The Croods is the latest in a long line of movies to introduce a character that initially seems as cute as a button – aw, there’s a nice tusked white-tiger parrot thingy! – but which is actually capable of squashing you in seconds flat. Sometimes they’re magical creatures, sometimes they're innocent-looking human beings, but the one thing that connects them all is their ability to comfortably make you cry like a baby through either adorability and out-and-out aggression. Here are 23 of them, and if you have any others you’d like to suggest, feel free to let us know in the comment box below.
P.S. Number 23 should only be read by people who have seen Looper...
From: Toy Story 3 (2010)
Looks like: A fluffy pink teddy bear who smells of strawberries and just wants to be hugged.
Actually is: A bitter and malevolent master-manipulator who reigns over Sunnyside Daycare Center like it's Shawshank State Prison. Watch out for his more-weapon-than-walking-aid wooden cane, and fear his gullible henchmen/henchbabies, because they won't hesitate for a second before tossing you into an incinerator – even if it does make fully-grown men-children in the audience cry.
From: Kick-Ass (2010)
Looks like: An innocent young schoolgirl who would cry out for her Big Daddy – not a Bioshock reference – at the first sign of trouble.
Actually is: An expertly trained and ruthless killing machine who's armed to the teeth with guns, blades, ninja stars and an eye-watering array of Daily Mail-bothering profanities. If she doesn't kill you first, you better hope you're not one of the C-units up next.
From: Gremlins (1984) and Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
Looks like: A less annoying Furby who literally quakes in the face of danger. Note the angelic voice and don’t-hurt-me eyes.
Actually are: Just that – unless you break the rules, that is. Rule one: don’t get them wet. Rule two: Don’t feed them after 12am. So as an example, don't take them swimming, because then they’re going to multiply really rather a lot, and don’t leave the fridge open after a midnight snack, because they they’re going to take a rather nasty turn for the murderous. And even Gizmo himself can go all Rambo once he's pushed to the edge. Otherwise, they’re top house pets, perfect for small children and Christmases.
From: How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
Looks like: A big black dragon, but of the cute, kitten-like variety - you know the kind. Plus, his tail is damaged and he has no teeth, which basically renders him utterly harmless… right?
Actually is: A rare and intelligent breed of dragon known as a Night Fury who's merely hiding his ever-so-deadly, handily-retractable teeth. That said, fix up his dicky tail and he may just befriend you, but get on the wrong side of him and he'll unleash a ferocious blast of flame all upside your Viking fizzog.
From: Monty Python And The Holy Grail (1975)
Looks like: An innocuous white rabbit à la The Illusionist's bunny, though hopefully slightly less bitey.
Actually is: No ordinary rabbit – in fact, it’s the most foul, cruel and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on, boasting a vicious streak a mile wide. That is to say, it’s the fearless guardian of the Legendary Black Beast of Aaaaarrrrrggggghhhhh. If you don't soil your britches and run away he'll viciously rip out your throat and decapitate you within a matter of seconds. Only approach this most terrible of monsters if you have a spare Holy Hand Grenade lying around. P.S. You’ll need to be able to count properly to use it.
From: Leon (1994)
Looks like: the 12 year-old victim of an abusive father whose only friend in the world is a stuffed bunny. Oh, and a pot plant.
Actually is: A 12 year-old victim of an abusive family whose only friends in the world are a stuffed bunny and a Mob killer. She's a trained assassin hell-bent on avenging the murder of her four-year-old brother. Even if she can't effectively employ her newly acquired skills and kill you, she also has the backing of one of the best hit men in the business who's more than willing to lay his life down – and cling to the ceiling with his bare hands – to protect her.
From: Shrek 2 (2004), Shrek the Third (2007), Shrek Forever After (2010) and Puss In Boots (2011)
Looks like: Your typical ginger moggy, as long as your typical ginger moggy also likes to dress in knee-high boots, a cavalier hat and a flowing cape.
Actually is: A skilled swordspuss who will use his overwhelming cuteness to soften his foes into blubbering wrecks before launching into a full frontal feline attack. If you're not taken in by his wide-eyed wiles, then catnip, balls of yarn or a ray of distracting light are your best defence. Failing that, you could always hope he'll fall victim to a hairball – something that happens surprisingly often.
From: Ghostbusters (1984)
Looks like: The most harmless thing Ray Stanz can think of: a cheery, Bertie Basset-like brand ambassador comprised entirely from marshmallows and sporting a natty sailor's uniform.
Actually is: The 100-foot form embodied by Gozer The Gozerian, a Sumerian shape-shifting god of destruction, capable of laying waste to an entire city with a stomp of his foamy foot. Set Tubby Soft Squeeze on fire and he'll try and roast you alive, but if you do manage to defeat him he sure tastes good.
From: Prometheus (2012)
Looks like: A terrifying, four-foot long phallic alien creature… unless you're Rafe Spall’s Millburn, in which case they look positively cherubic. Who’s a pretty snake penis, then?
Actually is: A terrifying, four-foot long phallic alien creature with bone-breaking strength, acidic blood, the ability to regenerate and a penchant for inflicting death by deep throat. Only the most idiotic would dare to approach. For more on Millburn being – and we’re quoting Rafe himself here – “deep throated to death”, check out this chuckle-filled Rafe Spall podcast interview here.
From: Star Wars Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi (1983)
Looks like: Diminutive, forest-dwelling teddy bears native to the moon of Endor, who pose so little of a threat that they are ignored by the Empire.
Actually are: Adept hunter-gatherers, whose traps and primitive weaponry are more than a match for a Storm Trooper. Special powers include the unique ability to infuriate even the most ardent fans of the original trilogy.
From: The Incredibles (2004)
Looks like: A giggling infant who exhibits none of the superpowers possessed by the rest of his superhero family.
Actually is: Just starting to get to grips with his abilities – which far outstrip those of the rest of his family, by the way – which Jack-Jack tends to unleash with a deadly force when threatened and/or bored by his babysitter. Special powers include the ability to shape-shift, teleport, fly, emit laser vision, phase through walls, turn into a demonic devil-beast and self-combust at will… beat that, Superman.
From: MouseHunt (1997)
Looks like: Your everyday household mus musculus who wouldn't fair too well against, say, a cleverly-placed trap.
Actually is: A rodent mastermind with an implied history of homicide, Mouse is a squeaky serial killer who has no trouble turning his pursuers' traps against them to cause extreme pain and drive them to the edge of insanity. If Catzilla and an unhinged Christopher Walken are so easily dispatched by the little chap, what hope do the rest of us have?
From: Hot Fuzz (2007)
Looks like: A kindly collection of OAPs whose only concern is ensuring Sandford retains its 'Village of the Year' crown.
Actually are: Fixated on winning the 'Village of the Year' competition to such a worrying extent that they'll brutally dispatch anyone who threatens that goal for the "greater good”. If you're an unruly teen, an interfering cop, an error prone journalist (gulp), or even a human statue you’ll most likely incur their murderous wrath. Also, be warned: they’re packing heat – and in the strangest places, too…
From: Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (2009)
Look like: Delicious, gelatin-based teddy bear-shaped snacks.
Actually are: A platoon of enlarged, anthropomorphised sweeties who possess the strength to tear a plane to bits, they'll do anything to protect the device that brought them to life. A word to the wise: it would be extremely foolish to face them with anything less than a gummy-bear obsessed talking monkey willing to rip out their gummy-bear hearts.
From: Jurassic Park (1993)
Looks like: One of the smaller dinosaurs in John Hammond's Jurassic Park who surely won't pose a threat to anyone hoping to escape...
Actually is: Just as deadly as some of the park's other, larger, slightly-easier-to-spell inhabitants, but with a puppy-like demeanour that can lull you into a false sense of security. When it exposes its intimidating neck frill, prepare for trouble because a venom-spitting, flesh-shredding attack is sure to follow. And let's not get involved in the paleontological accuracy of that depiction, eh?
From: X-Men (2000), X-2 (2003) and X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
Looks like: Your average teenage girl, save for the distinctive white streak in her hair.
Actually is: A super-powered mutant who can drain the very life from someone through skin-to-skin contact alone. Although she views her powers as a curse, she's also not afraid of using them to her advantage. Just don't even think about trying to steal a kiss…
From: Kung Fu Panda (2008) and Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)
Looks like: An overweight, accident-prone panda whose only skill is as a noodle server.
Actually is: The legendary Dragon Warrior of kung fu prophecy whose mastery of martial arts is unrivalled – or will be, once he’s been trained properly by Dustin Hoffman in a tiny kimono. His unusual fighting style can bamboozle opponents and his considerable belly is perfect for absorbing blows. N.B. Beware of his signature Wuxi Finger Hold and his willingness to shamelessly rip-off Jackie Chan movies – compare, this, for example, to this…
From: Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery (1997), Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) and Austin Powers In Goldmember (2002)
Look like: Scantily-clad, shagadelic ladies skilled in the art of seduction.
Actually are: Murderous robots packing gun barrels for nipples. They'll shoot you before they shag you, and can sometimes go deep undercover by taking the form of someone like Liz Hurley or Britney Spears. Your best hope against them is being so sexy that their head explodes. So we'll be absolutely fine, thank goodness.
From: Addams Family Values (1993)
Looks like: An extravagantly dressed, peroxide blonde bombshell of a nanny who has a very particular taste in men.
Actually is: A serial killer dubbed 'The Black Widow' after murdering a string of wealthy men on their wedding night and making it look like an accident. She's killed using a car and she’s killed using an axe, but her preferred method of deathification is electrocution. Don’t ask us how we know, but only a mustachioed baby can stop her.
From: Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2004)
Look like: Small, many-limbed pixie folk who presumably want nothing more than to collect teeth from under pillows.
Actually are: Ravenous little beasts who feed on the calcium found in teeth, but will also take what they can get from flesh, tissue and bones. When attacking live prey they'll target the teeth first, but when they attack in swarms they'll keep eating until there's nothing left. Imagine One Direction fans at one of their in-store HMV gigs and you’re pretty much there.
From: Where the Wild Things Are (2009)
Looks like: An enormous, hairy, horned monster with friendly eyes and a cute, pink button nose.
Actually is: Usually friendly and fun-loving, but can turn extremely dangerous when upset. He'll tear off his friends’ limbs without a second thought, and when at his angriest threatens to eat small boys. Best stay at a safe distance whenever he throws a hissy fit and/or read the book instead.
From: Looper (2012)
Looks like: A sweet young boy who loves fixing electrical doohickeys and thingamabobs.
Actually is: An immensely powerful telekinetic who’s barely able to stop himself from completely eviscerating you with the force of his noggin when he throws one of this trademark temper tantrums. Annoyingly, if you dodge his world-shaking wobblies and leave him to grow up, he'll turn into an immensely powerful adult telekinetic: the all-powerful super-villain known as The Rainmaker, so there’s no way out of this one, me ol’ mucker.
From: The Star Wars Franchise (1977-)
Looks like: A little green dude in a hessian sack who needs to get his ear hair trimmed. In fact, he needs a makeover generally: hessian sacks are so a very long time ago (in a galaxy far, far, far away).
Actually is: An midi-chlorian-filled martial arts master who dispenses philosophical tidbits like he’s not even trying – hint: he’s doing – Yoda is a back-flipping, lightsaber-swinging, Force-pushing, one-little-green man army who’s not to be messed with. Still needs a haircut, but we're not going to be the ones to point that out. Just in case.