The 9 Most Impressive Animals in Movies

[caption id="attachment_69719" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="20th Century Fox"]Rise of the Planet of the Apes[/caption]

Animals: They're a good source of protein. The cowboy's slaves. Furry, stupid people. By whatever name you choose to call them, there's no doubting that animals are both funny and delicious.

But what have they ever accomplished on their own? Nothing! If it weren't for us humans dressing them up in funny hats and putting them on greeting cards, there wouldn't be a single gainfully employed animal.

Fortunately, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" might be the wake-up call our cuddly companions need to start cleaning their own litter boxes, if not take over the world. But if ape-ageddon isn't the right route for your pet, here are some other examples of impressive animals that might light a fire under their furry butts.

9. Scooby-Doo in 'Scooby-Doo' (2002)

[caption id="attachment_69728" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Warner Bros."]Scooby Doo[/caption]

Accomplishment: Sort of talking and sort of standing

What's most impressive about this canine sleuth aren't his questionable powers of deduction, so much as the fact that he convinced the rest of the Mystery Inc. gang to let him join their all-human team. Granted, they drive around in a psychedelic van hallucinating about "supernatural" fiends, so perhaps admitting a dog into their company wasn't such a stretch. Still, Scooby-Doo must be recognized for paving the way for... any future dog that wants to solve mysteries.

8. Jack the Chimp in 'MVP: Most Valuable Primate' (2000)

[caption id="attachment_69729" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Keystone Family Pictures"]MVP Most Valuable Primate[/caption]

Accomplishment: Not biting off anyone's faces

Most of us have, at one time or another, pondered if a chimp could -- nay, should -- play professional hockey. The answer to both questions is apparently a resounding "yes!"  This straight-to-video franchise taught us that, if the rule book doesn't explicitly spell out that only humans can play a sport, than it's time to start throwing chimps onto an ice rink. In future films, Jack tackled skateboarding and snowboarding. But, eventually, the producers ran out of things they could strap the chimp onto without drowning him.

7. Hooch in 'Turner & Hooch' (1989)

[caption id="attachment_69745" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Touchstone"]Turner and Hooch[/caption]

Accomplishment: Costarring with Tom Hanks

One's neat, one's sloppy. One's awkward, one's got a way with the ladies. But if you think this buddy cop team sounds tired and familiar, hold on to your hats -- because in "Turner and Hooch," one of these cops is played by Tom Hanks and the other is... wait for it... a dog. A dog investigating a murder?! Never saw that coming, didja? Oh, you did? You say "K-9" with Jim Belushi came out earlier that year and had the exact same plot? Well, costarring with Tom Hanks is still pretty impressive.

6. Underdog in 'Underdog' (2007)

[caption id="attachment_69746" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Disney"]Underdog[/caption]

Accomplishment: Not using his superpowers to get revenge on humans

When mild-mannered beagle Shoeshine is injected with a mad scientist's secret formula, he gains the power to fly and even talk. He becomes Underdog and straps on a cape. But what's so impressive about this super pooch is that, once his powers have been unleashed, he chooses to protect his human masters from evil, rather than turning them into collar-wearing slaves and forcing them to go to the toilet on city sidewalks. After all, we sort of deserve that, don't we?

5. Babe the Pig in 'Babe' (1995)

[caption id="attachment_69748" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Universal"]Babe[/caption]

Accomplishment: Herding sheep, not getting eaten

After being won at a fair by Farmer Hoggett, Babe is taken to a crazy farm where the duck crows like a rooster and rats sings like Elvis. But while this farm may be progressive, it's not kosher, and Babe's in danger of biting the big apple on the Christmas dinner table if he doesn't think fast. Adapting to a changing job market, Babe takes on a new job skill and wins his master first prize at a sheepherding contest -- to which the closed-off farmer could only muster a condescending "That'll do, pig. That'll do." A lovely sentiment. Now, how about a binding contract not to eat the pig?

4. Chance, Sassy and Shadow in 'Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey' (1993)

[caption id="attachment_69749" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Disney"]Homeward Bound[/caption]

Accomplishment: Going home

"Go home, boy! Go home!" Many dogs and cats, when given this simple instruction, will run into the woods to chase squirrels or eat rancid garbage. But these family pets, incorrectly assuming they've been abandoned when left with their family's friends for the weekend, take the most unnecessary adventure of a lifetime. After fighting a mountain lion and a porcupine and escaping from an animal shelter that was trying to help them, these confused friends eventually make it home... where they would have gotten anyway if they'd just chilled and waited for someone to come get them.

3. Buddy in 'Air Bud' (1997)

[caption id="attachment_69750" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Disney"]Air Bud[/caption]

Accomplishment: Dribbling... with a ball

They say that every dog has his day. Like most sayings, this one is a lie: Dogs are notorious layabouts who accomplish little in life. But "Air Bud" tells the story of a canine who actually earns his keep for a change, inspiring his shy teen owner to man up by making basket after basket with the ol' "hit the ball in with your face" shot. Quick aside: "Air Bud"? How is it that this movie wasn't called "Charles Bark-ley"?

2. The Penguins in 'March of the Penguins' (2005)

[caption id="attachment_69751" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Warner Bros."]March of the Penguins[/caption]

Accomplishment: Marching in tuxedos

Remember that camp game where you have to race while holding an egg in a spoon and, if you drop the egg, you automatically lose? It turns out that this game was stolen from one that emperor penguins play every day in Antarctica. What makes their version so much more impressive is that they do it in -80ºF degree weather, for 60 miles, in tuxedos. The documentary never explains why they play this game as opposed to, say, sledding. But the reason's not important -- their commitment to extreme sports is the real story here.

1. Charlotte the Spider in 'Charlotte's Web' (2006)

[caption id="attachment_69752" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Warner Bros."]Charlotte's Web[/caption]

Accomplishment: Writing the first web blog

Talk about spinning propaganda! When Wilbur the pig is about to be killed for Christmas dinner on the Arable farm, a Machiavellian spider named Charlotte buries the lede with a new story. Writing words like "some pig" and "radiant" above Wilbur in her web, this Madison Avenue-bound arachnid hatches her plan to make Wilbur so famous that the farmer can't kill him. And it works. Charlotte puts the PR in pork, and a tear in all our eyes.