Do you ever wonder what your pets get up to when you go to work? Or out in an evening? I think we’d all like to imagine they are fine and just chill out, if The Secret Life of Pets is anything to go by, this is about as far from the truth as it’s possible to get.
The director of Despicable Me (and the subsequent sequel) Chris Renaud brings us The Secret Life of Pets. The story revolves around Max, voiced by Louis C.K. (Trumbo, American Hustle), who’s owner one day brings back a brand new dog to stay with them, Duke, voiced by Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family) whom Max instantly dislikes and plots to remove. Duke, however, has different ideas and the pair of them end up going on a journey outside either of their comfort zones.
If you’ve seen the trailer for The Secret Life of Pets then you’ve seen the first five minutes or so, which had me worrying we’d seen the best part of the film. However, from a laugh point of view, I’m happy to say that’s not the case.
The story features a variety of characters from a little fluffy bunny who’s the leader of an underground, literally underground, group trying to bring down the humans (Snowball voiced by Kevin Hart (Get Hard, Ride Along)). A hawk who does all he can not to eat everyone, a pig covered in tattoo’s, a sausage dog, a basset hound and cats, lots and lots of cats.
The movie isn’t really about what pets get up to when their owners leave them alone, unless you count the first five minutes, or the trailer. Instead it’s a journey, an adventure and a story about not judging, getting to know people and really cute animals.
Visually the film is great, in fact some of it is stunning. Tiberius the Hawk, voiced by Albert Brooks (Taxi Driver, Finding Nemo) is beautifully done when first introduced, as are some of the water scenes. The rest can look a little cartoony but that’s obviously what was gone for and isn’t a problem.
Whilst the film is good, the moral nice, I can’t say I liked the film as much as I’d hoped. The Secret Life of Pets will make you laugh; it may even make you feel a little ‘aaawww’ at the end. But I wasn’t blown away, I wasn’t as engaged throughout as I felt I ought to be. The trailer promised something new, something we hadn’t seen before, but the story we got has been told many, many times in many, many different ways in both animation and live action.
Perhaps my expectations were too high, I was really looking forward to the The Secret Life of Pets from first seeing the teaser nearly a year ago. Yet what I was left with was ultimately disappointing…though it still made me laugh.