‘The Secret Life Of Pets’ (2016, U)

The latest film from the creators of such hits as ‘Despicable Me’ and ‘Minions’, has ‘The Secret Life Of Pets’ got me barking for more?

Max (voiced by Louis C.K.) live happily at home with his owner, Katie (Ellie Kemper), with his friends in the Manhattan apartment block. But then, one day, his whole world turns upside down with the arrival of his ‘brother’, Duke (Eric Stonestreet), as they become lost from their owner and have to adventure across New York to return to safety.

I must say, this film was actually quite funny. I’ve never really found the appeal of the ‘Despicable Me’ movies, but ‘Life Of Pets’ had some good comedic scenes and jokes throughout. It wasn’t all cheap laughs and slapstick; there were parts where I couldn’t help but chuckle. I particularly liked Kevin Hart’s character, Snowball, a crazed, homicidal bunny who leads a revolution against humans and the domestication of animals. Speaking of homicidal pets…

There was a lot of death in this film. Although you never actually see anyone keeling over, some pretty brutal – or at least for a U-rated film – deaths are vaguely described and the words ‘kill’ and ‘death’ is tossed around quite frequently throughout the movie. This left me a bit confused as I wouldn’t usually associate a film aimed at young children with such words, but with darker animated films like ‘Zootropolis’ (my review of which can be viewed here) coming out earlier this year it’s obviously a trend.

There was also a scene in ‘Life Of Pets’ that I found a bit out-of-place. About three-quarters of the way through, Duke and Max find a sausage factory and break in to find food. As they munch on the meat, they fall into a dream scene (or at least that’s what I think it was) where they seem to be in a Sausage Paradise, gorging on them while talking to them for a good minute-and-a-half, before awaking. I think it was supposed to symbolise them becoming drunk as after they awoke they spoke like someone who’d had a bit too much to drink, but I just felt that the entire scene had very little to do with the plot at all. The moral of the film really is to have an open mind and not judge someone before you meet them, and I didn’t feel like this scene contributed to that.

Overall, ‘The Secret Life Of Pets’ is a strong film, with some funny moments and jokes throughout. However, some odd scenes and hints at some considerably darker ones mean I’ll have t give this movie seven-out-of-ten.

7/10.

 

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