Monday, September 5, 2016

Review : The Secret Life of Pets (2016)

Well, aren't we real lucky in August 2016? First we won tickets to a wonderful musical then our certain higher divine power decided to move his magic fingers to get us invited to the movie premier of a funny, hilarious animated movie - The Secret Life of Pets

Genre: Comedy
Cast: Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan, Steve Coogan and Albert Brooks
Directed by: Chris Renaud
Co-Director: Yarrow Cheney
Written by: Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio and Brian Lynch
Produced by: Chris Meledandri, Janet Healy

For their fifth fully-animated feature-film collaboration, Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures present The Secret Life of Pets, a comedy about the lives our pets lead after we leave for work or school each day.

Comedy superstars Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet and Kevin Hart make their animated feature-film debuts in The Secret Life of Pets, which co-stars Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan, Steve Coogan and Albert Brooks. Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri and his longtime collaborator Janet Healy produce the film directed by Chris Renaud (Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2), co-directed by Yarrow Cheney and written by Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio and Brian Lynch.

A little bit more about the story
We KNOW that our pets will be O-Kay being left alone and we also hoped that they will be able to entertain themselves while being "good and behave", that means not breaking anything or destroying half of the house by the time we return home at the end of the day.  As you can see from the official trailer above, its seems that pets are generally bored the minute their owners stepped out of the house, except for a couple who either hosts great parties for the neighbour pets or have totally different personality *cue the head banging poodle*.

Set in the heart of Manhattan apartment building, the story started off with the owners' usual waking up, washing up and saying "byes" to their pets and the minute the door clicks shut, things get a little bit exciting, at least from the pets' perspectives.  It looks like the story line is pretty predictable such as barking non stop at squirrels at the tree outside the window - Mel the pug, watching soup opera - Gidget  a fluffy cute white Pomeranian (???), gorging on food in the fridge - Chloe the cat or even sitting attentively at the door waiting for owner to return home - Max the terrier.  Then WHAM! things started to turn upside down when Max's owner Katie brought home Duke, a sloppy, massive mess of a mongrel who, according to Max has zero interpersonal skills.

There was resentment, hatred and rivalry between Max and Duke while they try to get each other out of the house and be the ONLY pet for Katie.  Things get rough in the dog park and both of them found themselves at the back of the animal catcher's van en route to the pound.  All seems to be lost when suddenly the van was attacked by a rabbit - Snowball, a pig - Tattoo and a chameleon.  From there things started spiral downwards, getting a little bit crazy and exciting for these 2 domesticated canine.

They were being led down into the sewage by Snowball; who once was a magician pet but couldn't get over being abandon by his owner and went a little bit cuckoo, there they were introduced to the pack of Flushed Pets (sort of like the secret society we used to know), who's main aim is to take retribution on humankind.

Once Snowball discovers Max and Duke have an owner they love and live in the lap of luxury, he unleashes his gang to pursue them throughout New York City.  Forced to tap into their primal instincts to survive, these unlikely new brothers must navigate the wilds of the urban jungle and make it home safe…all before Katie returns.

Now, every story has a hero and a damsel in distress, over here the hero or HEROINE is Gidget, guess who did she enlist the help to look for and rescue her beau Max the Terrier?

Ok, we shall not give out too much of the story, that will not be fun any more!

Our Review (4 out of 5 Stars)
The Secret Life of Pets is a PG rated animation movie so expect loads of laughter, bizarre scenes and heart racing action together with some cutesy pets (yes even the scaly crocodile is cute and a little bit clumsy).

The story line is simple but the unexpected turn of events made me pay attention to the whole story.  In a nutshell it's a story about a dog who resented a newcomer to the family and are getting into each other's throat.  During the process, they got into deep trouble and tried their very best to bail themselves out of the situation, hoping to return to the safety of their home before the owner comes home with dinner.  Yes, the whole 90+mins of events happened in less than a day.  Oh ya, don't forget their friends who weren't much help in rescuing them from the evil lot, instead got themselves in the deep shit too!

However, it was like a roller coaster ride throughout the movie.  There were some tense moments where Max & Duke were being chased by the baddie animals, I can imagine the kids gripping the theater seats and wishing these two get away from harm's way FAST!

And because there are so many characters (I counted 10) in this movie, be prepared for loads of chattering and noise from all of them.  It can get kinda overwhelming to try to catch up with their dialogue and the things that are happening at the same time at some scenes.

There weren't any tear jerking scenes unless you consider one where Duke went back to his old home to find out that his ex owner had passed away, but even that was not enough to cause some tears to flow, probably a sense of sadness with a hint of sourness in the nose.  This is ok with me because I really can't stand kids friendly movie that makes the kids cry, I'd rather I have an enjoyable movie date with my kids than having to deal with sobbing kids in the middle of the movie.

Snowball was a little psycho to my liking, with his croaked eye and evil laughter, his mission to save all pets from humankind is admirable though and looking at the size of his "secret clan" The Flushed Pets I'd say that he's a successful leader and revolutionist.  He probably will succeed in carrying out his plan if his brain is not so whacked up.

As simple as the story line may be but as with most of the kids animation movie, there are some positive things that we can discuss with the kids.  Such as tolerance and patience towards siblings and friends because every one's different inside.  Pets are for life and we shouldn't abandon them just cuz they grow too big, too old, too ugly, too troublesome etc.  They are our responsibilities and they only have us to provide for them and let them live a great life.

The Secret Life of Pets, what our animals do while we are away... well, definitely not getting themselves chased or killed by fellow animals *chuckles*

So this September school term break, make a date with your kids and have a wonderful time in the theater watching this movie, you won't be disappointed, I promise you.

Disclaimer : We were invited by United International Pictures (Singapore) to the preview screening of The Secret Life of Pets, no other compensation were received. All opinions about the movie are 100% ours after watching it. All photos and movie trailers in this post belongs to United International Pictures (Singapore) and Illumination. 


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