Urban Cinefile
"Making films is a lot of work, so in order to invest so much time it must be something that I have a passion for"  -Brad Pitt
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Wednesday, October 18, 2017 

Search SEARCH FOR A VIDEO_FILE
Our Review Policy OUR REVIEW POLICY
Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE

Help/Contact

SECRET LIFE OF PETS, THE

SYNOPSIS: In a Manhattan apartment building, Max's (voice of Louis C. K.) life as a favorite pet is turned upside down, when his owner brings home a sloppy mongrel named Duke (Eric Stonestreet). They have to put their quarrels behind them when they find out that an adorable white bunny named Snowball (Kevin Hart) is building an army of lost pets determined to take revenge.

Review by Louise Keller:
Not as cute as I expected with surprisingly dark elements and more action than laughs, this family animation takes a novel idea that explores what animals do when their owners are out and executes it with aplomb, although the whole is not as good as the sum of its parts. The script is clever in that it takes the core concept and develops it into a multi-pronged tale involving an assorted bunch of animals. Too many perhaps, which distract somewhat from the main characters. The film's strength is the way the characteristics of the animals are captured: the loyal dog that lives to please its owner as opposed to the disdainful cat that lives life on its own terms.

The film begins by establishing the main characters: a small brown and white dog named Max (Louis C.K) whose idyllic life with his loving owner Katie (Ellie Kemper) is threatened with the arrival of an oversized brown shaggy dog named Duke (Eric Stonestreet). Jealousy sets in and when Max tries to be the alpha dog, everything goes wrong - namely when both are absconded by the dogcatchers. There are some chuckles as the neighbouring domestic animals are introduced with humorous sight gags such as the food processor that massages Buddy (Hannibal Buress), the sausage dog's back and Gidget, the white fluffy pooch with a pink bow, who is in love with Max... Then there is Chloe (Lake Bell), the spoilt fat cat that opens the fridge and cannot resist. I would have liked to see more of Chloe or some other felines - as a cat lover, I would have liked more cats.

Watch for Snowball, the hilarious scenestealing bunny (Kevin Hart) that looks like an angelic ball of white fluff, but has the voice and disposition of a deranged lunatic. He is the leader of a band of disgruntled animals whose owners have discarded them and live in the sewers; these scenes are dark and may disturb very young children. The visual of the tattooed pig pushing a pram in which Snowball is lying is priceless. The ally cat sequence is one of the film's best, when the dogs are catapulted (excuse the pun) into the washing that is drying as it is hung between the apartment buildings. As a cat lover, I would have liked more cats.

Essentially a buddy movie, the film concentrates on the relationships between pet and owner, the two rival dogs, dog and bunny and the dog lovebirds. It's fun, but I expected more.

Email this article

CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

SECRET LIFE OF PETS, THE (G)
(US, 2016)

VOICES: Louis C. K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Albert Brooks, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan, Chris Renaud, Steve Coogan, Michael Beattie, Sandra Echeverria, Jaime Camil

PRODUCER: Janet Healy, Christopher Meledandri

DIRECTOR: Yarrow Cheney, Chris Renaud

SCRIPT: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio, Brian Lynch

CINEMATOGRAPHER: n/a

EDITOR: Ken Schretzman

MUSIC: Alexandre Desplat

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Eric Guillon

RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Universal

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 8, 2016







Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2017