5 Animated Characters Who Stole the Show
If the recent release of Despicable Me 2 has shown us anything, it’s that great animated creations can take on a life of their own. First time round, did any of us predict the impact those mischievous minions would later have, or that they’d become the main attraction, leaving main character Gru and his adventure in the shadows. The advertising has all been about those lovable yellow tykes and, even if the actual movie sidelines them more the kids might like, that’s just a testament to how popular they’ve become.
To celebrate their return to our screens, here are five more animated supporting characters who completely stole their franchise, more often than not spawning a sequel of their own. When is Despicable Me 3: The Minions’ Revenge coming out?
The Shrek franchise started out as a mammoth hit and, back in the day, it was Eddie Murphy’s Donkey who became a fan favourite, pleasing kids and causing merchandisers to salivate at the mere thought of toy revenue. Come sequel time, however, they needed fresh blood, and thus Antonio Banderas’ Puss in Boots was born. Like many great franchise characters, Puss was given his very own movie once the original film series had dissipated – a sequel-baiting origin story at that.
Heckling like Muppets from the sidelines of the main action, it’s arguable that Madagascar’s Penguins are the only reason to turn out for an instalment these days. The series has always been more kid-friendly than films made by Pixar et al, but the wit, sarcasm and crafty composure of Skipper and his fellow Penguins serves the adults in the audience just enough to make them brilliantly memorable despite the often throwaway nature of the movies that host them. “Cute ‘n’ cuddly boys, cute ‘n’ cuddly”
It’s no accident that the upcoming sequel to Pixar’s Finding Nemo has been dubbed Finding Dory – the film might have been about a separated father and son, but we all came away remembering adorable, forgetful Dory. Magnificently voiced by Ellen Degeneres, it’s impossible not to root for a character so innocent and optimistic – even for a kid’s movie – and when she finally pulls through and remembers Nemo’s name, it’s the big triumph of the movie.
Love him or hate him, like the minions, Scrat has become the key marketing tool for new Ice Age movies. There are animated shorts, extended scenes and – most importantly – lengthy prefix mini-movies released with each cinematic release – he’s the studio’s version of Pixar’s short film. Though the ‘less is more’ rule could be applied to the character nowadays, his segments do at least offer the Ice Age franchise something a little different. The fact that kids can still be enthralled by a 15-minute silent skit is something to celebrate, isn’t it?
Going back into the archives and dusting off my VHS tape, we should all remember two of the classic show-stealers of Disney animation (hand-drawn at that!). The Lion King’s Timon & Pumbaa proved so popular upon the film’s release that they spawned their own Disney Channel TV spin-off and a straight-to-video film. It’s also worth pointing out that comic relief characters, when they’re done right, can push a franchise well past it’s sell-by date, but Timon and Pumbaa are still as well-loved as any modern-day equivalent.