Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Secret Life of Pets

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Your lives ain't so secret now, you dumb pets!

The Secret Life of Pets – 3 out of 5

I won’t lie, being an owner of 2 dogs and a cat I’ve often wondered what they do all day when I’m not around.  I know realistically that they just sleep and then get up once every now and then just to sleep somewhere else but it’s kinda fun to imagine that they do goofy stuff while I’m away at work or out for a jog.  That’s part of the appeal with The Secret Life of Pets, I guess.  Talking animals are nothing new in the world of animation and neither is the idea that are pets are up to stuff when the humans aren’t around; so does this film bring anything new to this idea or is it just a generic animated film?

                                                                            Illumination Entertainment/Universal Pictures
Well, the film nailed the indifference cats have and put it all in this kitty's face.

                                             Illumination Entertainment/Universal Pictures
I believe the breed of dog that is Duke is called a
Max (Louis CK) is a content little dog living a life of happiness with his owner Katie (Ellie Kemper).  However, after Katie brings home a new dog named Duke (Eric Stonestreet), Max’s life is thrown for a loop and he sets out to get this new dog kicked out.  Sadly, Max’s plan backfires and both dogs end up lost in New York and are being hunted by a cute bunny with anger issues named Snowball (Kevin Hart).  Now Max’s friends; a neighbor dog with a crush on him named Gidget (Jenny Slate), a hawk trying to control his hunger named Tiberius (Albert Brooks), a fat housecat named Chloe (Lake Bell), two dogs named Buddy (Hannibal Buress) and Mel (Bobby Maynihan), a parakeet named Sweet Pea (Tara Strong), a guinea pig named Norman (Chris Renaud) and an elder dog with all the connections named Pops (Dana Carvey), are all out of their homes and on the streets to find and save Max and Duke.

                                                                           Illumination Entertainment/Universal Pictures
I never thought I'd see Louis C.K. be the voice in an animated film but, you know what,
he was great as Max.

                                             Illumination Entertainment/Universal Pictures
Note to Self:  Buy new blender.
For the most part, TSLoP is a decent animated film.  Its story is serviceable though the drama within isn’t as strong as something you’d see in a Pixar film (I just couldn’t get invested enough where I would tear up like I would in something like Finding Dory).  The jokes are very entertaining and do a great job at poking fun at the normality of owning a pet (for example, like when your cat walks on you and seems like it has to step on your crotch) and the animation and voice acting are both excellent.

                                                                            Illumination Entertainment/Universal Pictures

                                              Illumination Entertainment/Universal Pictures
My favorite kind of dog:  Ball of cotton.
The only thing I didn’t really care for about the film is the fact it lost a lot of its charm very quickly when the 2nd act arrived.  The film does a great job establishing the cute characters, there’s a lot of great pet-based gags keeping the first act flowing and getting the conflict set up was done fairly well but after that the film kinda felt like it was repeating itself.  There’s a period in the film where you are subjected to several chase scenes and long gags that basically amount to Rube Goldberg pratfall sequences that ultimately feel like a dead horse being beaten in an attempt to get the kids laughing.  This period of the film really killed its momentum and made it feel like these scenes were padding out the film’s running length and was attempting to make a short animated film into a feature length movie.

                                                                   Illumination Entertainment/Universal Entertainment
That lizard and cat are bros for life!

                                              Illumination Entertainment/Universal Pictures
Run Away!!!
The Secret Life of Pets isn’t a bad animated film at all.  It’s cute, amusing and looks terrific.  The cast is composed of a lot of talent and it definitely has its moments of fun but it doesn’t escape the fact it feels pretty generic, the story doesn’t feel as big as warranting a feature length and it does slow down pretty bad halfway through.  Without a doubt, kids will love it but it does feel a tad forgettable for older members of the family.

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