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The Movie: The story of a clan of ants who spend their lives preparing for the yearly return of the nasty grasshoppers who party all year long sees one adventurous ant go on a journey to find helper bugs to put an end to the reign of insect oppression. Like Braveheart with bugs.
The Sidekick: Molt (voiced by Richard Kind) is the younger brother of the grasshopper leader Hopper (voiced by Kevin Spacey). He’s a lot less angry than Hopper and a little more dimwitted, but he’s friendly and innocent and isn’t too into the whole dominating the ants thing.
The Moment: Flick (voiced by Dave Foley) is an inventive ant who causes a lot more problems than he fixes, and so when he accidentally destroys the harvest for the soon-to-arrive grasshoppers, he goes off to the big city to try and find some help. He mistakes a traveling circus show for a group of warriors and brings them back to Ant Island, but when the grasshoppers come, their true identities are revealed. With a plan in action, the circus performers put on a show for Hooper and his lot, with Molt sitting up close. When one part of the show needs audience participation, Molt can barely contain himself as he leaps at the chance. Mustering all his mental prowess, which isn’t much, he tries to use his brain to ask to be selected. Yeah. It doesn’t work.
The Movie: A lonely green ogre lives mostly happily alone in a swamp, but when the local ruler offers rewards for captured fairy tale creatures, his life gets turned upside down when they all end up on his land. And nobody wants fairy tale creatures squatting on their land.
The Sidekick: Donkey (voiced by Eddie Murphy) is a magical creature that can talk and so is being hunted for reward. He escapes into the swamp and encounters Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers) who eventually befriends him as they travel together on a their journey.
The Moment: After Shrek and Donkey meet Lord Farquaad (voiced by John Lithgow), they must enter a tournament, where the winner will win the honor of rescuing a fair princess from a dragon-protected tower. A medal would be better. Once Shrek wins though, he is told that after he brings Farquaad the girl, he can have his swamp. A bit later, now safely with the (spoilers) rescued Princess Fiona (voiced by Cameron Diaz), Shrek finds himself strangely attracted to the woman, who shows a not so lady-like quality. She too becomes enamored with the ogre and as they get closer to the castle, they look for excuses to slow their progress and stay together. Fiona uses this tactic on Donkey, feigning concern for the donkey, saying she’s suddenly worried about his condition. Catching on, Shrek does the same and soon Donkey is caught up in the ruse, believing he’s actually ill. He first says he has a kink in his neck. Then he thinks he can’t feel his toes. Then sees he has no toes. He needs a hug. Murphy owns this part.
The Movie: A street urchin and his pet monkey live by stealing food but become embroiled in a magical mystery when he unleashes a powerful genie from a lamp who grants the boy three wishes.
The Sidekick: Iago (voiced by Gilbert Gottfried) is a disgruntled wise-cracking parrot-type bird that serves under the evil Jafar (voiced by Jonathan Freeman). Sarcastic and temperamental, he’s loud, anxious and insolent. And therefore, hysterical.
The Moment: Jafar is hunting for the fabled lamp of the genie, which is said to be stored in the Cave of Wonders buried in the sands of the desert. He has half of a gold beetle scarab and joins it with one owned by a thief named Kassim. The beetle sparks to life and guides them to the cave, where a giant tiger head emerges and claims that “One whose worth lies far within: the Diamond in the Rough” shall enter. Jafar entrusts Kassim to try but he is immediately devoured by the tiger, closing Jafar’s chance. Iago, witnessing the action from Jafar’s shoulder squawks that they will never get the lamp. Jafar instruct him to be patient, that Kassim was not worthy, to which Iago lunges into a sarcastic rant about how ‘surprising’ it is to believe that a thief would not be worthy. He goes on to say that the surprise is so shocking he’s going to have a heart attack and die where Jafar then quickly snaps the bird’s beak shut. Robin Williams as the genie gets the rightful attention, but fellow comic Gottfriend brings the laughs as well.
The Movie: When a widowed field mouse with a very sick son who can’t be moved is forced to leave her home or be tilled under by the tractor, she calls upon a secret order of rats who are said to have great powers.
The Sidekick: Jeremy (voiced by Dom DeLuise) is a nervous black crow who befriends field mouse Mrs. Brisby (voiced by Elizabeth Hartman). He’s not particularly brave and is a whole lot clumsy but becomes a trusted alley.
The Moment: Upon their first meeting, Jeremy is caught up in a twine of yarn along the surface of a fallen, gutted tree. He introduces himself as he continues to wrap himself up further into the string saying he needs the yarn to build a nest for a girl he will surely someday meet. She warns him he’s making far too much noise and is going to attract Dragon the Cat, owned by the local farmer. He says not to worry because he’s allergic to cats, and if one is near, he starts to sneeze and yup, as soon as he says it, he does it and Dragon leaps into the scene. DeLuise is a riot as the goofy Jeremy and here makes a tense moment funny.
The Movie: An elderly man fulfills the dreams of his late wife to seek adventure in the wilds of South America, using a canopy of helium-filled balloons to carry his house up and out of the city. But he’s not alone.
The Sidekick: After making it to South America, Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Ed Asner) and his stowaway Russell (voiced by Jordan Nagai), a young Wilderness Explorer, stumble upon a massive flightless bird and an adorable Golden Retriever named Dug (voiced by Bob Peterson), who wears a special collar that allows the animal to communicate in spoken words. If only.
The Moment: Another introduction. Walking along the top of a massive haze-filled plateau (dragging his floating house behind him), Carl follows the eager Russell who comes across Dug in the shadows. Dug is very friendly, and obeys the commands Russell gives, like sit and shake and speak, though to their surprise, he actually does speak . . . in English. Dug walks up to Carl and tells him they only just met but he loves him, going on to explain how the collar works, but mid-sentence, gets distracted. “Squirrel!” You know ever single one of you have said it to someone else.
The Movie: When a young lion club believes he’s responsible for the death of his father, the king, he runs away and learns to live life with no consequences until his past catches up and he needs to reclaim what is rightfully his.
The Sidekick(s): Timon (voice by Nathan Lane) the meerkat and Pumbaa (voice by Ernie Sabella) the warthog are best friends who take the lost lion cub Simba (voiced by Jonathon Taylor Thomas and Matthew Broderick) into their care and teach him the hakuna matata lifestyle of no worries before learning who he really is and combing their skills to help take back the crown the belongs to their friend.
The Moment: Simba’s evil uncle Scar (voiced by Jeremy Irons) has usurped the monarchy of Pride Rock and has ravaged the once bountiful land with his army of hyenas. All grown up, Simba decides to overthrow his uncle and bring prosperity back to the lions and the many animals living in the valley. He has a plan but needs distraction to lure the guarding hyenas from Scar. Leave it to Timon and Pumbaa who come up with an idea that will surely do the trick. With Pumbaa looking like he’s ready for the roasting spit, Timon dances and sings a Hawaiian themed luau tune that gets the job done. That green skirt is disturbingly attractive.
The Movie: A young bratty, rich and spoiled emperor fires his aged assistant, she attempts to kill him but instead turns him into a llama. He runs off and hides in the jungles trying to find a way to reverse the condition. But he gets a little unexpected help along the way.
The Sidekick: Kronk (voiced by Patrick Warburton) is Yzma’s (voiced by Eartha Kitt) assistant, an evil woman who wants to run the empire. A jovial, innocent character caught up in following orders, his dream, among other interests such as interpretive dance, is to cook. Oblivious to much, he can talk to animals and acts as the muscle for Yzma.
The Moment: There’s hardly a scene in the film that isn’t outright stolen by Kronk, who easily gets the biggest laughs throughout, but it is the extend restaurant sequence that remains the highlight. Emperor Kuzco (David Spade), still in the form of a talking llama (disguised as a woman) and his new friend Pacha (John Goodman) take a break from escaping and stop at the Meat Hut for a Mug of Meat. Also at the diner is Yzma and Kronk, who have tracked the llama here, though don’t recognize him dressed as he is. When the short order chef suddenly quits while Kronk is in the kitchen discussing a special request, the waitress barks out a few orders and instinctively Kronk takes over the cooking duties. Like a boss. Funniest bit in the whole movie.