and George, Rampage
It’s safe to say that Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson) isn’t a people person, preferring a lone wolf lifestyle that lets him focus on his work as a primatologist. It’s how he met and befriended the charming silverback gorilla George, but the friendship is put to the test when rogue science experiments cause George and animals like him to be upsized to city threatening proportions.
The increase in size means George gets a boost to his aggression too, but Davis doesn’t give up on his beloved buddy so fast. Even as private military forces move to take out the rampaging giant beasts, George among them, Davis seeks out help from the scientific community to find a cure for his friend.
What big screen relationships are most memorable to you?