Director Jon Favreau's The Jungle Book arrives in theaters today amidst a stampede of critical praise and high box-office hopes. But I'll be going to the nearest multiplex to see it for just one reason: CGI animals. As someone who is nervous around house pets and once had an asthma attack at the circus, CGI animals are a big deal for me. Mostly, they're safe. Nothing will be more relaxing than purchasing a small popcorn and watching a bunch of PETA-approved, Christopher Walken-voiced animals cavort in the jungle.
But these beautiful creatures consisting of nothing but 1's and 0's also join a rich lineage of weird, creepy, and breathtaking CGI animals, and to mark the occasion, I've decided to establish the CGI Animal Hall of Fame. Like the weird monkeys in Jumanji, the virtual showcase of virtual critters isn't a real thing you can touch. But it won't inflame anyone's allergies. So grab a CGI vine and take a swing through the inaugural class of computer-generated creatures I've inducted and bestowed special awards upon below.
Oh, one quick note before we begin: I'm not talking about the animated creatures you find in A Bug's Life or Zootopia. To qualify for the CGI Animal Hall of Fame, the CGI animal must share the screen with a human co-star. Apologies to the owls of Ga'Hoole.