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Western Animation / Animal Crackers (2017)

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Animal Crackers is a 2017 computer animated comedy loosely based on a graphic novel written by The Dreamland Chronicles creator Scott Christian Sava, who also directed the film alongside Mulan director Tony Bancroft. The film features the voices of John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Danny Devito, Ian McKellen, Sylvester Stallone, Raven-Symoné, Patrick Warburton, Wallace Shawn, Gilbert Gottfried, Harvey Fierstien, Tara Strong and James Arnold Taylor.

The film revolves around Owen and Zoe Huntington (Krasinski and Blunt), a couple who's to working at Zoe's father Mr. Woodley's (Shawn) dog biscuit factory. Desperate for a change, fate soon arrives when they are inherited Owen's uncle's well-respected circus after he burns in a fire. Known for its amazing animals, the Huntingtons discover that a mysterious box of animal crackers that they were given is the secret to the circus's success, as the cookies turn the user into the animal they've eaten. All seems to be well, until Owen's other attention-seeking uncle Horatio (McKellen) plots to steal the magic box of animal crackers for himself, in a desperate attempt to take over the circus. It's now up to Huntingtons to unite its family of acrobats and clowns to stop Horatio, though it'll take more than a few circus tricks to stop him completely.


Despite screening at the Annecy Film Festival in 2017, the film wasn't released in the US until July 24, 2020, on Netflix. It was released in China on July 21, 2018.

The trailer can be watched here.

Not to be confused with the Marx Bros. comedy or the comic strip and its respective television adaptation.

Animal Crackers contains examples of:

  • A God Am I: Horatio says this after becoming a chimera in the climax.
  • Actor Allusion: At one point, Horatio tells his henchman Mario to "fly you fool".
  • Adorably Precocious Child: MacKenzie pretty much checks off all the boxes.
  • Adorkable: Binkley. Owen also counts.
  • Animorphism: The animal crackers allow the user to turn into the animal they eat.
  • Big Bad: Horatio P. Huntington.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The entire circus, in an action sequence that must be seen to be believed!
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  • Big Fun: Chesterfield gradually becomes this within the film's long timespan, mainly due to eating all-you-can-eat circus hot dogs.
  • Cain and Abel: Horatio's Cain to Bob's Abel, though it's mainly one-sided on the former's part, due to his envy of his younger brother.
  • Classical Chimera: Horatio turns himself into a chimera during the climax, after eating some broken cookies. He is eventually defeated and turned into a hamster after a climactic battle.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Owen and Zoe met as children and are now married with a daughter.
  • Cool Old Guy: Chesterfield hasn't lost his sense of humor even into Owen's adult years.
  • The Dragon: The Zucchini is to Horatio, though Zucchini likes to think it the other way around.
  • Dumb Blonde: Brock.
  • Fortune Teller: Esmeralda is known as one.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Binkley, who created all the machines at the dog biscuit factory.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: Horatio's band of outcast circus performers.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: It's implied that a big part of why Horatio grew to hate Bob was due to him being good with people (the clowns, audience members, etc.) whereas the former always acted like a haughty diva even on his good days, though everyone else was too polite to tell him otherwise. He makes it clear during his Villain Song that even after Bob's supposed death that he considers being kind to others a sucker's game and won't be having any of it should he take over the circus. When the permanently transformed Bob and Talia confront him with the possibility of being stuck as a chimera forever, Horatio has a moment of horror when he realizes what his jealousy has cost his family, but is quick to forgo this upon realizing that now that he has a form superior to his brother, it gives him the perfect excuse to lord it over him and take over the world. Thankfully, the combined efforts of the Huntingtons manages to stop him.
  • Human Cannonball: Bullet Man.
  • Humanshifting: The human cookie allows the animal-turned users to turn back into humans.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Just when it looks as if Horatio realizes what his actions have cost his brother and sister-in-law, he rationalizes that if remaining a withered old man is the alternative, he'll gladly stay a monster. This ends up costing him.
  • Informed Species: Brock inadvertently turns into what's referred to as a mandrill, but which looks much more like a baboon, albeit with a blue backside like a mandrill would have rather than the brown or red color baboons tend to have.
  • Ink-Suit Actor:
    • Owen looks like his voice actor due to the similar hairstyle, body type, and nose shape.
    • Chesterfield appears to resemble Danny Devito, though Word of God said that this is completely unintentional.
  • Jerkass: Even before his descent into full-on villainy, Horatio was obnoxious and mean at best and a jealous and conniving S.O.B. at worst.
  • Knife-Throwing Act: Stabby's main shtick. Other circus performers in the film do this as well.
  • Konami Code: Binkley at one point suggests doing this to fix the dog biscuit machine.
  • Large Ham:
    • Horatio can constantly go into this territory sometimes.
    • Brock counts as well, as Patrick Warburton plays him.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: We first meet Owen and Zoe as children at the circus.
  • Mama Bear: Zoe mainly stays out of the fighting in the climax and doesn't eat a single Animal Cracker throughout most of the film, taking a more managerial role. When Horatio has her husband and daughter at his mercy, however, she becomes an Asian Elephant and sends the chimera packing:
    Elephant Zoe: Keep your paws off of my family!
  • Moral Myopia: Horatio claims that the circus should've been his, never mind that even before he left it, he tended to treat his fellow performers like crap and only desired the adoring crowds for the perks of fame as opposed to wanting to make audiences smile and feel good.
  • Morphic Resonance: Owen keeps his hair color in animal form, usually as fur/skin/eyebrow color.
  • Mutagenic Food: The animal crackers.
  • Never Say "Die": Owen's Uncle Bob and Aunt Talia are "gone". Averted, as they're not actually dead, just in Shapeshifter Mode Lock.
  • Nice Guy: The Huntington family and the clowns.
  • Non-Ironic Clown: Chesterfield and the rest of the clowns.
  • Oh, Crap!: Owen upon eating his first Animal Cracker:
    • As does Brock upon his change into a Mandrill. He seems to get over it by his final scene.
  • One-Winged Angel: Horatio eats the broken crackers in his hands and transforms into a chimera.
  • Parental Abandonment: We know Bob and Horatio are Owen's uncles whereas Mr. Woodley would become his what about his birth parents? They're never brought up period and in the context of the movie, it would appear that Bob is the closest analog to Owen having one.
  • Redemption Rejection: When he understands that he trapped his brother and said brother's wife in animal shapes forever, Horatio has a brief moment of My God, What Have I Done?... but it doesn't stick.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Inverted. In the original graphic novel, Owen and Zoe are brother and sister. Here, they meet at the circus, fall in love, and get married.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Some of the animal transformations, especially the hamster.
    Mackenzie (after Owen eats the hamster cookie.): Daddy's cute!
    Owen: Thank you, angel!
  • Running Gag: The Great Zucchini declaring Horatio to be his sidekick, rather than the other way around.
  • Shout Out:
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: This happened to Owen (temporally) after he lost his human cookie to Brock (in a mandrill form) Near the climax, it revealed that Old Blue and Zena are actually Bob and Talia who were stuck in their Bloodhound and cat form because Horatio accidentally burn down their human cookies which means they won't become human again.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The Zucchini, always.
  • Take Over the World: Almost said word for word by Horatio in the climax, telling Owen and the other circus performers that using the crackers for mere entertainment is a waste. He proceeds to go One Wing Angel as a chimera and proclaims himself a god.
  • Villain Song: Horatio sings one called "Should've Been Mine".
  • Virtue Is Weakness: Horatio makes it obvious during "Should've Been Mine" that he didn't care much for Bob's kindness towards the circus audience and fellow performers.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After Brock transforms into a monkey and is subsequently captured, he disappears from the movie and we never learn what became of him or if he was ever turned back to normal.
    • Well, he does make an appearance at the circus near the climax, but there's still no resolution on-screen.
  • World's Strongest Man: Samson the Strongman.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair:
    • Owen has blue hair.
    • Zoe has purple hair.
    • Owen and Zoe's daughter Mackenzie has a color combination of both of her parents' hair colors.

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