This book explores fictional representations and narrative functions of animal characters in animated and live-action film and television, examining the ways in which these representations intersect with a variety of social issues. Contributors cover a range of animal characters, from heroes to villains, across a variety of screen genres and formats, including anime, comedy, romance, horror, fantasy, and science fiction. Aesthetic features of these works, along with the increased latitude that fictionalized narratives and alternative worlds provide, allow existing social issues to be brought to the forefront in order to effect change in our societies. By incorporating animal figures into media, these screen narratives have gained the ability to critique actions carried out by human beings and explore dimensions of both the human/animal connection and the intersectionality of race, culture, class, gender, and ability, ultimately teaching viewers how to become more human in our interactions with the world around us. Scholars of film studies, media studies, and animal studies will find this book of particular interest.
Karin Beeler is professor in the English Department at the University of Northern British Columbia.
Stan Beeler is professor emeritus of English at the University of Northern British Columbia.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Karin Beeler and Stan Beeler
Part I. Animal Characters: Racial, Ethnic, and Social Contexts
Chapter 1: “Beneath the Surface Lies the Future”: Narrative, Characterization, and the Natural World with seaQuest DSV’s Darwin
Chapter 2: Ducks, Ducks and More Ducks: Comedy and Social Class in Animated TV
Chapter 3:“Don’t Just Fly, Soar”: Reading Disability in Disney’s Animation Dumbo (1941) and Live-Action Remake Dumbo (2019)
Chapter 4: Making the Invisible Visible: Displaced and Marginalized Animal Characters in Samuel Fuller’s White Dog and Kornél Mundruczó’s White God
Heather Rolufs and Karin Beeler
Part II. Animals and Narrative Functions: Monsters/Victims/Heroes
Chapter 5: Worse than their Bite: Dogs and Horror
Chapter 6: The Bad Habits of Rabbits: An Ecocritical Examination of Rabbits as Antagonists in Film
Chapter 7 : Of Animals and Aliens: Identifying with the Non-Human Other in Guardians of the Galaxy
Jessica Bay and Jonathan Osborn
Part III. Animal / Human Hybrids and Other Creatures
Chapter 8: Hormone Monsters and Animal Antagonists: Animating Teen Horrors and Promoting Eudaimonia in Big Mouth (Netflix, 2017-)
Chapter 9: The Transcendence of the Borders: The Animal Hero in Hosoda Mamoru’s The Boy and the Beast
Chapter 10: The Esperpento of Kipo and the Age of the Wonderbeasts
Sumor Ziva Sheppard
Chapter 11: (Un)learning with ‘Monsters’: Animals, Patriarchal Oppression, and Ethics of Care in Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water
About the Contributors