I love movies. I love writing about them. Hope you like reading what I write.
The Secret Life of Pets
I feel deeply betrayed. I went to this movie in perfectly good faith. I trusted Illumination Entertainment. I thought that surely, they wouldn’t sink so low. But they did. This film begins with a short film from The Minions.
Illumination Entertainment have a genuine bubble of a problem that will eventually burst. Their main source of income is little cylindrical banana loving morons which speak gibberish. Even when those in their company attempt to branch out and make a film which DOESN’T contain those precious little yellow gits, their hands are forced into adding a short film containing them. Because screw trying to hold your audience with new ideas. Here’s something you know! Please buy our stuff!
What if every studio did this? What if Disney had Mickey Mouse appear in every movie they ever made? Because that’s pretty much what it is. Granted, Mickey would be even more annoying, but at least he doesn’t scream his company’s logo and then giggle for no reason. (Seriously, once the little film ends and the studio logos appear, a Minion appears and says “Illumination! Illumination! ILLUMINATION!!!”) This is not your movie!
OK, where was I? Oh yeah, The Secret Life of Pets.
The Secret Life of Pets is an animated film about pets and what they do after the owners go away. The main story follows Max, a little dog, as he adjusts to a big dog whom his owner has just adopted.
That first sentence in the previous paragraph would have made a logline for a really interesting movie. One that has been kind of done at least on TV and in our minds a few times, but one that has the opportunity for great comedy. What if we could peek behind the curtain and see what our pets do behind our backs? It’s a great idea and in a way does not even need a tying plot. We could have something like a series of vignettes into the lives of these creatures, borrowing from Pulp Fiction or 22 Short Stories of Springfield (one of the best TV comedy episodes ever made).
However, we have that pesky second sentence adding something as boring and conventional as plot to our fun little premise. Ah well. At least its harmless.
The story is pretty generic. A new guy moves into the place where a guy is already very happy and they have to learn to get along through a series of adventures and misadventures. It’s a tale so often told that Garfield did it. On top of that, The Simpsons did it in that episode looking back on the early days of Lisa’s life where Bart has to get used to her, another classic.
The best part of this movie are the jokes they pull out of these animals actually acting like animals. That stuff is a 1000 times more interesting than when they act more human for more dialogue based humour. Which is why this film just would have been better if they had gone with my idea. Hate to take credit, but it’s true.
There isn’t too much wrong with this movie apart from its general blandness and pop soundtrack which is needed to keep every kid’s attention. It’s funny at times and that comes in part from the voice cast which includes Louis C.K and Kevin Hart (the latter I have been too unkind to in the past).
I didn’t love this film, but it’s fine. If you can stomach Minions at the start.
Recommended Scenario: If you want a version of Toy Story with pets instead of toys.