Show Your Child That No Animal Was Harmed in Popular Movies
Children watch films before they fully know what is real and what is fiction. (One Lifehacker writer used to think that when people died in films, the actor died in real life.) So sometimes you might need to explain to them how the scary scenes were just pretense, and that’s okay. When animals are involved in these scary scenes, the American Humane Association can help.
The AHA, which oversees filming to ensure that animals are treated humanely, maintains a film database describing how animals were treated on set and how the scenes were filmed, including how animals were taught to perform certain actions. The descriptions, as BuzzFeed News editor Louis Peitzman notes , are comforting to adults, and they are not just about children’s films. Here are some snippets with a few spoilers.
When an actor arrests a man and a dog bites a guy’s ass, the trainer inserts a towing toy into the actor’s pants. Shortly before the start of the action, the trainer showed the dog the area on the man’s pants, in which the tug was located. The trainer signaled to the dog and he bit the man’s ass.
In several scenes where we see the actors riding the rhinoceroses, they actually rode horses, and the horses were transformed into rhinos in CGI post-processing.
Against a backdrop of dynamic background music, the film begins with breathtaking footage of a flock of whales swimming freely in the ocean. Soon, whaling boats appear, and people set up nets to chase and surround the whales. One whale is separated from the rest by a net and calls the rest to the street. This scene was created by editing wildlife documentaries with animatronic whale scenes.
The actor and the dog were prepared for the stage and knew each other well. The dog was taught to push him, so when the actor pushed him, the dog jumped back onto the actor, not to the side.
For the all-important Harry’s Nimbus 2000 delivery, a barn owl named Vinnie carried a hollow paper broom that actually weighed less than the owl’s natural prey, which was carefully attached to Vinnie’s claws while a trainer held onto the broom trigger off-screen. … At the right mark, the handler released the broom from its claws with a latch.
In the scene where the child is sitting on the kitchen table, and we see the dog lying on the ground, the dog is brought to a predetermined mark on the set. Before filming, the trainer asked the dog to lie down and stay. The dog obeys. They filmed the scene, and the dog was taken to the set to be treated and given water.
Every time Marley licks a person or object in the movie, baby food has been used to entice the dog to lick. The same technique was used with the diaper to encourage the dog to “get it.” All food was considered safe to eat, including dog vomit, which was simply water-soaked dog food.
In scenes in which Marley chews on objects such as the kitchen floor, sofa cushions, or car seats, the dog handlers would instruct the dog to “get” the objects. One particular puppy and one particular adult dog were specially trained to chew things and spit them out without swallowing anything.
The smoke was not directed towards the chickens.
In the scene where a whole bull is fed to a dinosaur, the bull is harnessed to a special headband for livestock, lifted with a crane, and then lowered into the foliage. Rudder absorption is not shown, but the effect is created using sound effects. The bull filmed for this scene is a very ripe animal. He was trained and rehearsed with him for a period of time before filming. The belts were of the type commonly used to move the steering wheel and were safe and reliable.
The dead deer was an animatronic “fake” deer. Manufacturing provided a receipt for the fake deer.
To create scenes in which snakes crawl on the floor, the trainer placed one snake on the ground and let it crawl while the operator was filming the action. Each snake was filmed separately and inserted into the film during post-production.
In one scene, Chance tricks Sassi on a swing, where she is catapulted through the air. This scene has been done in many cuts. The swing rose to a height of about four feet, and the cat was filmed on it. A picture of the cat was then captured as it was thrown from one trainer onto a blanket held by several people. The cat seemed to like it, and it purred all the time.
The AHA doesn’t track every movie, so check it out before promising your child an explanation. And the association may run into some controversy, such as when the video showed a handler forcing a worried dog into rough water during the filming of The Dog’s Target . An outside investigation concluded that the video was incorrectly edited, and while the dog was not treated perfectly, he did not have a “persistent stress response or conditioned fear of water.”
If only watching Kujo at age 5 didn’t leave a “sustained stress response.”