2016-07-08

The Secret Life of Pets

by Justin Johnson

SLOP WDIf you caught the first preview for The Secret Life of Pets, showing all fun pets have while their owners are away, chances are you were looking forward to seeing this movie.  I mean, come on, who would not want to see Leonard the prize poodle head bang to System of Down?  The pretentious owners “now you be a good boy Leonard” leaves the viewer celebrating Leonard’s rebellion as he flips from  Mozart over to head banging music!  However, the second preview may have left a bit of confusion in the wake of such an enticing first preview.  Rightly so my friends, as this movie has two distinct stories which are portrayed in the previews and left me confused as to why they are both in the same movie…SLOP Toilet

First you have the pure joy as we watch the pets live out their secret lives.  Previews gave tantalizing hints at most of the secret lives but seeing them lived out in their fullness was fun and had many a belly laugh coming from the audience.  Illumination Entertainment did a wonderful job of capturing unique mannerisms and characteristics of each type of pet.  This leaves audience members familiar with the types of pets joyfully nodding and smiling at their routines.  The movie could have continued to build a strong story of how these secret lives intertwine and play out in a downtown New York apartment and I imagine set up an amazing franchise building into larger stories.  However, now enters story number two.

After introductions to each pet, a new pet shows up and suddenly the balance of power is shaken up and results in a lost pet.  This is what we are SLOP Rabbitintroduced to in subsequent previews, the world of discarded and lost pets.  Pets whose soul desire is the destruction of pet owners and human kind in general.  Again, this could be a solid movie plot, pets tossed aside for newer or better pets.  Pets lost and never found.  Pets who have a beef with humanity grouping together to seek revenge…  But this story is such an antithesis to the first part of the movie it feels schizophrenic. Memorable characters are introduced in each story but never fully cross over between the stories.  So the viewer is left with two stories which could easily stand on their own (and probably should) put in the same movie leaving each to suffer.

With the suffering stories, the viewers are still taken on a fun ride.  Throughout the movie are the mannerisms and pet mayhem that keep viewers smiling and excited for the next pet reveal.  By the end of the movie, the stories may be confusing but the characters are fun.  Unfortunately, and unlike Finding Dory the characters in Secret Life of Pets can’t keep this movie afloat.

 

3.5 out of 7 – (I am sure most kids would give this a 5, because I mean its pets and its fun!) Family friendly fun but a note of caution should be given to the pets seeking revenge on humanity, it’s a bit over the top at times…