The Secret Life of Pets (REVIEW)
Written by Jacob Chimilar (@sweetlows)
The creators of Zootopia said they wanted to get back to the old talking animal movies and they certainly did that in a fun and moving way. this movie goes in a much more slapstick direction with its heroes. The animation studio behind Despicable Me and Minions brings the story of Max and Duke,a very Woody/Buzz odd couple relationship, who go out for a walk with a dog walker, only to be set free into a park and run into an alley full of cats that attack and remove their dog collars. When they escape they are greeted by Animal Control workers. Duke, fearing going back to the pound where their owner adopted him, is granted his wish of being free when a crazed bunny breaks into the van they are being transported in and convinces him to break them out and join his "destroy all humans" cause. Meanwhile Gidget, one of Max's friends recruits a team to help bring him and Duke back safe and sound.
When I first saw the trailer for this movie I thought it was going to be a great romp through the daily antics of animals, and it did not disappoint. I had a blast watching this. It's light hearted, silly and fun without getting overly obnoxious. It doesn't break new ground with it's story, as many have pointed out, it is Toy Story 1 with pets. That said, the characters are larger than life, the voice cast is excellent, even Kevin Hart who I find to be over the top, works so well as an insane bunny leader. Louis CK is a great leading dog and just about everyone else brings it in this film. The animation isn't cutting edge but it is bright, colorful, and a treat to watch. It has the feeling of watching the Looney Toons or Tom and Jerry. There a big action sequences throughout that never get tiresome or dragged out. As much as I like animated movies with a real emotional center, it's also nice to see a movie that just wants to have an adventure. The common tropes pertaining to pets is entertaining to watch, they don't over stay their welcome. Seeing what the pets do when their owners are away is imaginative and fun and hits all the right notes as to what the question of "What is the silliest things pets could do while you are away?". It was nice to see the relationships of Max and Duke evolve, rather quickly, into ones of comradery after Max tries to sabotage Duke into looking like a bad dog. The bunny and his crew being the villains was a treat as well and watching them work was wonderful. It all comes from a place of love and having that built in understanding of animals and what we think of them and what silly things we watch them do and having that played out on screen was fun.
There isn't a whole lot to say about this movie, it is pretty surface level stuff, but what a surface! If you are looking for something fun and light to entertain you for 90 minutes, this is the movie for you. There really is no other way to describe this movie other than fun. Pixar and Disney may bring the depth and heart, but Illumination brought a veritable well of jokes and used every one you could hope for. I highly recommend seeing this if you have kids, have pets or just like pet videos. You do not have to be a pet person (I'm not) to have a blast with this film. Will it be remembered as a classic? I don't think so, but as an entertaining distraction? You bet!