Thursday, 07 July 2016 00:00

The Secret Life of Pets Featured

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Review written by Jon Patch with 3 out of 4 paws

The Secret Life of Pets

Universal Pictures, Dentsu, Fuji Television Network, Illumination Entertainment present a PG, 90 minute, Animation, Comedy, Family, film directed by Chris Renaud, Yarrow Cheney, written by Ken Daurio and Brian Lynch with a theater release date of July 8, 2016.


Before the film begins the audience is privileged to a short film, Mower Minions, whereas the little yellow guys see an advertisement on television for Barb’s blender. Yes the perfect drink maker to mash up bananas for all the Minions to enjoy. At $19.95 the Minions realize they have to get a job and after seeing a landscaper get paid twenty bucks for work they steal his equipment and set off to an old folks home to cut grass, rake and scoop poop. As you would imagine nothing goes well for the Minions but the elderly get a laugh or two out of the adventure as does the audience. But wait after they purchase the blender Barb comes out with a better one that is worth ten times as much.

As for “The Secret Life of Pets” the story takes place in New York City and in the beginning centers around a group of pets and their owners that live in New York apartments. Katie (voice of Ellie Kemper) lives with Max (voice of Louis C.K.) ever since he was a puppy. He was her love and her his but one day when Katie comes home with a new addition to the family, Duke (voice of Eric Stonestreet) everything in that apartment goes a bit insane. You see the struggle for dominance sets in and Duke thinks he has the upper hand that is until Max devises a pretty good plan.

Across the way Gidget (voice of Jenny Slate) stares out her window at her one true love, Max, and little does this little powder puff know the powers she holds inside that little body, think ninja warrior! Down stairs one big fat cat named Chloe (voice of Lake Bell) is part of the kindship of Max and Gidget as well as Mel (voice of Bobby Moynihan), Buddy (voice of Hannibal Buress) and a little bird named Sweet Pea. It’s not until a local dog walker takes the canines for a walk in the park does everything go crazy. Duke tackles Max which causes them to break away from the crowd into an alley way but when Duke thinks he has the upper hand a large group of cats take ultimate control. Sometime later running from animal control Duke and Max end up on an adventure in the New York sewers thanks to Snowball (voice of Kevin Hart) a ruthless little white bunny and his gang, Tattoo (voice of Michael Beattie) a tattooed pig, also a lizard and gator just to name a few. Known to the sewer animals as people killers, the life for Duke and Max is short lived down under as they are now running from Snowball and his gang.

Gidget knows she must find her one true love so she enlists her friends along with a ravenous hawk named Tiberius (voice of Albert Brooks) to find Max before their owners return home. A trip to Pops (voice of Dana Carvey) helps the cause but also leads Gidget and the group into an adventure of their own. In the end on a bridge in New York all worlds collide bringing true love together, a new life for a fierce bunny and a welcome home for all. How many times have you said when you open the front door, “were you a good boy”? Probably many but I bet you did not have a pig fall from your ceiling!

The film is well directed for what it had to work with as a script. The animation is phenomenal and the music a perfect fit as are the voices by most of the actors if not all but the one bad direction they took with the story was not enough human and animal interaction whether owners, I like to call parents, or not! I would have liked to see the adventure stay within the limits of a smaller group of animals in a smaller location. It starts off great with the owners and their pets but when the owners leave so does the option for great writing. The writers take the story too broad rather than keeping it intimate. It gets just a bit too insane as we follow the pets adventure. This film uses some wonderful relatable moments between pets and parents but once that goes away so does a lot of what I thought the film would be about. I wish I wrote the script because there is so much to write about with pets at home, in the park, groomers, veterinarian offices and behavior training, the list goes on and would be much funnier than what they tried to do with this story. It is cute, it is well done but just not as funny as I wished it would be for the adult audience although the kids seemed to be laughing quite a bit, thanks to the animation and the action involved I believe. Overall I enjoyed this film and it should do well but I would have loved it more if they listened to me and my suggestions but hey they didn’t ask! Oh well we are pet parents and we love them and this film shows that quality quite a bit!

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